Today Central Asia includes five countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The territory of Central Asia covers some 3,994,300 square kilometers, includes a total population is 51 million from representatives of more than 100 different ethnic groups.
Tajikistan is one of the most ancient countries in the world. Its history is closely linked with the history of neighboring countries of Central Asia. The legendary Ariana, populated with Arians was located in the area of modern Tajikistan in the middle of the 2nd century. These lands were part of the ancient states of Soghdiana and Bactria. The Lazurite Road was situated on these lands centuries ago, through which precious stones from Badakhshan were delivered to Persia, Egypt and India. which later also was used for the Great Silk road trade between East and West. One of the caravan roads led from Kashgar via the Karakorum Mountains to Khojent and Penjikent and further to the Ferghana valley and Samarkand, another via mountain passages of the Pamirs to Afghanistan and Iran.
Uzbekistan preserved its relics when Central Asia was the centre of the Tamerlan Empire, an era which was also coincided with the development of education and trade. The cities of modern Uzbekistan including Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shahrisabz and Tashkent are symbols of Eastern beauty in the imagination of the Western world, mysteriousness of ancient civilizations. Many cities located in the territory of modern Uzbekistan were in ancient times were connecting the Great Silk road, between the East and West.
Kazakhstan is one of the largest countries of Central Asia with its territory exceeding the area of the other four Central Asian countries by two times. Almaty and Astana are relatively new, international cities within the country. The ancient city Taraz was located on the Great Silk Road. At the beginning of the last millenium a large city of traders and skillful craftsmen – Taraz, emerged on the fertile irrigated lands. Until the 7th century the city was the economic, cultural and political center of the medieval state of Karakhanids. In 1220 Taraz was conquered by the army of Chingiz Khan and was completely destroyed. At the end of 18th century a fortress was built near the ruins of Taraz. In the beginning of the 19th century a new city started to develop in the place of the ancient Taraz, first named as Ayli Ata meaning Saint Old Man.
The Great Silk Road once passed through the territory of Kyrgyzstan and today ruins of settlements and caravansaries (road side inns where travelers could rest) which were dotted along the road and remains of the ruins can still be seen today . Among the most significant archeological and architectural monuments there are Suleiman-goru, Uzgen architectural complex, Buran tower, mausoleum of Shah Fazil and caravansary Tash Rabat.
Long since ancient civilizations existed and were developing on the territory of Turkmenistan. In the 1st century AD the states of Margiana, Parphia and Midia were situated in its territory. They were conquered by Persians in 6th century BC and were part of the Persian Empire (Akhamenids) which in turn was invaded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. After the break up of Alexander’s Empire his lands belonged to his successors – Selevkids. In –the 9th and 10th century Turkmen lands were part of the Takhirids and Samanids states and in –11th – 13th century was part of Seljukids. In the 13th century the country was invaded by Mongol armies led by Chingiskhan, who included the territory of Turkmenistan into his great empire.