The town was founded in 1666, and due to its location on trade routes between Russia, China and Mongolia it developed into a prosperous trading town. Ulan Ude is an important commercial and industrial center of Eastern Siberia, located on the 5640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian railway. It is the capital of Buryatia republic that is a home for Buryat, Evenk and Russian people. The city itself has a distinct Asian-like feel, perhaps because of[…]
Ulaan-baatar is the capital and the largest city of Mongolia. A federal municipality, the city is not part of any province, and its population as of 2014 was over 1.3 million. Located in north central Mongolia, the city lies at an elevation of about 1,310 metres (4,300 ft) in a valley on the Tuul River. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. It is the centre of Mongolia’s road network, and[…]
Almaty, formerly known as Alma-Ata and Verny, is the largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1,552,349 people, consisting the 9% of the country’s total population. Almaty is considered a World City with a Beta classification according to GaWC. It served as capital of the Kazakh state in its various forms from 1929 to 1997, under influence of the former Soviet Union and its appointees. Alma-Ata was the host city for a 1978 international[…]
Bishkek (in Kyrgyz and Russian: Бишкéк), formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan. According to the post-Soviet ideology, the name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a churn used to make fermented mare’s milk (kumis),[…]
One of the highlights of the trip! The historical Pamir Highway, officially called M41, is an excellent challenge for a 4×4 adventure travelers. Most of the road is paved, except for the mountain passes, and the length of the road is 1,252 kilometers between Osh and Dushanbe, going through the Pamir Mountains. The road is heavily damaged in places by erosion, earthquakes, landslides, and avalanches. Most of the Pamir Highway is located in Tajikistan, a country[…]
Dushanbe (Tajik: Душанбе, Persian: دوشنبه) is the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means Monday in the Persian language. It was so named because it grew from a village that originally had a popular market on Mondays. Until 1929, the city was known in Russian as Dyushambe (Russian: Дюшамбе), and from 1929 to 1961 as Stalinabad (Tajik: Сталинобод, Persian: استالینآباد). As of 2014, Dushanbe has a population of 778,500.
Samarkand traditionally was the second-largest city in Uzbekistan and the capital of Samarqand Region. It is now the nation’s third largest, after fast-growing Namangan in the Ferghana Valley. The city is most noted for its central position on the Silk Road between China and the West, and for being an Islamic centre for scholarly study. In the 14th century it became the capital of the empire of Timur (Tamerlane) and is the site of his[…]
Lying on the banks of the mighty Amu-Darya, between the Karakum desert and the fertile plains of Uzbekistan, sprawling Turkmenabat sits at a crossroads of cultures. The town itself feels as if it’s in the geographic centre of nowhere, yet after the mind-numbing drive through the desert, it’s something of a surprise to find such a large city appear out of the sand. The Silk Road city of Amul prospered here until its destruction by[…]
Merv was a major oasis-city in Central Asia, on the historical Silk Road, located near today’s Mary in Turkmenistan. Several cities have existed on this site, which is significant for the interchange of culture and politics at a site of major strategic value. It is claimed that Merv was briefly the largest city in the world in the 12th century. The site of ancient Merv has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The Door to Hell (also known as the Gates to Hell, the Crater of Fire) is a natural gas field in Derweze, Turkmenistan, that collapsed into an underground cavern in 1971, becoming a natural gas crater. Geologists set it on fire to prevent the spread of deadly methane gas, and it has been burning continuously since then. The diameter of the crater is 69 m, and its depth is 30 m. The crater is a[…]
Ashgabat (Turkmen: Aşgabat, pronounced [aʃʁaˈbat]; Persian: عشقآباد; Russian: Ашхаба́д, tr. Ashkhabad; IPA: [ɐʂxɐˈbat]), known as Poltoratsk (Russian: Полтора́цк; IPA: [pəltɐˈrat͡sk]) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital and the largest city of Turkmenistan in Central Asia, situated between the Karakum Desert and the Kopet Dag mountain range. The 2001 census estimated a population of 695,300, while the 2009 census estimated a population of 1 million, primarily Turkmen people, with ethnic minorities of Russians, Armenians,[…]
This appealing city has a colourful, ethnically mixed population and an attractive location where the green Alborz Mountains stoop to meet the northeastern steppe. Gorgan was the birthplace of ‘eunuch-king’ Aga Mohammad who founded the expansionist Qajar dynasty (1779–1925). Its architectural heritage is relatively limited but Gorgan makes a fine base for visiting the Turkmen steppes and Golestan’s forested mountains. From the bazaar around Shahrdari (Vahdat) Sq, vibrant Valiasr St leads several kilometres southeast towards[…]
With its relatively short history, ugly mask of concrete, sometimes choking smog and manic streets flowing hot with machines, many travellers and no small number of Tehranis will tell you there’s no reason to hang around in the capital. But to take their advice is to miss out. For while Esfahan or Persepolis has a convincing case for being the soul of Iran, Tehran is indisputably its big, ugly, chaotic and dynamic beating heart. Packed[…]
Isfahan is the capital of Isfahan Province in Iran, located about 340 kilometres (211 miles) south of Tehran. It has a population of 1,755,382 and is Iran’s third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad. The Greater Isfahan Region had a population of 3,793,101 in the 2011 Census, the third most populous metropolitan area in Iran after Tehran and Mashhad.
Tabriz is the most populated city in the northwest of Iran, one of the historical capitals of Iran, and the present capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Tabriz is located at an elevation of 1,350 meters above sea level in the Quru River valley between the long ridge of the volcanic cones of the Sahand and Eynali mountains. The valley opens up into a plain that gently slopes down to the eastern shores of Lake Urmia,[…]
Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast. The Venetian and Genoese merchants paid visits to Trebizond during the medieval period and sold silk, linen and woolen fabric; the Republic of Genoa[…]
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Aksaray, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey. In Ancient Greek Καππαδοξ (genitive -οκος) means “a Cappadocian”. In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea). Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains that separate it from Cilicia,[…]
Istanbul, once known as Constantinople and Byzantium before that, is the most populous city in Turkey, and the country’s economic, cultural, and historical center. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorus strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Its commercial and historical center lies on the European side and about a third of its population lives on the Asian side. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul[…]
Buzludzha is a historical peak in the Central Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria and is 1441 metres high (4728 ft). In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Ottoman Empire. The Buzludzha Monument on the peak was built by the Bulgarian communist regime to commemorate the events in 1891 when the socialists led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form[…]
The Transfăgărășan is a mountain paved road crossing the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains. It has national-road ranking and it is the second-highest paved road in Romania after Transalpina. The road starts near the village of Bascov, located near the city of Pitesti, ending on the crossroad between DN1 and Sibiu. Also known as Ceaușescu’s Folly, it was built as a strategic military route that stretches 90 km with twists and turns that run[…]
The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs, their temperature is 74 °C (165 °F) and 77 °C (171 °F), respectively. Components of the thermal water include sulphate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and a significant amount of fluoride acid and metaboric acid. Medical indications are on degenerative joint illnesses, chronic and sub-acute joint inflammations, as well as orthopaedic and traumatological post-treatments.