Stan's the Man I: Central Asian Geography by Abhi

Champion(s):

grimesr


Runner(s)-Up:

Mlind


Quiz Description

All about the geography of the oft-overlooked region of Central Asia (includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. Under some definitions, includes parts of Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, and China). I've come to love this region after almost a year living here and wanted to share some fun facts about it!

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Questions:

Long ago, the Silk Road was the main passage by which people encountered the multicolored region of Central Asia. Today, the People's Republic of China is attempting to reestablish the region's importance through a massive infrastructure project that will connect it to the rest of Eurasia. What is the name of this initiative?

Click to Reveal Answer
Belt and Road Initiative

For the rest of us, the easiest way to get to the area is by flying. Name any of the three airlines that serve every core Central Asian country (the first five listed in the quiz description). Hint: None of them are actually based in the region.

Click to Reveal Answer
Turkish Airlines, China Southern Airlines, S7 Airlines

One of the great myths about the Silk Road is that it was, well, a road. Rather, many of its way stations are high in the mountains, where travelers could hide from bandits along the way. What is the main mountain range that forms the region's eastern border with China, also called the "Tengri Tagh?"

Click to Reveal Answer
Tian Shan Mountains

Chinese influence is surprisingly limited in the region, mostly because of this geographic barrier--but it exists nevertheless. Name the Chinese muslim minority that has influenced Kyrgyz and Kazakh cuisine and still lives in significant numbers in these countries, cooking up such dishes as Lagman and Ashlyanfu.

Click to Reveal Answer
Dungans (Hui)

Many peoples' familiarity with the region comes from articles about the shrinking Aral Sea. However, locals are likely to be more familiar with a different lake in Kyrgyzstan, the second largest saline lake in the world by volume and a popular summer destination for tourists. Name the lake.

Click to Reveal Answer
Issyk Kul

Near Issyk Kul is Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek. The city's airport is named for which semi-historical figure and epic hero, who appears in at least 10 city statues, multiple street names, and three university names?

Click to Reveal Answer
Manas

A little to the west--with every day, Uzbekistan is getting more open and tourist friendly, thanks to rapid reforms by its new president (following the death of its dictator in 2016)--reforms which hopefully will stick. Name either the current president or the person he replaced.

Click to Reveal Answer
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Islam Karimov

Not that Uzbekistan isn't already an amazing place to visit! Tourists are often pleasantly surprised to find a high-speed rail line connecting the three cities that draw the most tourists--Tashkent, and which two ancient Silk Road depots? Name either.

Click to Reveal Answer
Samarkand, Bukhara

Though these three are all large cities, most of Uzbekistan's population is concentrated in which valley, whose territory it shares with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan? Despite the name, it's not particularly known for black-eyed pea production.

Click to Reveal Answer
Fergana Valley

If you drive south from this valley to Dushanbe, you might pass the unbelievably beautiful lake of Iskanderkul. As suggested by the name, which famous conqueror is said to have lost his horse to drowning in the lake's waters?

Click to Reveal Answer
Alexander of Macedon

Dushanbe itself is home to a very particular type of structure--one of only five in the world, with others in London, Lisbon, Burnaby (near Vancouver), and Toronto. What is the name of the group that built the structure, who consider the Aga Khan their leader?

Click to Reveal Answer
Nizari, or Ismaili, Muslims

The southern border of Tajikistan is marked by the Amu Darya river, which continues into Turkmenistan. What was the name of the river in antiquity, referenced in the westernized name of the region and in Greek literature?

Click to Reveal Answer
Oxus