The stans

Central (Middle) Asia is composed of the “-stans”, the name of each of six peoples added to the suffix –stan denoting each nation:



Map of Central Asia here includes Afghanistan [Image: Wikimedia Commons]

The 5 “stans” (all former Soviet republics) of Central Asia

Together, the “stans” make up a population of some 280 million people in an area about the size of Australia. The -stans are ethno-religiously dominated by Sunni Islam, and would boast an active military of close to one million personnel.

  • Astana (capital city)
  • Aktobe — major city at the Ilek River
  • Almaty — largest city (and former capital)
  • Aktau — main Caspian Sea port
  • Atyrau
  • Dushanbe (capital city)
  • Khujand — was a major ancient trading town at the Silk Road
  • Ashgabat (capital city)
  • Daşoguz
  • Mary
  • Türkmenabat
  • Türkmenbashi
  • Tashkent (capital city)
  • Bukhara — famous Silk Road city
  • Kokand — in Fergana Valley
  • Nukus — capital of the autonomous Karakalpakstan Republic
  • Qarshi — capital of Qashqadaryo Region
  • Samarkand — ancient trading town on the Silk Road
  • Urgench — capital of the Khorezm Region, at the Shavat canal, near the Amu Darya River

See also Speaking Turkic


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