1. Capital city – A capital city is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other region, usually as its seat of government. A capital is typically a city that encompasses the offices and meeting places of its respective government. In some jurisdictions, including countries, the different branches of government are located in different settlements. In some cases, a distinction is made between the capital and the seat of government, which is in another place. The word capital derives from the Latin caput, meaning head, in several English-speaking states, the terms county town, county seat, and borough seat are also used in lower subdivisions. In unitary states, subnational capitals are known as administrative centres. The capital is often, but not necessarily, the largest city of its constituent, historically, the major economic centre of a state or region often becomes the focal point of political power, and becomes a capital through conquest or federation. Examples are Ancient Babylon, Abbasid Baghdad, Ancient Athens, Rome, Constantinople, Changan, Ancient Cusco, Madrid, Paris, London, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Vienna, and Berlin. Some of these cities are or were also religious centres, e. g. Constantinople, Rome, Jerusalem, Ancient Babylon, Moscow, Belgrade, Paris, and Peking. A capital city that is also the economic, cultural. The convergence of political and economic or cultural power is by no means universal, traditional capitals may be economically eclipsed by provincial rivals, e. g. Nanking by Shanghai, Quebec City by Montreal, and numerous US state capitals. The decline of a dynasty or culture could also mean the extinction of its city, as occurred at Babylon. Although many capitals are defined by constitution or legislation, many long-time capitals have no legal designation as such, for example Bern, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London, Paris, are located in or near them. In Canada, there is a capital, while the ten provinces. The states of such countries as Mexico, Brazil, and Australia all have capital cities, for example, the six state capitals of Australia are Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. In Australia, the capital cities is regularly used, to refer to the aforementioned state capitals plus the federal capital Canberra and Darwin. Abu Dhabi is the city of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In unitary states which consist of multiple constituent countries, such as the United Kingdom or the Kingdom of Denmark, the national capitals of Germany and Russia, the Stadtstaat of Berlin and the Federal City of Moscow, are also constituent states of both countries in their own rightCapital city – Parliament Hill, the national legislative buildings, in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
2. List of states with limited recognition – A number of polities have declared independence and sought diplomatic recognition from the international community as de jure sovereign states, but have not been universally recognized as such. These entities often have de facto control of their territory, a number of such entities have existed in the past. There are two traditional doctrines that provide indicia of how a de jure sovereign state comes into being, according to declarative theory, an entitys statehood is independent of its recognition by other states. By contrast, the constitutive theory defines a state as a person of international law if it is recognised as such by other states that are already a member of the international community. Proto-states often reference either or both doctrines in order to legitimise their claims to statehood, there are, for example, entities which meet the declarative criteria, but whose statehood is not recognised by any other states. Non-recognition is often a result of conflicts with other countries that claim those entities as integral parts of their territory, in other cases, two or more partially recognised entities may claim the same territorial area, with each of them de facto in control of a portion of it. Entities that are recognised by only a minority of the worlds states usually reference the declarative doctrine to legitimise their claims, the international community can judge this military presence too intrusive, reducing the entity to a puppet state where effective sovereignty is retained by the foreign power. Historical cases in this sense can be seen in Japanese-led Manchukuo or the German-created Slovak Republic and Independent State of Croatia before, in the 1996 case Loizidou vs. Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights judged Turkey for having exercised authority in the territory of Northern Cyprus. Historically this has happened in the case of the Holy See, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is currently in this position. See list of governments in exile for unrecognised governments without control over the territory claimed, some states are slow to establish relations with new states and thus do not recognise them, despite having no dispute and sometimes favorable relations. These are excluded from the list, there are 193 United Nations member states. The Holy See and the State of Palestine have observer status in the United Nations. Some states maintain informal relations with states that do not officially recognise them, the Republic of China is one such state, as it maintains unofficial relations with many other states through its Economic and Cultural Offices, which allow regular consular services. This allows the ROC to have economic relations even with states that do not formally recognise it, a total of 56 states, including Germany, Italy, the United States, and the United Kingdom, maintain some form of unofficial mission in the ROC. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is a sovereign entity and is not included. It has established full diplomatic relations with 105 sovereign states as a subject of international law. Five more states maintain neither and do not recognise its passports, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, uncontacted peoples who either live in societies that cannot be defined as states or whose statuses as such are not definitively known. Entities considered to be micronations are not included, even though micronations generally claim to be sovereign and independent, it is often up to debate whether a micronation truly controls its claimed territoryList of states with limited recognition – Women in Somaliland, wearing the colors of the Somaliland flag.
3. Ashgabat – Ashgabat — known as Poltoratsk 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 Karakum Canal runs through the city, carrying waters from the Amu Darya from east to west, Ashgabat is called Aşgabat in Turkmen, Ашхабад in Russian, and Ešq-ābād in Persian. Before 1991, the city was usually spelled Ashkhabad in English and it has also been variously spelled Ashkhabat and Ashgabad. From 1919 until 1927 the city was renamed Poltoratsk after a local revolutionary, the name means city of love or city of devotion. Some Turkmen scholars insist that the name back to the Parthian era, 3rd century BC, deriving from the name of the founder of the Parthian Empire, Arsaces I of Parthia. Ashgabat is a young city, having been founded in 1881 as a fortification. Konjikala was rebuilt because of its advantageous location on the Silk Road, after that it survived as a small village until Russians took over in the 19th century. A part of Persia until the Battle of Geok Tepe, Askhabad was ceded to the Russian Empire under the terms of the Akhal Treaty, russia developed the area as it was close to the border of British-influenced Persia. It was regarded as a pleasant town with European style buildings, shops, in 1908, the first Baháí House of Worship was built in Askhabat. It was badly damaged in the 1948 earthquake and finally demolished in 1963, the community of the Baháí Faith in Turkmenistan was largely based in Ashgabat. Soviet rule was established in Ashgabat in December 1917, after receiving some support from General Malleson, the British withdrew in April 1919 and the Tashkent Soviet resumed control of the city. In 1919, the city was renamed Poltoratsk, after Pavel Poltoratsky, when the Turkmen SSR was established in 1924, Poltoratsk became its capital. The original name was restored in 1927, from this period onward, the city experienced rapid growth and industrialisation, although severely disrupted by a major earthquake on October 6,1948. An estimated 7.3 on the Richter scale, the earthquake killed 110-176,000, in July 2003, all the names of streets in Ashgabat were replaced by serial numbers except nine major highways, some named after Saparmurat Niyazov, his father and mother. The Central Palace area is designated 2000 to symbolize the beginning of the 21st century, the rest of the streets have larger or smaller four-digit numerical names. In 2013, the city was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the worlds highest concentration of white marble buildings, Russians form 7. 7% of the population, followed by Armenians, Turks, Uzbeks, and Azeris. When Ashgabat was under Russian rule, the number of Baháís in the city rose to over 1,000, the community elected one of the first Baháí local administrative institutions. The building was designed under the guidance of Abdul-Bahá by Ustad Ali-Akbar Banna Yazdi who also wrote a history of the Bahais in Ashgabat, under the Soviet policy towards religion, the Baháís, strictly adhering to their principle of obedience to legal government, abandoned these properties in 1928Ashgabat – A view from the north towards the city center
4. Turkmenistan – Turkmenistan has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. In medieval times, Merv was one of the cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by the Russian Empire in 1881, Turkmenistan later figured prominently in the movement in Central Asia. In 1924, Turkmenistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic, Turkmenistan possesses the worlds fourth largest reserves of natural gas resources. Most of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert, since 1993, citizens have received government-provided electricity, water and natural gas free of charge. Turkmenistan was ruled by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov until his death in 2006, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was elected president in 2007. According to Human Rights Watch, Turkmenistan remains one of the world’s most repressive countries, after suspending the death penalty, the use of capital punishment was formally abolished in the 2008 constitution. Historically inhabited by the Indo-Iranians, the history of Turkmenistan begins with its annexation by the Achaemenid Empire of Ancient Iran. In the 8th century AD, Turkic-speaking Oghuz tribes moved from Mongolia into present-day Central Asia, part of a powerful confederation of tribes, these Oghuz formed the ethnic basis of the modern Turkmen population. In the 10th century, the name Turkmen was first applied to Oghuz groups that accepted Islam, There they were under the dominion of the Seljuk Empire, which was composed of Oghuz groups living in present-day Iran and Turkmenistan. Turkmen soldiers in the service of the played a important role in the spreading of Turkic culture when they migrated westward into present-day Azerbaijan. In the 12th century, Turkmen and other tribes overthrew the Seljuk Empire, in the next century, the Mongols took over the more northern lands where the Turkmens had settled, scattering the Turkmens southward and contributing to the formation of new tribal groups. The sixteenth and eighteenth centuries saw a series of splits and confederations among the nomadic Turkmen tribes, by the 16th century, most of those tribes were under the nominal control of two sedentary Uzbek khanates, Khiva and Bukhoro. Turkmen soldiers were an important element of the Uzbek militaries of this period, in the 19th century, raids and rebellions by the Yomud Turkmen group resulted in that groups dispersal by the Uzbek rulers. According to Paul R. Spickard, Prior to the Russian conquest, Russian forces began occupying Turkmen territory late in the 19th century. From their Caspian Sea base at Krasnovodsk, the Russians eventually overcame the Uzbek khanates, in 1916 the Russian Empires participation in World War I resonated in Turkmenistan, as an anticonscription revolt swept most of Russian Central Asia. In 1924 the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic was formed from the tsarist province of Transcaspia, by the late 1930s, Soviet reorganization of agriculture had destroyed what remained of the nomadic lifestyle in Turkmenistan, and Moscow controlled political life. The Ashgabat earthquake of 1948 killed over 110,000 people, during the next half-century, Turkmenistan played its designated economic role within the Soviet Union and remained outside the course of major world eventsTurkmenistan – Turkmen helmet (15th century).
5. Astana – Astana is the capital city of Kazakhstan. It is located on the Ishim River in the portion of Kazakhstan, within the Akmola Region. The 2014 census reported a population of 835,153 within the city limits, founded in 1830 as a settlement of Akmoly or Akmolinsky prikaz, it served as a defensive fortification for the Siberian Cossacks. In 1832 the settlement was granted a status and renamed Akmolinsk. On March 20,1961 the city was renamed Tselinograd to mark the evolution as a cultural. In 1992 it was renamed Akmola, the original name meaning a white grave. On December 10,1997 Akmola replaced Almaty as the capital of Kazakhstan, on May 6,1998 it was renamed Astana, which means the capital city in Kazakh. Modern Astana is a city, like Brasília in Brazil, Canberra in Australia. After Astana became the capital of Kazakhstan, the city changed its shape. The master plan of Astana was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, as the seat of the Government of Kazakhstan, Astana is the site of the Parliament House, the Supreme Court, the Ak Orda Presidential Palace and numerous government departments and agencies. It is home to many buildings, hotels and skyscrapers. Astana also has extensive healthcare, sports and education systems, the settlement of Akmoly, also known as Akmolinsky prikaz, was established on the Ishim River in 1830 as the seat of an okrug by a unit of the Siberian Cossacks headed by Fyodor Shubin. The name was given after a local landmark—Akmola literally means a white grave in Kazakh—although this theory is not universally accepted. In 1832, the settlement was granted town status and named Akmolinsk, the fairly advantageous position of the town was clear as early as 1863 in an abstract from the Geographic and Statistical Dictionary of the Russian Empire. It describes how picket roads and lines connected this geographic centre to Kargaly in the East, Aktau fort in the South, in 1838, at the height of the great national and liberation movement headed by Kenesary Khan, Akmolinsk fortress was burned. After the repression of the movement, the fortress was rebuilt. On 16 July 1863, Akmolinsk was officially declared an uyezd town, during the rapid development of the Russian capitalist market, the huge Saryarka areas were actively exploited by the colonial administration. To draft Regulation governing the Kazakh steppe the Government of the Russian Empire formed Steppe Commission in 1865, on 21 October 1868, Tsar Alexander II signed a draft Regulation on governing Turgay, Ural, Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk OblastsAstana – From top to bottom, left to right: Astana Downtown; KazMunayGas headquarters; Ishim River; L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University; Triumph of Astana.
6. Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in northern Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Kazakhstan is the worlds largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest in the world, Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the regions GDP, primarily through its oil/gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources, Kazakhstan is officially a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, the terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, steppe, taiga, rock canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. Kazakhstan has an estimated 18 million people as of 2014, Given its large area, its population density is among the lowest. The capital is Astana, where it was moved in 1997 from Almaty, the territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country as part of the Mongolian Empire, following internal struggles among the conquerors, power eventually reverted to the nomads. By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, the Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century, they nominally ruled all of Kazakhstan as part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganised several times, in 1936, it was made the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan has worked to develop its economy, especially its dominant hydrocarbon industry. Kazakhstans 131 ethnicities include Kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, the Kazakh language is the state language, and Russian has equal official status for all levels of administrative and institutional purposes. The name Kazakh comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz, to wander, the name Cossack is of the same origin. The Persian suffix -stan means land or place of, so Kazakhstan can be translated as land of the wanderers. Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age, the regions climate, archaeologists believe that humans first domesticated the horse in the regions vast steppes. Central Asia was originally inhabited by the Scythians, the Cuman entered the steppes of modern-day Kazakhstan around the early 11th century, where they later joined with the Kipchak and established the vast Cuman-Kipchak confederation. Under the Mongol Empire, the largest in history, administrative districts were established. These eventually came under the rule of the emergent Kazakh Khanate, throughout this period, traditional nomadic life and a livestock-based economy continued to dominate the steppe. Nevertheless, the region was the focus of ever-increasing disputes between the native Kazakh emirs and the neighbouring Persian-speaking peoples to the south, at its height the Khanate would rule parts of Central Asia and control CumaniaKazakhstan – Artistic depiction of medieval Taraz situated along the Silk Road
7. Bishkek – Bishkek, formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and largest city of the Kyrgyz Republic. Bishkek is also the center of the Chuy Region. The province surrounds the city, although the city itself is not part of the province, but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan. According to post-Soviet research, the name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a used to make fermented mares milk. The city was founded in 1825 as the Khokand fortress of Pishpek in order to control local caravan routes, on 4 September 1860, the fortress was destroyed by Russian forces led by colonel Zimmermann, with the approval of the Kyrgyz. In 1868 a Russian settlement was founded on the spot, under its original name. It lay within the General Governorship of Russian Turkestan and its Semirechye Oblast, in 1925, the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast was created in Russian Turkestan, promoting Pishpek to its capital. In 1926, the city was given the name Frunze, after the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze, in 1936, the city of Frunze became the capital of the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic, during the final stages of the national delimitation in the Soviet Union. In 1991, the Kyrgyz parliament changed the name to Bishkek. Bishkek is situated at an altitude of about 800 meters, just off the northern fringe of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too range and these mountains rise to a height of 4,855 meters and provide a spectacular backdrop to the city. North of the city, a fertile and gently undulating steppe extends far north into neighboring Kazakhstan, the Chui River drains most of the area. Bishkek is connected to the Turkestan-Siberia Railway by a spur line, Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks surrounding interior courtyards. Mostly outside the city center, there are thousands of smaller privately built houses. It is laid out on a pattern, with most streets flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels that water the innumerable trees that provide shade in the hot summers. Originally a caravan rest stop on one of the branches of the Silk Road through the Tian Shan range, in the last years of Kokhand rule, the fortress was led by Atabek, the Datka. In 1860, the fort was conquered and razed by the forces of Colonel Zimmermann when Tsarist Russia annexed the area. Colonel Zimmermann rebuilt the town over the fort and put field Poruchik Titov as head of a new Russian garrison. The site was redeveloped from 1877 onward by the Russian government, in June 1990, a state of emergency was declared following severe ethnic riots in southern Kyrgyzstan that threatened to spread to the capitalBishkek – Ala-Too Square
8. Kyrgyzstan – Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and southwest, Tajikistan to the southwest and its capital and largest city is Bishkek. Kyrgyzstans recorded history spans over 2,000 years, encompassing a variety of cultures and empires, ethnic Kyrgyz make up the majority of the countrys 5.7 million people, followed by significant minorities of Uzbeks and Russians. Kyrgyz is closely related to other Turkic languages, although Russian remains widely spoken and is the official language, the majority of the population are non-denominational Muslims. In addition to its Turkic origins, Kyrgyz culture bears elements of Persian, Mongolian and Russian influence. Kyrgyz is believed to have derived from the Turkic word for forty, in reference to the forty clans of Manas. Literally, Kyrgyz means We are forty, at the time, in the early 9th century AD, the Uyghurs dominated much of Central Asia, Mongolia, and parts of Russia and China. King, Scythians were early settlers in present-day Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uyghur Khaganate in 840 A. D. From the 10th century the Kyrgyz migrated as far as the Tian Shan range, in the twelfth century the Kyrgyz dominion had shrunk to the Altay Range and Sayan Mountains as a result of the Mongol expansion. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century, the Kyrgyz peacefully became a part of the Mongol Empire in 1207. The descent of the Kyrgyz from the autochthonous Siberian population is confirmed on the hand by the recent genetic studies. Issyk Kul Lake was a stopover on the Silk Road, a route for traders, merchants. Kyrgyz tribes were overrun in the 17th century by the Mongols, in the century by the Manchurian Qing Dynasty. In the late century, the majority part of what is today Kyrgyzstan was ceded to Russia through two treaties between China and Russia. The territory, then known in Russian as Kirghizia, was incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876. The Russian takeover was met with numerous revolts against Tsarist authority, in addition, the suppression of the 1916 rebellion against Russian rule in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz later to migrate to China. Soviet power was established in the region in 1919. On 5 December 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was established as a republic of the Soviet UnionKyrgyzstan – Silk road caravansary utilized during the Islamic Golden Age
9. Dushanbe – Dushanbe — is the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means Monday in the Tajik language and 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, as of 2014, Dushanbe had a population of 778,500. Situated at the confluence of two rivers, Varzob and Kofarnihon, Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. Although archaeological remnants dating to the 5th century BC have been discovered in the area, the first written mention of the village of Dushanbe occurred in 1676. It was at the crossroads, where a large bazaar occurred on Mondays, hence the name Dushanbe-Bazar from Dushanbe, in the village, there were more than 500 households and a population of about 8,000 people. By 1826, the town was called Dushanbe Qurghan Russified as Dyushambe, the first map showing Dyushambe was drafted in 1875. At that time, the town was a fortress on a bank on the left bank of the Varzob River with 10,000 residents. In 1920, the last Emir of Bukhara briefly took refuge in Dyushambe after being overthrown by the Bolshevik revolution and he fled to Afghanistan after the Red Army conquered the area the next year. A Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic separate from the Uzbek SSR was created in 1929, in the years that followed, the city developed at a rapid pace. The Soviets transformed the area into a centre for cotton and silk production, the population also increased with thousands of Tajiks migrating to Tajikistan following the transfer of Bukhara and Samarkand to the Uzbek SSR as part of national delimitation in Central Asia. On 10 November 1961, Stalinabad was renamed Dushanbe, the name it retains to this day, severe rioting occurred in February 1990, after it was rumored that the Soviet government planned to relocate tens of thousands of Armenian refugees to Tajikistan. In January 2017, Rustam Emomali, current President Emomali Rahmons son, was appointed Mayor of Dushanbe, a key position, Dushanbe features a Mediterranean climate, with strong continental climate influences. The summers are hot and dry and the winters are chilly, the climate is damper than other Central Asian capitals, with an average annual rainfall over 500 millimetres as moist air is funnelled by the surrounding valley during the winter and spring. Winters are not as cold as further north owing to the shielding of the city by mountains from extremely cold air from Siberia, January 2008 was particularly cold, and the temperature dropped to −22 °C. Tajik Air has its office on the grounds of Dushanbe Airport in Dushanbe. Somon Air has its office in Dushanbe. Tajikistans principal railways are in the region and connect Dushanbe with the industrial areas of the Gissar and Vakhsh valleys and with Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, KazakhstanDushanbe – View of the Palace of Nation (Presidential Palace).
10. Tajikistan – Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an estimated 8 million people in 2013, and an area of 143,100 km2. It is bordered by Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the south, the Republic of Uzbekistan to the west, the Kyrgyz Republic to the north, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan lies to the south, separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Traditional homelands of Tajik people included present-day Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, a civil war was fought almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability, Tajikistan is a presidential republic consisting of four provinces. Most of Tajikistans 8 million people belong to the Tajik ethnic group, many Tajiks also speak Russian as their second language. Mountains cover more than 90% of the country and it has a transition economy that is highly dependent on remittances, aluminium and cotton production. Tajikistan means the Land of the Tajiks, the suffix -stan is Persian for place of or country and Tajik is, most likely, the name of a pre-Islamic tribe. Tajikistan appeared as Tadjikistan or Tadzhikistan in English prior to 1991 and this is due to a transliteration from the Russian, Таджикистан. In Russian, there is no single letter j to represent the phoneme /ʤ/ and дж, Tadzhikistan is the most common alternate spelling and is widely used in English literature derived from Russian sources. Tadjikistan is the spelling in French and can occasionally be found in English language texts, the way of writing Tajikistan in the Perso-Arabic script is. The earliest recorded history of the dates back to about 500 BCE when much, if not all. After the regions conquest by Alexander the Great it became part of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, northern Tajikistan was part of Sogdia, a collection of city-states which was overrun by Scythians and Yuezhi nomadic tribes around 150 BCE. The Silk Road passed through the region and following the expedition of Chinese explorer Zhang Qian during the reign of Wudi commercial relations between Han China and Sogdiana flourished. Sogdians played a role in facilitating trade and also worked in other capacities, as farmers, carpetweavers, glassmakers. Later the Hephthalite Empire, a collection of tribes, moved into the region. Central Asia continued in its role as a crossroads, linking China, the steppes to the north. It was temporarily under the control of the Tibetan empire and Chinese from 650–680, the Samanid Empire,819 to 999, restored Persian control of the region and enlarged the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara which became the cultural centres of Iran and the region was known as Khorasan. The Kara-Khanid Khanate conquered Transoxania and ruled between 999–1211, during Genghis Khans invasion of Khwarezmia in the early 13th century the Mongol Empire took control over nearly all of Central AsiaTajikistan – The Samanid ruler Mansur I (961 – 976).
11. Moscow – Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits and 17.8 million within the urban area. Moscow has the status of a Russian federal city, Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city entirely on the European continent. Moscow is the northernmost and coldest megacity and metropolis on Earth and it is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe, the Federation Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Europe, and the Moscow International Business Center. Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia, the city is well known for its architecture, particularly its historic buildings such as Saint Basils Cathedral with its brightly colored domes. Moscow is the seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are also one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament also sit in the city and it is recognized as one of the citys landmarks due to the rich architecture of its 200 stations. In old Russian the word also meant a church administrative district. The demonym for a Moscow resident is москвич for male or москвичка for female, the name of the city is thought to be derived from the name of the Moskva River. There have been proposed several theories of the origin of the name of the river and its cognates include Russian, музга, muzga pool, puddle, Lithuanian, mazgoti and Latvian, mazgāt to wash, Sanskrit, majjati to drown, Latin, mergō to dip, immerse. There exist as well similar place names in Poland like Mozgawa, the original Old Russian form of the name is reconstructed as *Москы, *Mosky, hence it was one of a few Slavic ū-stem nouns. From the latter forms came the modern Russian name Москва, Moskva, in a similar manner the Latin name Moscovia has been formed, later it became a colloquial name for Russia used in Western Europe in the 16th–17th centuries. From it as well came English Muscovy, various other theories, having little or no scientific ground, are now largely rejected by contemporary linguists. The surface similarity of the name Russia with Rosh, an obscure biblical tribe or country, the oldest evidence of humans on the territory of Moscow dates from the Neolithic. Within the modern bounds of the city other late evidence was discovered, on the territory of the Kremlin, Sparrow Hills, Setun River and Kuntsevskiy forest park, etc. The earliest East Slavic tribes recorded as having expanded to the upper Volga in the 9th to 10th centuries are the Vyatichi and Krivichi, the Moskva River was incorporated as part of Rostov-Suzdal into the Kievan Rus in the 11th century. By AD1100, a settlement had appeared on the mouth of the Neglinnaya River. The first known reference to Moscow dates from 1147 as a place of Yuri Dolgoruky. At the time it was a town on the western border of Vladimir-Suzdal PrincipalityMoscow – Left to right, top to bottom: Moscow State University, Spasskaya Clocktower, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour; Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow International Business Center; Red Square
12. Russia – Russia, also officially the Russian Federation, is a country in Eurasia. The European western part of the country is more populated and urbanised than the eastern. Russias capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world, other urban centers include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a range of environments. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, the East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, in 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus ultimately disintegrated into a number of states, most of the Rus lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion. The Soviet Union played a role in the Allied victory in World War II. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the worlds first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the second largest economy, largest standing military in the world. It is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic, the Russian economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015. Russias extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the producers of oil. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. The name Russia is derived from Rus, a state populated mostly by the East Slavs. However, this name became more prominent in the later history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants Русская Земля. In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus by modern historiography, an old Latin version of the name Rus was Ruthenia, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus that were adjacent to Catholic Europe. The current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Kievan Rus, the standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is Russians in English and rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are translated into English as RussiansRussia – Kievan Rus' in the 11th century
13. Tashkent – Tashkent is the capital and largest city of Uzbekistan. The officially registered population of the city in 2012 was about 2,309,300, due to its position in Central Asia, Tashkent came under Sogdian and Turkic influence early in its history, before Islam in the 8th century AD. After its destruction by Genghis Khan in 1219, the city was rebuilt, in 1865 it was conquered by the Russian Empire, and in Soviet times witnessed major growth and demographic changes due to forced deportations from throughout the Soviet Union. Today, as the capital of an independent Uzbekistan, Tashkent retains a multi-ethnic population with ethnic Uzbeks as the majority, during its long history, Tashkent has had various changes in names and political and religious affiliations. Tashkent was settled by ancient people as an oasis on the Chirchik River, in ancient times, this area contained Beitian, probably the summer capital of the Kangju confederacy. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, the town and the province were known as Chach, the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi also refers to the city as Chach. Later the town came to be known as Chachkand/Chashkand, meaning Chach City, the principality of Chach had a square citadel built around the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, some 8 kilometres south of the Syr Darya River. By the 7th century AD, Chach had more than 30 towns, the Buddhist monk Xuánzàng 玄奘, who travelled from China to India through Central Asia, mentioned the name of the city as Zhěshí 赭時. The Chinese chronicles Suí shū 隋書, Běi shǐ 北史 and Táng shū 唐書, in the early 8th century, the region was conquered by Muslim Arabs. The modern Turkic name of Tashkent comes from Kara-Khanid rule in the 10th century, after the 16th century, the name evolved from Chachkand/Chashkand to Tashkand. The modern spelling of Tashkent reflects Russian orthography and 20th-century Soviet influence, the city was destroyed by Genghis Khan in 1219 and lost much of its population as a result of the Mongols destruction of the Khwarezmid Empire in 1220. Under the Timurid and subsequent Shaybanid dynasties the citys population and culture gradually revived as a prominent strategic center of scholarship, commerce, in 1809, Tashkent was annexed to the Khanate of Kokand. At the time, Tashkent had a population of around 100,000 and was considered the richest city in Central Asia and it prospered greatly through trade with Russia, but chafed under Kokand’s high taxes. The Tashkent clergy also favored the clergy of Bukhara over that of Kokand, however, before the Emir of Bukhara could capitalize on this discontent, the Russian army arrived. While a small contingent staged an attack, the main force penetrated the walls. Although defense was stiff, the Russians captured the city two days of heavy fighting and the loss of only 25 dead as opposed to several thousand of the defenders. Chernyayev, dubbed the Lion of Tashkent by city elders, staged a campaign to win the population over. The Tsar liberally rewarded Chernyayev and his men with medals and bonuses, but regarded the general as a loose cannonTashkent – Tashkent Uzbek: Toshkent, Тошкент, تاشکنت
14. Uzbekistan – Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, is one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world. Located in Central Asia, it is a unitary, constitutional, presidential republic, comprising twelve provinces, one autonomous republic and a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five landlocked countries, Kazakhstan to the north, Tajikistan to the southeast, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Afghanistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southwest. Once part of the Turkic Khaganate and later Timurid Empires, the region that includes the Republic of Uzbekistan was conquered in the early 16th century by Eastern Turkic-speaking nomads. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991, Uzbekistan is officially a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. The countrys official language is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin alphabet and spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population, however, Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population, followed by Russians, Tajiks, Kazakhs, and others. A majority of Uzbeks are non-denominational Muslims, Uzbekistan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, UN, and the SCO. While officially a republic, non-governmental human rights organizations define Uzbekistan as an authoritarian state with limited civil rights. Uzbekistans economy relies mainly on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, its government continues to maintain economic controls which imports in favour of domestic import substitution. Uzbekistan has an area of 447,400 square kilometres and it is the 56th largest country in the world by area and the 42nd by population. Among the CIS countries, it is the 4th largest by area, Uzbekistan lies between latitudes 37° and 46° N, and longitudes 56° and 74° E. It stretches 1,425 kilometres from west to east and 930 kilometres from north to south, Uzbekistan also shares a short border with Afghanistan to the south. Uzbekistan is a dry, landlocked country and it is one of two doubly landlocked countries in the world, the other being Liechtenstein. In addition, due to its location within a series of endorheic basins, less than 10% of its territory is intensively cultivated irrigated land in river valleys and oases. The rest is vast desert and mountains, the climate in the Republic of Uzbekistan is continental, with little precipitation expected annually. The average summer high temperature tends to be 40 °C, while the winter low temperature is around −23 °C. Uzbekistan has a rich and diverse natural environment, the Aral Sea used to be the fourth-largest inland sea on Earth, acting as an influencing factor in the air moisture and arid land use. Since the 1960s, the decade when the misuse of the Aral Sea water began, it has shrunk to less than 50% of its former area, reliable, or even approximate data, have not been collected, stored or provided by any organization or official agencyUzbekistan – Comparison of the Aral Sea between 1989 and 2014.
15. Beijing – Beijing is the capital of the Peoples Republic of China and the worlds third most populous city proper. It is also one of the worlds most populous capital cities, the city, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by population after Shanghai and is the nations political, cultural. It is home to the headquarters of most of Chinas largest state-owned companies, and is a hub for the national highway, expressway, railway. The citys history dates back three millennia, as the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political centre of the country for much of the past eight centuries. Beijing was the largest city in the world by population for much of the second millennium A. D, the city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates. Its art treasures and universities have made it centre of culture, encyclopædia Britannica notes that few cities in the world have served for so long as the political headquarters and cultural centre of an area as immense as China. Siheyuans, the traditional housing style, and hutongs, the narrow alleys between siheyuans, are major tourist attractions and are common in urban Beijing. The city hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and was chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, many of Beijings 91 universities consistently rank among the best in China, of which Peking University and Tsinghua University are ranked in the top 60 universities in the world. Beijings Zhongguancun area is known as Chinas Silicon Valley and Chinas center of innovation. According to the 2016 InterNations Expat Insider Survey, Beijing ranked first in Asia in the subcategory Personal Finance Index, expats live primarily in urban districts such as Dongcheng and Chaoyang in the east, or in suburban districts such as Shunyi. Over the past 3,000 years, the city of Beijing has had other names. The name Beijing, which means Northern Capital, was applied to the city in 1403 during the Ming Dynasty to distinguish the city from Nanjing, the English spelling is based on the pinyin romanisation of the two characters as they are pronounced in Standard Mandarin. Those dialects preserve the Middle Chinese pronunciation of 京 as kjaeng, the single Chinese character abbreviation for Beijing is 京, which appears on automobile license plates in the city. The official Latin alphabet abbreviation for Beijing is BJ, the earliest traces of human habitation in the Beijing municipality were found in the caves of Dragon Bone Hill near the village of Zhoukoudian in Fangshan District, where Peking Man lived. Homo erectus fossils from the date to 230,000 to 250,000 years ago. Paleolithic Homo sapiens also lived more recently, about 27,000 years ago. Archaeologists have found neolithic settlements throughout the municipality, including in Wangfujing, the first walled city in Beijing was Ji, a city from the 11th to 7th century BCBeijing – Clockwise from top: Beijing CBD skyline, Tiananmen, Temple of Heaven, National Center for the Performing Arts, and Beijing National Stadium
16. China – China, officially the Peoples Republic of China, is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia and the worlds most populous country, with a population of over 1.381 billion. The state is governed by the Communist Party of China and its capital is Beijing, the countrys major urban areas include Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hong Kong. China is a power and a major regional power within Asia. Chinas landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes, the Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from much of South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third and sixth longest in the world, respectively, Chinas coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometers long and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East China and South China seas. China emerged as one of the worlds earliest civilizations in the basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, Chinas political system was based on hereditary monarchies known as dynasties, in 1912, the Republic of China replaced the last dynasty and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949, when it was defeated by the communist Peoples Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War. The Communist Party established the Peoples Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, both the ROC and PRC continue to claim to be the legitimate government of all China, though the latter has more recognition in the world and controls more territory. China had the largest economy in the world for much of the last two years, during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and decline. Since the introduction of reforms in 1978, China has become one of the worlds fastest-growing major economies. As of 2016, it is the worlds second-largest economy by nominal GDP, China is also the worlds largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a nuclear weapons state and has the worlds largest standing army. The PRC is a member of the United Nations, as it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U. N. Security Council in 1971. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BCIM, the English name China is first attested in Richard Edens 1555 translation of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. The demonym, that is, the name for the people, Portuguese China is thought to derive from Persian Chīn, and perhaps ultimately from Sanskrit Cīna. Cīna was first used in early Hindu scripture, including the Mahābhārata, there are, however, other suggestions for the derivation of China. The official name of the state is the Peoples Republic of China. The shorter form is China Zhōngguó, from zhōng and guó and it was then applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and then to Chinas Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the QingChina – Yinxu, ruins of an ancient palace dating from the Shang Dynasty (14th century BCE)
17. Hong Kong – Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the Pearl River Delta of East Asia. Macau lies across the delta to the west, and the Chinese province of Guangdong borders the territory to the north. With a total area of 1,106 square kilometres. Hong Kong was later occupied by Japan during World War II until British control resumed in 1945, under the principle of one country, two systems, Hong Kong maintains a separate political and economic system from China. Except in military defence and foreign affairs, Hong Kong maintains its independent executive, legislative, in addition, Hong Kong develops relations directly with foreign states and international organisations in a broad range of appropriate fields. Hong Kong is one of the worlds most significant financial centres, with the highest Financial Development Index score and consistently ranks as the worlds most competitive and freest economic entity. As the worlds 8th largest trading entity, its legal tender, Hong Kongs tertiary sector dominated economy is characterised by simple taxation with a competitive level of corporate tax and supported by its independent judiciary system. However, while Hong Kong has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and it has a very high Human Development Index ranking and the worlds longest life expectancy. Over 90% of the population use of well-developed public transportation. Seasonal air pollution with origins from neighbouring areas of Mainland China. Hong Kong was officially recorded in the 1842 Treaty of Nanking to encompass the entirety of the island, before 1842, the name referred to a small inlet—now Aberdeen Harbour —between Aberdeen Island and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen was a point of contact between British sailors and local fishermen. Detailed and accurate romanisation systems for Cantonese were available and in use at the time, fragrance may refer to the sweet taste of the harbours fresh water estuarine influx of the Pearl River or to the incense from factories lining the coast of northern Kowloon. The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export before Hong Kong developed Victoria Harbour, the name had often been written as the single word Hongkong until the government adopted the current form in 1926. Nevertheless, a number of century-old institutions still retain the form, such as the Hongkong Post, Hongkong Electric. As of 1997, its name is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China. This is the title as mentioned in the Hong Kong Basic Law. Hong Kong has carried many nicknames, the most famous among those is the Pearl of the Orient, which reflected the impressive nightscape of the citys light decorations on the skyscrapers along both sides of the Victoria HarbourHong Kong – The Cenotaph in Hong Kong commemorates those who died in service in WWI and WWII.
18. Macau – Macau, also spelled Macao, officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the western side of the Pearl River Delta in East Asia. Macau is bordered by the city of Zhuhai in Mainland China to the north, Hong Kong lies about 64 kilometres to its east across the Delta. With a population of 650,900 living in an area of 30.5 km2, Macau was administered by the Portuguese Empire and its inheritor states from the mid-16th century until late 1999, when it constituted the last remaining European colony in Asia. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 1550s, in 1557, Macau was leased to Portugal from Ming China as a trading port. The Portuguese Empire administered the city under Chinese authority and sovereignty until 1887, sovereignty over Macau was transferred back to China on 20 December 1999. The Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau and Macau Basic Law stipulate that Macau operate with a degree of autonomy until at least 2049. Macau participates in international organizations and events that do not require members to national sovereignty. Macau is a city in Southern China, known for its casinos. Its gaming revenue has been the worlds largest since 2006, with the heavily dependent on gaming. According to The World Factbook, Macau has the fourth highest life expectancy in the world, the present Chinese name means Inlet Gates. Macau is otherwise known in Chinese as Haojing or Jinghai, the name Macau is thought to be derived from the A-Ma Temple, a temple built in 1448 dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen. It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the Portuguese then named the peninsula Macau. The history of Macau is traced back to the Qin dynasty, the first recorded Chinese inhabitants of the area were people seeking refuge in Macau from invading Mongols during the Southern Song. Under the Ming dynasty, fishermen migrated to Macau from Guangdong, the Macau native people were Tanka boat people. Macau did not develop as a settlement until the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century. In 1513, Jorge Álvares became the first Portuguese to land in China, in 1535, Portuguese traders obtained the rights to anchor ships in Macaus harbours and to carry out trading activities, though not the right to stay onshore. In 1557, the Portuguese established a permanent settlement in Macau, the Portuguese continued to pay an annual tribute up to 1863 in order to stay in Macau. By 1564, Portugal commanded western trade with India, Japan, but their pride was damaged by the indifference with which the Chinese treated themMacau – Portuguese coin (minted 1996) commemorating the arrival of the Portuguese in China in 1513
19. Pyongyang – Pyongyang is the capital and largest city of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The city was split from the South Pyongan province in 1946 and it is administered as a directly governed city on the same level as provincial governments, as opposed to a special city as Seoul is in South Korea. Pyongyang literally means Flat Land in Korean, one of Pyongyangs many historic names is Ryugyong, or capital of willows, as willow trees have always been numerous throughout the citys history, this served as an inspiration for many poems. Even today, the city has numerous trees, with many buildings. The most notable of these is the impressive Ryugyong Hotel, started in 1987, the citys other historic names include Kisong, Hwangsong, Rakrang, Sŏgyong, Sodo, Hogyong, Changan, and Heijō. During the early 20th century, Pyongyang came to be known among missionaries as being the Jerusalem of the East, due to its status as a stronghold of Christianity. In 1955, archaeologists excavated evidence of occupation in a large ancient village in the Pyongyang area, called Kŭmtan-ni. North Koreans associate Pyongyang with Asadal, or Wanggomsŏng, the first second millennium BC capital of the Gojoseon kingdom according to Korean history books, notably Samguk Yusa. Many South Korean historians deny this claim because other Chinese history books such as the Guanzi, Shanhaijing, Shiji, the connection between the two therefore may have been asserted by North Korea for the use of propaganda. Nevertheless, Pyongyang became a city under Gojoseon. Pyongyang was founded in 1122 BC on the site of the Tangun Dynastys capital and it is likely that the area of Pyongyang belonged to Wiman Joseon, the shortest-lasting part of Gojoseon if both Dangun and Gija Joseon were real, which fell in the Gojoseon–Han War in 108 BC. Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty ordered four commanderies be set up, with Lelang Commandery in the center, several archaeological findings from the later, Eastern Han period in the Pyongyang area seems to suggest that Han forces later launched brief incursions around these parts. The area around the city was called Nanglang during the early Three Kingdoms period, as the capital of Nanglang kingdom, Pyongyang remained an important commercial and cultural outpost after Lelang Commandery was destroyed by an expanding Goguryeo in 313. Goguryeo moved its capital there in 427, according to Christopher Beckwith, Pyongyang is the Sino-Korean reading of the name they gave it in their language, Piarna, or level land. In 668, Pyongyang became the capital of the Protectorate General to Pacify the East established by the Tang dynasty of China, however, by 676, it was taken by Silla, but left on the border between Silla and Balhae. This lasted until the time of the Goryeo dynasty, when the city was revived as Sŏgyŏng although it was never actually a capital of the kingdom and it was the provincial capital of the Pyeongan Province during the Joseon dynasty. During the Japanese invasions of Korea, Pyongyang was captured by the Japanese until the Japanese were defeated in the Siege of Pyongyang, later in the 17th century, it became temporarily occupied during Second Manchu invasion of Korea until peace arrangements were made between Korea and the Manchus. While the invasions made Koreans suspicious of foreigners, the influence of Christianity began to grow after the country opened itself up to foreigners in the 16th centuryPyongyang – Clockwise from top left: Pyongyang's Skyline; Juche Tower; Arch of Triumph; Tomb of King Dongmyeong; Puhŭng Station, Pyongyang Metro; Arch of Reunification; and Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
20. North Korea – North Korea, officially the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang is both the capital as well as its largest city. To the north and northwest the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok, the country is bordered to the south by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone separating the two. Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948 two separate governments were formed, the communist Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea in the north, an invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War. The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire, and no peace treaty was ever signed. North Korea officially describes itself as a self-reliant socialist state and formally holds elections, critics regard it as a totalitarian dictatorship. Various outlets have called it Stalinist, particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung, International organizations have assessed human rights violations in North Korea as belonging to a category of their own, with no parallel in the contemporary world. Over time, North Korea has gradually distanced itself from the world communist movement, Juche, an ideology of national self-reliance, was introduced into the constitution as a creative application of Marxism–Leninism in 1972. The means of production are owned by the state through state-run enterprises, most services such as healthcare, education, housing and food production are subsidized or state-funded. From 1994 to 1998, North Korea suffered from a famine that resulted in the deaths of between 0.24 and 3.5 million people, and the continues to struggle with food production. North Korea follows Songun, or military-first policy and it is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel, with a total of 9,495,000 active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel. Its active duty army of 1.21 million is the fourth largest in the world, after China, North Korea is an atheist state with no official religion and where public religion is discouraged. The name Korea derives from the name Goryeo, the name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a shortened form of its name. The 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, and thus inherited its name, the modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Companys Hendrick Hamel. After the division of the country into North and South Korea, the two sides used different terms to refer to Korea, Chosun or Joseon in North Korea, in 1948, North Korea adopted Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea as its new legal name. After the First Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Korea was occupied by Japan, Japan tried to suppress Korean traditions and culture and ran the economy primarily for its own benefit. Korean resistance groups known as Dongnipgun operated along the Sino-Korean border, some of them took part in allied action in China and parts of South East Asia. One of the leaders was the communist Kim Il-sung, who later became the leader of North KoreaNorth Korea – Jikji, the first known book printed with movable metal type in 1377. Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris
21. Seoul – The Seoul Capital Area houses up to half of the countrys population of 50.22 million people with 678,102 international residents. Situated on the Han River, Seouls history stretches back more than two years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty, the Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, in 2015, it was rated Asias most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis. In 2014, the citys GDP per capita of $39,786 was comparable to that of France and Finland. Ranked sixth in the Global Power City Index and Global Financial Centres Index, Seoul is the worlds most wired city and ranked first in technology readiness by PwCs Cities of Opportunity report. It is served by the KTX high-speed rail and the Seoul Subway, providing 4G LTE, WiFi, Seoul is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated the worlds best airport nine years in a row by Airports Council International. Lotte World Tower, a 556-metre supertall skyscraper with 123 floors, has built in Seoul and become the OECDs tallest in 2016. Its Lotte Cinema houses the worlds largest cinema screen, Seouls COEX Mall is the worlds largest underground shopping mall. Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games,1988 Summer Olympics,2002 FIFA World Cup, the Miss Universe 1980 pageant, a UNESCO City of Design, Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital. The city has known in the past by the names Wirye-seong, Hanju. During Japans annexation in Korea, Hanseong was renamed to Keijō by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja 漢, in reality, the ancient name of Seoul, Hanseong, originally had the meaning of big or vast. Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning city, which is believed to be derived from the word Seorabeol, which originally referred to Gyeongju. Unlike most place names in Korea, Seoul has no corresponding hanja, on January 18,2005, Seoul government officially changed its official Chinese language name to Shouer from the historic Hancheng, of which use is becoming less common. Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje in the northeastern Seoul area. There are several city walls remaining in the area date from this time. Pungnaptoseong, a wall just outside Seoul, is widely believed to have been at the main Wiryeseong site. As the Three Kingdoms competed for this region, control passed from Baekje to Goguryeo in the 5th centurySeoul – Sights in Seoul (clockwise from top): Gwanghwamun Gate at Gyeongbokgung Palace; statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin; statue at the War Memorial of Korea; food storage jars at Gyeonbokgung Palace; Jongmyo Shrine; Myeongdong Cathedral; statue of King Sejong the Great; and (center) N Seoul Tower.
22. South Korea – South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a sovereign state in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The earliest Korean pottery dates to 8000 BC, with three kingdoms flourishing in the 1st century BC and its rich and vibrant culture left 19 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity, the third largest in the world, along with 12 World Heritage Sites. Annexed into Imperial Japan in 1910, Korea was divided after its surrender in 1945, peace has since mostly continued with the two agreeing to work peacefully for reunification and the South solidifying peace as a regional power with the worlds 10th largest defence budget. South Koreas tiger economy soared at an average of 10% for over 30 years in a period of rapid transformation called the Miracle on the Han River. A long legacy of openness and focus on innovation made it successful, today, it is the worlds fifth largest exporter with the G20s largest budget surplus and highest credit rating of any country in East Asia. It has free trade agreements with 75% of the economy and is the only G20 nation trading freely with China, the US. Since 1988, its constitution guarantees a liberal democracy with high government transparency, high personal freedoms led to the rise of a globally influential pop culture such as K-pop and K-drama, a phenomenon called the Korean Wave, known for its distinctive fashionable and trendy style. Home of the UN Green Climate Fund and GGGI, South Korea is a leader in low carbon growth, committed to helping developing countries as a major DAC. It is the third least ignorant country in the Index of Ignorance, ranking eighth highest for peaceful tolerance. It is the worlds largest spender on R&D per GDP, leading the OECD in graduates in science, the name Korea derives from the name Goryeo. The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a form of its name. The 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, and thus inherited its name, the modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Companys Hendrick Hamel. After Goryeo was replaced by Joseon in 1392, Joseon became the name for the entire territory. The new official name has its origin in the ancient country of Gojoseon, in 1897, the Joseon dynasty changed the official name of the country from Joseon to Daehan Jeguk. The name Daehan, which means great Han literally, derives from Samhan, however, the name Joseon was still widely used by Koreans to refer to their country, though it was no longer the official name. Under Japanese rule, the two names Han and Joseon coexisted, there were several groups who fought for independence, the most notable being the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. Following the surrender of Japan, in 1945, the Republic of Korea was adopted as the name for the new country. Since the government only controlled the part of the Korean PeninsulaSouth Korea – Flag
23. Taipei – Taipei, officially known as Taipei City, is the capital city and a special municipality of the Republic of China. Sitting at the tip of the island, Taipei City is an enclave of the municipality of New Taipei City. It is about 25 km southwest of the port city Keelung. Since 1949, Taipei has been the capital of the ROC after losing the mainland to the Communists in the Chinese Civil War, the name Taipei can refer either to the whole metropolitan area or the city proper. Taipei is the political, economic, educational, and cultural center of Taiwan, considered to be a global city, Taipei is part of a major high-tech industrial area. Railways, high-speed rail, highways, airports, and bus lines connect Taipei with all parts of the island, the city is served by two airports – Taipei Songshan and Taiwan Taoyuan. Its natural features such as Maokong, Yangmingshan, and hot springs are also known to international visitors. As the capital city, Taipei is sometimes used as a synecdoche for Taiwan, prior to the significant influx of Han Chinese immigrants, the region of Taipei Basin was mainly inhabited by the Ketagalan plains aborigines. The number of Han immigrants gradually increased in the early 18th century under Qing Dynasty rule after the government began permitting development in the area, in 1875, the northern part of the island was incorporated into the new Taipeh Prefecture. The Qing dynasty of China made Taipeh the temporary capital of Fujian-Taiwan Province in 1886 when Taiwan was separated from Fujian Province, Taipeh was formally made the provincial capital in 1894. Japan acquired Taiwan in 1895 under the Treaty of Shimonoseki after the First Sino-Japanese War, Taiwan became a colony of Imperial Japan with Taihoku as its capital, in which the city was administered under Taihoku Prefecture. Taiwans Japanese rulers embarked on a program of advanced urban planning that featured extensive railroad links. A number of Taipei landmarks and cultural institutions date from this period, following the Japanese surrender of 1945, control of Taiwan was handed to the Republic of China. In 1990 Taipei provided the backdrop for the Wild Lily student rallies that moved Taiwanese society from one-party rule to multi-party democracy, the city is today home to Taiwans democratically elected national government. The region known as the Taipei Basin was home to Ketagalan tribes before the eighteenth century, Han Chinese mainly from Fujian Province of Qing dynasty China began to settle in the Taipei Basin in 1709. In 1875, the part of Taiwan was separated from Taiwan Prefecture. From 1875 until the beginning of Japanese rule in 1895, Taipei was part of Tamsui County of Taipeh Prefecture, in 1885, work commenced to create an independent Taiwan Province, and Taipei City was temporarily made the provincial capital. Taipei officially became the capital of Taiwan in 1894, all that remains from the Qing era is the north gateTaipei – Clockwise from top: Taipei skyline, Grand Hotel, Far Eastern Plaza, National Palace Museum, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Jiantan Station
24. Taiwan – Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a state in East Asia. Neighbours include China to the west, Japan to the northeast, Taiwan is the most populous state that is not a member of the United Nations, and the one with the largest economy. The island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa, was inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines before the 17th century. After a brief rule by the Kingdom of Tungning, the island was annexed by the Qing dynasty, the Qing ceded Taiwan to Japan in 1895 after the Sino-Japanese War. While Taiwan was under Japanese rule, the Republic of China was established on the mainland in 1912 after the fall of the Qing dynasty, following the Japanese surrender to the Allies in 1945, the ROC took control of Taiwan. However, the resumption of the Chinese Civil War led to the ROCs loss of the mainland to the Communists, and the flight of the ROC government to Taiwan in 1949. As a founding member of the United Nations, the ROC continued to represent China at the United Nations until 1971, in the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialization, creating a stable industrial economy. In the 1980s and early 1990s, it changed from a one-party military dictatorship dominated by the Kuomintang to a multi-party democracy with universal suffrage, Taiwan is the 22nd-largest economy in the world, and its high-tech industry plays a key role in the global economy. It is ranked highly in terms of freedom of the press, health care, public education, economic freedom, the PRC has consistently claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and asserted the ROC is no longer in legitimate existence. Under its One-China Policy the PRC refused diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes the ROC, the PRC has threatened the use of military force in response to any formal declaration of independence by Taiwan or if PRC leaders decide that peaceful unification is no longer possible. There are various names for the island of Taiwan in use today, the former name Formosa dates from 1542, when Portuguese sailors sighted the main island of Taiwan and named it Ilha Formosa, which means beautiful island. The name Formosa eventually replaced all others in European literature and was in use in English in the early 20th century. This name was adopted into the Chinese vernacular as the name of the sandbar. The modern word Taiwan is derived from this usage, which is seen in forms in Chinese historical records. Use of the current Chinese name was formalized as early as 1684 with the establishment of Taiwan Prefecture, through its rapid development, the entire Formosan mainland eventually became known as Taiwan. The official name of the state is the Republic of China and it was a member of the United Nations representing China until 1971, when it lost its seat to the Peoples Republic of China. Over subsequent decades, the Republic of China has become known as Taiwan. In some contexts, especially ones from the ROC governmentTaiwan – A young Tsou man
25. Tokyo – Tokyo, officially Tokyo Metropolis, is the capital of Japan and one of its 47 prefectures. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous area in the world. It is the seat of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese government, Tokyo is in the Kantō region on the southeastern side of the main island Honshu and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Formerly known as Edo, it has been the de facto seat of government since 1603 when Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu made the city his headquarters. It officially became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from the old capital of Kyoto in 1868, Tokyo Metropolis was formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo. The Tokyo metropolitan government administers the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo, the metropolitan government also administers 39 municipalities in the western part of the prefecture and the two outlying island chains. The population of the wards is over 9 million people. The prefecture is part of the worlds most populous metropolitan area with upwards of 37.8 million people, the city hosts 51 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the highest number of any city in the world. Tokyo ranked third in the International Financial Centres Development IndexEdit, the city is also home to various television networks such as Fuji TV, Tokyo MX, TV Tokyo, TV Asahi, Nippon Television, NHK and the Tokyo Broadcasting System. Tokyo ranked first in the Global Economic Power Index and fourth in the Global Cities Index. The city is considered a world city – as listed by the GaWCs 2008 inventory – and in 2014. In 2015, Tokyo was named the Most Liveable City in the world by the magazine Monocle, the Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world. Tokyo ranked first in the world in the Safe Cities Index, the 2016 edition of QS Best Student Cities ranked Tokyo as the 3rd-best city in the world to be a university student. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, the 1979 G-7 summit, the 1986 G-7 summit, and the 1993 G-7 summit, and will host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tokyo was originally known as Edo, which means estuary. During the early Meiji period, the city was also called Tōkei, some surviving official English documents use the spelling Tokei. However, this pronunciation is now obsolete, the name Tokyo was first suggested in 1813 in the book Kondō Hisaku, written by Satō Nobuhiro. When Ōkubo Toshimichi proposed the renaming to the government during the Meiji Restoration, according to Oda Kanshi, Tokyo was originally a small fishing village named Edo, in what was formerly part of the old Musashi Province. Edo was first fortified by the Edo clan, in the twelfth centuryTokyo – Clockwise from top: Nishi-Shinjuku, Rainbow Bridge, National Diet Building, Shibuya, Tokyo Skytree
26. Japan – Japan is a sovereign island nation in Eastern Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asia Mainland and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea, the kanji that make up Japans name mean sun origin. 日 can be read as ni and means sun while 本 can be read as hon, or pon, Japan is often referred to by the famous epithet Land of the Rising Sun in reference to its Japanese name. Japan is an archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, the country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions. Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one, the population of 127 million is the worlds tenth largest. Japanese people make up 98. 5% of Japans total population, approximately 9.1 million people live in the city of Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Archaeological research indicates that Japan was inhabited as early as the Upper Paleolithic period, the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD. Influence from other regions, mainly China, followed by periods of isolation, from the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shoguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a period of isolation in the early 17th century. The Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan is a member of the UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the country has the worlds third-largest economy by nominal GDP and the worlds fourth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the worlds fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer, although Japan has officially renounced its right to declare war, it maintains a modern military with the worlds eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a country with a very high standard of living. Its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and the third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, in ancient China, Japan was called Wo 倭. It was mentioned in the third century Chinese historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms in the section for the Wei kingdom, Wa became disliked because it has the connotation of the character 矮, meaning dwarf. The 倭 kanji has been replaced with the homophone Wa, meaning harmony, the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, which is pronounced Nippon or Nihon and literally means the origin of the sun. The earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, at the start of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan introduced their country as NihonJapan – The Golden Hall and five-storey pagoda of Hōryū-ji, among the oldest wooden buildings in the world, National Treasures, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
27. Ulaanbaatar – Ulaanbaatar, formerly anglicised as Ulan Bator /ˌuːlɑːn ˈbɑːtər/ is Mongolias capital and largest city. A municipality, the city is not part of any aimag, located in north central Mongolia, the municipality lies at an elevation of about 1,310 meters in a valley on the Tuul River. It is the cultural, industrial and financial heart, the centre of Mongolias road network. The city was founded in 1639 as a nomadic Buddhist monastic center, in 1778, it settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers. Before that, it changed location twenty-eight times, with each location being chosen ceremonially, in the twentieth century, Ulaanbaatar grew into a major manufacturing center. Ulaanbaatar has been given names in its history. Before 1911, the name was Ikh Khüree or Daa Khüree. The Chinese equivalent, Dà kùlún, was rendered into Western languages as Kulun or Kuren, upon independence in 1911, with both the secular government and the Bogd Khans palace present, the citys name changed to Niĭslel Khüree. It is called Bogdiin Khuree in the folk song Praise of Bogdiin Khuree, in western languages, the city at that time was most often referred to as Urga. When the city became the capital of the new Mongolian Peoples Republic in 1924, on the session of the 1st Great Peoples Khuraldaan of Mongolia in 1924, a majority of delegates expressed their wish to change the capital citys name to Baatar Khot. However, under the pressure of the Soviet activist of Communist International, Turar Ryskulov, in Europe and North America, Ulaanbaatar continued to be generally known as Urga or Khure until 1924, and Ulan Bator afterwards. The Russian spelling is the Russian phonetic equivalent of the Mongolian name and this form was defined two decades before the Mongolian name got its current Cyrillic script spelling and Ulaanbaatar transliteration. These Upper Paleolithic people hunted mammoth and wooly rhinoceros, the bones of which are found abundantly around Ulaanbaatar, a number of Xiongnu era royal tombs have been discovered around Ulaanbaatar, including the tombs of Belkh Gorge near Dambadarjaalin monastery and tombs of Songinokhairkhan. Located on the banks of the Tuul River, Ulaanbaatar has been well within the sphere of Turco-Mongol nomadic empires throughout history, the palace is said to be where Genghis Khan stayed with Yesui Khatun before attacking the Tangut in 1226. In 1651 Zanabazar returned to Mongolia from Tibet and founded seven aimags in Urga, as a mobile monastery-town, it was often moved to various places along the Selenge, Orkhon and Tuul rivers, as supply and other needs would demand. During the Dzungar wars of the late 17th century, it was moved to Inner Mongolia. As the city grew, it moved less and less and they have several thousand tents about them, which are removed from time to time. The Urga is much frequented by merchants from China and Russia, by Zanabazars death in 1723, Urga was the Mongolias preeminent monastery in terms of religious authorityUlaanbaatar – Ulaanbaatar City
28. Mongolia – Mongolia /mɒŋˈɡoʊliə/ is a landlocked unitary sovereign state in East Asia. Its area is equivalent with the historical territory of Outer Mongolia. It is sandwiched between China to the south and Russia to the north, while it does not share a border with Kazakhstan, Mongolia is separated from it by only 36.76 kilometers. At 1,564,116 square kilometers, Mongolia is the 18th largest and it is also the worlds second-largest landlocked country behind Kazakhstan and the largest landlocked country that does not border a closed sea. The country contains very little land, as much of its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west. Ulaanbaatar, the capital and largest city, is home to about 45% of the countrys population, approximately 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic, horse culture is still integral. The majority of its population are Buddhists, the non-religious population is the second largest group. Islam is the dominant religion among ethnic Kazakhs, the majority of the states citizens are of Mongol ethnicity, although Kazakhs, Tuvans, and other minorities also live in the country, especially in the west. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization in 1997 and seeks to expand its participation in regional economic, the area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran, the Turkic Khaganate, and others. In 1206, Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history. His grandson Kublai Khan conquered China to establish the Yuan dynasty, after the collapse of the Yuan, the Mongols retreated to Mongolia and resumed their earlier pattern of factional conflict, except during the era of Dayan Khan and Tumen Zasagt Khan. In the 16th century, Tibetan Buddhism began to spread in Mongolia, being led by the Manchu-founded Qing dynasty. By the early 1900s, almost one-third of the male population were Buddhist monks. After the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, Mongolia declared independence from the Qing dynasty, shortly thereafter, the country came under the control of the Soviet Union, which had aided its independence from China. In 1924, the Mongolian Peoples Republic was declared as a Soviet satellite state, after the anti-Communist revolutions of 1989, Mongolia conducted its own peaceful democratic revolution in early 1990. This led to a multi-party system, a new constitution of 1992, homo erectus inhabited Mongolia from 850,000 years ago. Modern humans reached Mongolia approximately 40,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic, the Khoit Tsenkher Cave in Khovd Province shows lively pink, brown, and red ochre paintings of mammoths, lynx, bactrian camels, and ostriches, earning it the nickname the Lascaux of Mongolia. The venus figurines of Malta testify to the level of Upper Paleolithic art in northern Mongolia, the wheeled vehicles found in the burials of the Afanasevans have been dated to before 2200 BCMongolia – Deer stones in Mongolia
29. Kabul – Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan as well as its largest city, located in the eastern section of the country. According to a 2015 estimate, the population of the city was around 3,678,033 which includes all the ethnic groups. Rapid urbanization had made Kabul the worlds 64th largest city and the fifth fastest-growing city in the world, Kabul is said to be over 3,500 years old, mentioned since at least the time of the Achaemenid Empire. The city is at a location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia. It has been part of the Achaemenids, Seleucids, Mauryans, Kushans, Kabul Shahis, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Later, it was controlled by the Mughal Empire until finally becoming part of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The city is located high up in a valley between the Hindu Kush mountains. Kabul became the capital of Afghanistan during the reign of Timur Shah Durrani, in the early 19th century, the British occupied the city but were compelled to abandon it. Relations between Afghanistan and Great Britain were later established, the city was occupied by the Soviets in 1979 but they too abandoned it after the 1988 Geneva Accords were signed. A civil war in the 1990s between various rebel groups destroyed much of the city, resulting in many casualties, since the removal of the Taliban from power in late 2001, the city gradually began rebuilding itself with assistance by the international community. Despite the many terrorist attacks by elements, the city is growing and developing. The city is divided into about 18 districts, the Kabul International Airport is located in the Wazir Akbar Khan district a few miles from the foreign embassies. The Parliament of Afghanistan, built by India, is located in the Kārte Seh district, Kabul, also spelled Cabool, Caubul, Kabol, or Cabul. The word Kubhā is mentioned in the Rigveda, one of the four sacred texts of Hinduism, and the Avesta. The Rigveda praises it as a city, a vision of paradise set in the mountains. The area in which the Kabul valley sits was ruled by the Medes before falling to the Achaemenids, there is a reference to a settlement called Kabura by the rulers of the Achaemenid Empire, It became a center of Zoroastrianism followed by Buddhism and Hinduism. The region became part of the Seleucid Empire but was given to the Indian Maurya Empire. The Greco-Bactrians captured Kabul from the Mauryans in the early 2nd century BC, indo-Scythians expelled the Indo-Greeks by the mid 1st century BC, but lost the city to the Kushan Empire about 100 years later. Some historians ascribe Kabul the Sanskrit name of Kamboja and it is mentioned as Kophes or Kophene in some classical writingsKabul
30. Afghanistan – Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located within South Asia and Central Asia. It has a population of approximately 32 million, making it the 42nd most populous country in the world. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north and its territory covers 652,000 km2, making it the 41st largest country in the world. The land also served as the source from which the Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Khiljis, Mughals, Hotaks, Durranis, the political history of the modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a state in the Great Game between British India and the Russian Empire. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, King Amanullah unsuccessfully attempted to modernize the country and it remained peaceful during Zahir Shahs forty years of monarchy. A series of coups in the 1970s was followed by a series of wars that devastated much of Afghanistan. The name Afghānistān is believed to be as old as the ethnonym Afghan, the root name Afghan was used historically in reference to a member of the ethnic Pashtuns, and the suffix -stan means place of in Persian. Therefore, Afghanistan translates to land of the Afghans or, more specifically in a historical sense, however, the modern Constitution of Afghanistan states that he word Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan. An important site of historical activities, many believe that Afghanistan compares to Egypt in terms of the historical value of its archaeological sites. The country sits at a unique nexus point where numerous civilizations have interacted and it has been home to various peoples through the ages, among them the ancient Iranian peoples who established the dominant role of Indo-Iranian languages in the region. At multiple points, the land has been incorporated within large regional empires, among them the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, and the Islamic Empire. Archaeological exploration done in the 20th century suggests that the area of Afghanistan has been closely connected by culture and trade with its neighbors to the east, west. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, urban civilization is believed to have begun as early as 3000 BCE, and the early city of Mundigak may have been a colony of the nearby Indus Valley Civilization. More recent findings established that the Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up towards modern-day Afghanistan, making the ancient civilisation today part of Pakistan, Afghanistan, in more detail, it extended from what today is northwest Pakistan to northwest India and northeast Afghanistan. An Indus Valley site has found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan. There are several smaller IVC colonies to be found in Afghanistan as well, after 2000 BCE, successive waves of semi-nomadic people from Central Asia began moving south into Afghanistan, among them were many Indo-European-speaking Indo-Iranians. These tribes later migrated further into South Asia, Western Asia, the region at the time was referred to as ArianaAfghanistan – History of Afghanistan
31. Dhaka – Dhaka is the capital and largest city of Bangladesh. It is one of the worlds most populated cities, with a population of 17 million people in the Greater Dhaka Area and it is also the 3rd most densely populated city in the world. Located in a district and division, it lies along the east bank of the Buriganga River in the heart of the Bengal delta. The city is a microcosm of the country, with diverse religious. Dhaka is the economic, cultural and political center of Bangladesh and its name was romanized as Dacca until the current spelling was adopted in 1983. It is the largest city in the Bengal region and it is also a major city of South Asia and among the OIC states. The old city of Dhaka was the Mughal capital of Bengal, the citys name was Jahangir Nagar in the 17th century. It was a commercial center and the hub of the worldwide muslin. The city hosted two important caravansaries of the subcontinent, the Bara Katra and Choto Katra, located on the riverfront of the Buriganga, the Mughals decorated the city with well-laid out gardens, tombs, mosques, palaces and forts. Dhaka became known as the City of Mosques in Bengal and it was also described as the Venice of the East. The old city was home to various Eurasian merchant groups, at the height of its medieval glory, Dhaka was regarded as one of the wealthiest and most prosperous cities in the world. It was central to the economy of Mughal Bengal, which generated 50% of Mughal GDP, modern Dhaka developed from the late 20th century under the administration of East Pakistan. Between 1905 and 1912, it was the capital of British Eastern Bengal, in 1947, after the region became known as Pakistan, it became the administrative capital of the eastern wing of Pakistan. It was declared as the capital of Pakistan in 1962. In 1971, it became the capital of an independent Bangladesh, the city has endured periods of famine, war and natural calamities. It continues to confront challenges faced by growing metropolises in developing countries, including poverty, Dhaka is home to thousands of Bangladeshi businesses and the offices of many international corporations. The Dhaka Stock Exchange is one of the largest in South Asia in terms of trading volume and it hosts several major arts festivals, including the annual Ekushey Book Fair, the Dhaka Literature Festival and the biannual Dhaka Art Summit. The city has the largest number of cycle rickshaws and is known as the Rickshaw Capital of the World, Dhakas highly popular cuisine features distinctive biryanis, kebabs and bakarkhanis as a legacy of its rule by the Mughals and the Nawabs of DhakaDhaka – 1. National Parliament 2. Motijheel financial district 3. Rose Garden 4. Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque 5. Ramna 6. Supreme Court of Bangladesh 7. RAJUK Bhaban 8. Dhaka City Center
32. Bangladesh – Bangladesh, officially the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It shares land borders with India and Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and China are located near Bangladesh but do not share a border with it. The countrys maritime territory in the Bay of Bengal is roughly equal to the size of its land area, Bangladesh is the worlds eighth most populous country. Dhaka is its capital and largest city, followed by Chittagong which has the countrys largest port, Bangladesh forms the largest and eastern part of the Bengal region. Bangladeshis include people of different ethnic groups and religions, Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali, make up 98% of the population. The politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the worlds third largest Muslim-majority country, most of Bangladesh is covered by the Bengal delta, the largest delta on Earth. The country has 700 rivers and 8,046 km of inland waterways, highlands with evergreen forests are found in the northeastern and southeastern regions of the country. Bangladesh has many islands and a coral reef and it is home to the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world. The countrys biodiversity includes a vast array of plant and wildlife, including critically endangered Bengal tigers, the Greeks and Romans identified the region as Gangaridai, a powerful kingdom of the historical subcontinent, in the 3rd century BCE. Archaeological research has unearthed several ancient cities in Bangladesh, which had trade links for millennia. The Bengal Sultanate and Mughal Bengal transformed the region into a cosmopolitan Islamic imperial power between the 14th and 18th centuries, the region was home to many principalities which had inland naval prowess. It was also a center of the worldwide muslin and silk trade. As part of British India, the region was influenced by the Bengali renaissance, the Partition of British India made East Bengal a part of the Dominion of Pakistan, and was renamed as East Pakistan. The region witnessed the Bengali Language Movement in 1952 and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, after independence, a parliamentary republic was established. A presidential government was in place between 1975 and 1990, followed by a return to parliamentary democracy, the country has also been affected by poverty, natural disasters, hunger, dominant party systems and military coups. Bangladesh is a power and a major developing nation. Listed as one of the Next Eleven, it has the 46th largest economy and it is one of the largest textile exporters in the world. Its major trading partners are the European Union, the United States, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, with its strategically vital location between Southern, Eastern and Southeast Asia, Bangladesh is an important promoter of regional connectivity and cooperationBangladesh – Mahasthangarh is the oldest archaeological site in Bangladesh. It dates back to 700 BCE and was the ancient capital of the Pundra Kingdom
33. Diego Garcia – Diego Garcia is an atoll just south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean, and the largest of 60 small islands comprising the Chagos Archipelago. It was settled by the French in the 1790s and was transferred to British rule after the Napoleonic Wars and it was one of the Dependencies of the British Colony of Mauritius until it was detached for inclusion in the newly created British Indian Ocean Territory in 1965. Between 1968 and 1973, the population was removed by the United Kingdom through intimidation of locals. Many were deported to Mauritius and Seychelles, following which the United States built a naval and military base on Diego Garcia. As of March 2015, Diego Garcia is the inhabited island of the BIOT. The atoll is located 3,535 km east of Tanzanias coast,1,796 km south-southwest of the tip of India and 4,723 km west-northwest of the west coast of Australia. According to Southern Maldivian oral tradition, traders and fishermen were occasionally lost at sea, eventually, they were rescued and brought back home. However, the different atolls of the Chagos have no names in the Maldivian oral tradition. Nothing is known of pre-European contact history of Diego Garcia, speculations include visits during the Austronesian diaspora around 700 AD, as some say the old Maldivian name for the islands originated from Malagasy. Arabs, who reached Lakshadweep and Maldives around 900 AD, may have visited the Chagos, another Portuguese expedition with a Spanish explorer of Andalusian origin, Diego García de Moguer, rediscovered the island in 1544 and named it after himself. Garcia de Moguer died the year on the return trip to Portugal in the Indian Ocean. The misnomer Diego could have been made unwittingly by the British ever since and it is assumed that the island was named after one of its first two discoverers—the one by the name of Garcia, the other with name Diego. Also, a cacography of the saying Deo Gracias is eligible for the attribution of the atoll, the Sebastian Cabot map shows a number of islands to the south which may be the Mascarene Islands. The first map which identifies and names Los Chagos is that of Pierre Desceliers, an island called Don Garcia appears on the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of Abraham Ortelius, together with Dos Compagnos, slightly to the north. It may be the case that Don Garcia was named after Garcia de Noronha, the island is also labelled Don Garcia on Mercators Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio ad Usum Navigatium Emendate. However, on the Vera Totius Expeditionis Nauticae Description of Jodocus Hondius, Don Garcia mysteriously changes its name to I. de Dio Gratia, while the I. de Chagues appears close by. The first map to delineate the island under its present name, Diego Garcia, is the World Map of Edward Wright, possibly as a result of misreading Dio as Diego, and Gratia as Garcia. The Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica of Hendrik Hondius II repeats Wrights use of the name, which is then proliferated on all subsequent Dutch maps of the period, Diego Garcia and the rest of the Chagos islands were uninhabited until the late 18th centuryDiego Garcia – Aerial photograph of Diego Garcia
34. British Indian Ocean Territory – The British Indian Ocean Territory is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom situated in the Indian Ocean halfway between Tanzania and Indonesia. The territory comprises the seven atolls of the Chagos Archipelago with over 1,000 individual islands – many very small – amounting to a land area of 60 square kilometres. The largest and most southerly island is Diego Garcia,44 km2, the site of a joint military facility of the United Kingdom, the islands are off-limits to casual tourists, the media, and their former inhabitants. Mauritius sought to control over the Chagos Archipelago, which was split from its territory by the UK in 1965 to form the British Indian Ocean Territory. Today, the exiled Chagossians are still trying to return, claiming that the expulsion and dispossession was illegal. The British Indian Ocean Territory is one of only two British territories where traffic drives on the right, the other being Gibraltar, Maldivian mariners knew the Chagos Islands well. In Maldivian lore, they are known as Fōlhavahi or Hollhavai, according to Southern Maldivian oral tradition, traders and fishermen were occasionally lost at sea and got stranded on one of the islands of the Chagos. Eventually they were rescued and brought back home, however, these islands were judged to be too far away from the Maldives to be settled permanently by them. Thus, for centuries the Chagos were ignored by their northern neighbours. The islands of Chagos Archipelago were charted by Vasco da Gama in the sixteenth century. They were first settled in the 18th century by African slaves, in 1810, Mauritius was captured by the United Kingdom, and France ceded the territory in the Treaty of Paris. In 1965, the United Kingdom split the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius, the purpose was to allow the construction of military facilities for the mutual benefit of the United Kingdom and the United States. The islands were established as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom on 8 November 1965. On 23 June 1976, Aldabra, Farquhar and Desroches were returned to Seychelles as a result of its attaining independence, subsequently, BIOT has consisted only of the six main island groups comprising the Chagos Archipelago. In 1990, the first BIOT flag was unfurled, in 1966, the British government purchased the privately owned copra plantations and closed them. In 1971, the United Kingdom and the United States signed a treaty, leasing the island of Diego Garcia to the US military for the purposes of building a large air and naval base on the island. The deal was important to the UK government, as the United States granted it a substantial discount on the purchase of Polaris nuclear missiles in return for the use of the islands as a base. The strategic location of the island was significant at the centre of the Indian OceanBritish Indian Ocean Territory – British diplomatic cable signed by D.A. Greenhill, 1966, relating to the depopulation of the Chagos Archipelago stating "Unfortunately along with the birds go some few Tarzans or Men Fridays."
35. United Kingdom – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country in western Europe. Lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland, the United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland, with an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world and the 11th-largest in Europe. It is also the 21st-most populous country, with an estimated 65.1 million inhabitants, together, this makes it the fourth-most densely populated country in the European Union. The United Kingdom is a monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 6 February 1952, other major urban areas in the United Kingdom include the regions of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. The United Kingdom consists of four countries—England, Scotland, Wales, the last three have devolved administrations, each with varying powers, based in their capitals, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, respectively. The relationships among the countries of the UK have changed over time, Wales was annexed by the Kingdom of England under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. A treaty between England and Scotland resulted in 1707 in a unified Kingdom of Great Britain, which merged in 1801 with the Kingdom of Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, there are fourteen British Overseas Territories. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, British influence can be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies. The United Kingdom is a country and has the worlds fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. The UK is considered to have an economy and is categorised as very high in the Human Development Index. It was the worlds first industrialised country and the worlds foremost power during the 19th, the UK remains a great power with considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It is a nuclear weapons state and its military expenditure ranks fourth or fifth in the world. The UK has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946 and it has been a leading member state of the EU and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. However, on 23 June 2016, a referendum on the UKs membership of the EU resulted in a decision to leave. The Acts of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have devolved self-governmentUnited Kingdom – Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, was erected around 2500 BC.
36. Islamabad – Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan located within the federal Islamabad Capital Territory. The city is the seat of Pakistan and is administered by the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation. Islamabad is located in the Pothohar Plateau in the part of the country. The region has historically been a part of the crossroads of Punjab, Islamabad was built during the 1960s to replace Karachi as Pakistans capital. The city is known for the presence of several parks and forests, including the Margalla Hills National Park, the city is home several landmarks, including the Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in South Asia and the fourth largest in the world. Other landmarks include the Pakistans National Monument and Democracy Square, Islamabad is a gamma+ world city, it is categorised as very high on the Human Development Index, the highest in the country. The city has the highest cost of living in Pakistan, and its population is dominated by middle, the city is home to sixteen universities, including the Quaid-e-Azam University and NUST. The city is one of the safest in Pakistan, and has a surveillance system with 1,900 CCTV cameras. The name of the city, Islamabad is derived from two words, Islam and abad, meaning City of Islam, Islam is an Arabic word which refers to the religion of Islam and -abad is a Persian place name that means inhabited place or city. Islamabad Capital Territory, located on the Pothohar Plateau of the Punjab region, is considered one of the earliest sites of settlement in Asia. Some of the earliest Stone Age artefacts in the world have found on the plateau. Rudimentary stones recovered from the terraces of the Soan River testify to the endeavours of early man in the inter-glacial period, items of pottery and utensils dating back to prehistory have been found. Excavations have revealed evidence of a prehistoric culture, one end of the Indus Valley Civilization flourished here between the 23rd and 18th centuries BC. Later the area was a settlement of the Aryan community. A Buddhist town once existed in the region, many great armies such as those of Zahiruddin Babur, Genghis Khan, Timur and Ahmad Shah Durrani used the corridor through Islamabad on their way to invade the rest of the Indian Subcontinent. Modern Islamabad is based on the old settlement known as Saidpur, the British took control of the region from the Sikhs in 1849 and built South Asias largest cantonment in the region. When Pakistan gained independence in 1947, the port city of Karachi was its first national capital. In the 1960s, Islamabad was constructed as a capital for several reasonsIslamabad – From top, left to right: Faisal Mosque, Serena Hotel, Prime Minister's Secretariat, Parliament House, Faisal Mosque, and Pakistan Monument
37. Kathmandu – Kathmandu is the capital city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the largest Himalayan state in Asia. Kathmandu is also the largest metropolis in the Himalayan hill region, the city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. The valley is termed as Nepal Proper and has been the home of Newar culture. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Nepal and hosts palaces. It has been home to the headquarters of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation since 1985, today, it is the seat of government of the Nepalese republic established in 2008, and is part of the Bagmati Zone in Nepalese administrative geography. Kathmandu has been the center of Nepals history, art, culture and it has a multiethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority. Religious and cultural festivities form a part of the lives of people residing in Kathmandu. Tourism is an important part of the economy as the city is the gateway to the Nepalese Himalayas, there are also seven casinos in the city. In 2013, Kathmandu was ranked third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor, historic areas of Kathmandu were devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April 2015. Nepali is the most spoken language in the city, while English is understood by the citys educated residents, the city of Kathmandu is named after Kasthamandap temple, that stood in Durbar Square. In Sanskrit, Kāṣṭha means wood and Maṇḍap means covered shelter and this temple, also known as Maru Satal in the Newar language, was built in 1596 by Biseth in the period of King Laxmi Narsingh Malla. The two-story structure was entirely of wood, and used no iron nails nor supports. According to legend, all the used to build the pagoda was obtained from a single tree. The structure collapsed during the earthquake on 25 April 2015. The colophons of ancient manuscripts, dated as late as the 20th century, the city is called Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap in a vow that Buddhist priests still recite to this day. Thus, Kathmandu is also known as Kāṣṭhamaṇḍap, during medieval times, the city was sometimes called Kāntipur. This name is derived from two Sanskrit words – Kānti and pur, Kānti is a word that stands for beauty and is mostly associated with light and pur means place. Thus, giving it a meaning as City of light, among the indigenous Newar people, Kathmandu is known as Yeṃ Deśa, and Patan and Bhaktapur are known as Yala Deśa and Khwopa DeśaKathmandu – Clockwise from top: Torans seen in portals around Kathmandu, Degutaleju with Taleju in background at Kathmandu Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Bagmati river, Budhanilkantha, Singha Durbar, Swayambhunath temple at night, Pashupatinath temple
38. Nepal – Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked central Himalayan country in South Asia. Nepal is divided into 7 provinces and 75 districts and 744 local units including 4 metropolises,13 sub-metropolises,246 municipal councils and 481 village and it has a population of 26.4 million and is the 93rd largest country by area. Bordering China in the north and India in the south, east, Nepal does not border Bangladesh, which is located within only 27 km of its southeastern tip. It neither borders Bhutan due to the Indian state of Sikkim being located in between, Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the worlds ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the capital and largest city. It is a nation with Nepali as the official language. The territory of Nepal has a history since the Neolithic age. The name Nepal is first recorded in texts from the Vedic Age, the era which founded Hinduism, in the middle of the first millennium BCE, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in southern Nepal. Parts of northern Nepal were intertwined with the culture of Tibet, the Kathmandu Valley in central Nepal became known as Nepal proper because of its complex urban civilization. It was the seat of the prosperous Newar confederacy known as Nepal Mandala, the Himalayan branch of the ancient Silk Road was dominated by the valleys traders. The cosmopolitan region developed distinct traditional art and architecture, by the 18th century, the Gorkha Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal. The Shah dynasty established the Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the British Empire, the country was never colonized but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and Colonial India. In the 20th century, Nepal ended its isolation and forged ties with regional powers. Parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1951, but was suspended by Nepalese monarchs in 1960 and 2005. The Nepalese Civil War resulted in the proclamation of a republic in 2008, modern Nepal is a federal secular parliamentary republic. Nepal is a nation, ranking 144th on the Human Development Index in 2016. The country struggles with the transition from a monarchy to a republic and it also suffers from high levels of hunger and poverty. Despite these challenges, Nepal is making progress, with the government declaring its commitment to elevate the nation from least developed country status by 2022Nepal – Lumbini, listed as the birthplace of Gautama Buddha by the UNESCO World Heritage Convention
39. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte – Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte or Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte is the official capital of Sri Lanka. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is within the area of, and a satellite city of. The village of Darugama lay at the confluence of two streams, the Diyawanna Oya and the Kolonnawa Oya, as Darugama was a naturally secure place, it was not easy for enemies to enter it. Here, in the 13th century, a chieftain named Nissanka Alagakkonara built a fortress called Kotte, Alagakkonara is mentioned by Ibn Batuta as ruling in Kurunegala, but other sources indicate that he was the Bandara of Raigama Korale in the modern Kalutara District. Arya Chakravarthys army was held by Alagakkonara in front of Kotte, Kotte was a jala durgha, in the shape of a triangle, with the Diyawanna Oya and Kolonnawa Oya marshes forming two long sides, along the shorter third side a large moat was dug. The fortress was nearly 2.5 km² in area, fortified with ramparts of kabook or laterite rock,2.5 m high and 10.7 m in breadth. In 1391, following the conquest of the Jaffna Kingdom by Prince Sapumal and it became the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kotte, which it remained until the end of the 16th century. From the ramparts to the magnificent three storied buildings that housed the Kings Palace, Laterite and clay were the raw material used in its construction. One of the places from which the blocks were mined. The main features of the city were - The Kings palace, with walls of quartz that sparkle in the moonlight. The three-storeyed Dalada Maligawa with Buddhas sacred tooth relic in it The five-storeyed Arama where sixty Buddhist Bhikkus resided, the Kings Treasure House The Kotavehara at Baddagana, the only Buddhist temple of the city outside the moat and rampart. The Royal cemetery at Beddagana The Angampitiya, the military parade, the Portuguese arrived on the island in 1505 and were initially welcomed by the king. But they had militaristic and monopolistic intentions and gained control of the city by 1565, failing to withstand repeated assaults by the forces of the neighbouring kingdom of Sitawaka, the city was abandoned by the Portuguese, who made Colombo their new capital. Like similar cities of that era, Sri Jayawardhanapura was built with security in mind, a rampart and moat protected the entire city. Traces of this moat and rampart are visible today at certain places. Along parts of the rampart, encroachers have now built houses, garages, the urbanisation of Kotte restarted in the 19th century. The archaeological remains were torn up and used as building materials — some of it ending up in the Victoria Bridge. The New Parliament was inaugurated on 29 April 1982, the buildings were built on reclaimed land, after a massive lake was formed by dredging the marshlands around the Diyawanna OyaSri Jayawardenepura Kotte – Diyatha Uyana
40. Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia near south-east India. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest, Sri Lankas documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule until 1972 as Ceylon, Sri Lankas recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively ended when the Sri Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many religions, ethnic groups, in addition to the majority Sinhalese, it is home to large groups of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils, Moors, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the capital and largest city. Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of the two countries in South Asia that are rated among high human development on the Human Development Index. In antiquity, Sri Lanka was known to travellers by a variety of names, according to the Mahavamsa, the legendary Prince Vijaya named the land Tambapanni, because his followers hands were reddened by the red soil of the area. In Hindu mythology, such as the Mahabharata, the island was referred to as Lankā, in Tamil, the island is referred to as Eelam. Ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobanā or Taprobanē from the word Tambapanni, as a British crown colony, the island was known as Ceylon, it achieved independence as the Dominion of Ceylon in 1948. The country is known in Sinhalese as Śrī Laṃkā and in Tamil as Ilaṅkai, in 1972, its formal name was changed to Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka. Later in 1978 it was changed to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, as the name Ceylon still appears in the names of a number of organisations, the Sri Lankan government announced in 2011 a plan to rename all those over which it has authority. The pre-history of Sri Lanka goes back 125,000 years, the era spans the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and early Iron Ages. Among the Paleolithic human settlements discovered in Sri Lanka, Pahiyangala and it is said that Kubera was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, the powerful emperor who built a mythical flying machine named Dandu Monara. The modern city of Wariyapola is described as Ravanas airport, early inhabitants of Sri Lanka were probably ancestors of the Vedda people, an indigenous people numbering approximately 2,500 living in modern-day Sri Lanka. According to the Mahāvamsa, a written in Pāḷi, the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka are the Yakshas and Nagas. Ancient cemeteries that were used before 600BC and other signs of advanced civilization has also discovered in Sri LankaSri Lanka – Avukana Buddha statue, a 12 metres (39 ft) standing Buddha statue belongs to the reign of Dhatusena of Anuradhapura, 5th century
41. Maldives – The Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea. It lies southwest of India and Sri Lanka, the chain of twenty-six atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to the Addu City in the south. Malé is the capital and most populated city, traditionally called the Kings Island for its central location. With an average elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level, it is the worlds lowest country, with even its highest natural point being the lowest in the world. Due to the subsequent risks posed by rising sea-levels, the government pledged in 2009 to make the Maldives a carbon-neutral country by 2019, the Maldives have been historically and culturally linked to the Indian subcontinent since the fourth century BCE. The Maldivian archipelago was Islamised in the 12th century and consolidated as a sultanate, developing commercial and cultural ties with Asia. From the mid 16th-century, the region came under the influence of European colonial powers. Independence from the United Kingdom was achieved in 1965 and a republic was established in 1968 with an elected Peoples Majlis. The ensuing decades have been characterised by political instability, efforts at democratic reform, the Maldives is a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It is also a member of the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the World Bank classifies the Maldives as having an upper middle income economy. Fishing has historically been the dominant economic activity, and remains the largest sector by far, along with Sri Lanka, it is one of only two South Asian countries rated high on the Human Development Index, with its per capita income the highest among SAARC nations. The name Maldives may derive from the Malayalam words maala and dweepu or the Tamil maalai and theevu, the Maldivian people are called Dhivehin. The word theevu means island, and Dhives means islanders, the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle Mahawamsa refers to an island called Mahiladiva in Pali, which is probably a mistranslation of the same Sanskrit word meaning garland. Jan S Hogendorn, Grossman Professor of Economics, theorises that the name Maldives derives from the Sanskrit mālādvīpa, in Tamil, Garland of Islands can be translated as Malai Theevu. In Malayalam, Garland of Islands can be translated as Maladweepu, in Kannada, Garland of Islands can be translated as Maaledweepa. This is the name inscribed on the scroll in the Maldive state emblem. The classical Persian/Arabic name for Maldives is Dibajat, the Dutch referred to the islands as the Maldivische Eilanden, while the British anglicised the local name for the islands first to the Maldive Islands and later to Maldives. One such community are the Giraavaru people and they are mentioned in ancient legends and local folklore about the establishment of the capital and kingly rule in MaléMaldives – The Buddhist Stupa (the best preserved, the largest and the last of the Buddhist temples that were destroyed) at Kuruhinna in Gan Island (Haddhunmathi Atoll).
42. New Delhi – New Delhi is the capital of India and one of Delhi citys 11 districts. The National Capital Region is a larger entity comprising the entire National Capital Territory along with adjoining districts. The foundation stone of the city was laid by George V and it was designed by British architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. The new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931, by Viceroy, New Delhi has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under Prime Minister of India Narendra Modis flagship Smart Cities Mission. Calcutta was the capital of India during the British Raj until December 1911, Delhi had served as the political and financial centre of several empires of ancient India and the Delhi Sultanate, most notably of the Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857. During the early 1900s, a proposal was made to the British administration to shift the capital of the British Indian Empire, as India was officially named, from Calcutta on the east coast, to Delhi. The Government of British India felt that it would be easier to administer India from Delhi in the centre of northern India. The land for building the new city of Delhi was acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894. The foundation stone of New Delhi was laid by King George V and Queen Mary at the site of Delhi Durbar of 1911 at Kingsway Camp on 15 December 1911, during their imperial visit. Large parts of New Delhi were planned by Edwin Lutyens, who first visited Delhi in 1912, the contract was given to Sobha Singh. The original plan called for its construction in Tughlaqabad, inside the Tughlaqabad fort, construction really began after World War I and was completed by 1931. The city that was later dubbed Lutyens Delhi was inaugurated in ceremonies beginning on 10 February 1931 by Lord Irwin, Lutyens designed the central administrative area of the city as a testament to Britains imperial aspirations. Soon Lutyens started considering other places, however, it was rejected by the Viceroy when the cost of acquiring the necessary properties was found to be too high. The central axis of New Delhi, which faces east at India Gate, was previously meant to be a north-south axis linking the Viceroys House at one end with Paharganj at the other. During the projects early years, many believed it was a gate from Earth to Heaven itself. Eventually, owing to space constraints and the presence of a number of heritage sites in the North side. A site atop the Raisina Hill, formerly Raisina Village, a Meo village, was chosen for the Rashtrapati Bhawan, then known as the Viceroys House. The reason for this choice was that the hill lay directly opposite the Dinapanah citadel, which was considered the site of IndraprasthaNew Delhi – Clockwise from top left: Secretariat Building, Connaught Place, Jantar Mantar, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate
43. India – India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and it is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast. It shares land borders with Pakistan to the west, China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast, in the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Indias Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a border with Thailand. The Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE, in the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, early political consolidations took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires, the later peninsular Middle Kingdoms influenced cultures as far as southeast Asia. In the medieval era, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived, much of the north fell to the Delhi sultanate, the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal empire, in the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, and in the mid-19th under British crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which later, under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance, in 2015, the Indian economy was the worlds seventh largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, a nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the third largest standing army in the world and ranks sixth in military expenditure among nations. India is a constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system. It is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society and is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindu, the latter term stems from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, which was the historical local appellation for the Indus River. The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as The people of the Indus, the geographical term Bharat, which is recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations. Scholars believe it to be named after the Vedic tribe of Bharatas in the second millennium B. C. E and it is also traditionally associated with the rule of the legendary emperor Bharata. Gaṇarājya is the Sanskrit/Hindi term for republic dating back to the ancient times, hindustan is a Persian name for India dating back to the 3rd century B. C. E. It was introduced into India by the Mughals and widely used since then and its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entiretyIndia – Flag
44. Thimphu – Thimphu is the capital and largest city of the Kingdom of Bhutan. It is situated in the central part of Bhutan and the surrounding valley is one of Bhutans dzongkhags. The city is spread out laterally in a direction on the west bank of the valley formed by the Raidāk River. Thimphu is the third highest capital in the world by altitude and is spread over a range between 2,248 metres and 2,648 metres. Unusually for a city, Thimphu is not served by an airport. Thimphu, as the political and economic center of Bhutan, has a dominant agricultural and livestock base, Tourism, though a contributor to the economy, is strictly regulated, maintaining a balance between the traditional, development and modernization. This development is ongoing with financial assistance from the World Bank, tshechu is an important festival when mask dances, popularly known as Cham dances, are performed in the courtyards of the Tashichho Dzong in Thimphu. It is a festival held every year during autumn, on dates corresponding to the Bhutanese calendar. In 1885, a battle was held at what is now the Changlimithang sports ground in Thimphu, the decisive victory opened the way for Ugyen Wangchuck, the first King of Bhutan to virtually control the whole country. Since this time the ground has been of major importance to the city, football, cricket matches. The modern Changlimithang Stadium was built on the site in 1974, under the Wangchu Dynasty, the country enjoyed peace and progress under successive reformist monarchs. The third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, reformed the old pseudo-feudal systems by abolishing serfdom, redistributing land and he also introduced many executive, legislative, and judiciary reforms. Reforms continued and in 1952 the decision was made to shift the capital from the ancient capital of Punakha to Thimphu, the fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, opened the country for development and India provided the needed impetus in this process with financial and other forms of assistance. In 1961, Thimphu officially became the capital of Bhutan, Bhutan joined the Colombo Plan in 1962, the Universal Postal Union in 1969 and became a member of the United Nations in 1971. The presence of diplomatic missions and international funding organizations in Thimphu resulted in expansion of Thimphu as a metropolis. The fourth king, who had established the National Assembly in 1953 and he introduced a system of voting no confidence in the king, which empowered the parliament to remove the monarch. The National Constitution Committee in Thimphu started drafting the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan in 2001, in 2005, the fourth king of Bhutan announced his decision to hand over the reins of his kingdom to his son Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk. The coronation of the king was held in Thimphu at the refurbished Changlimithang Stadium, Thimphu is situated in the constricted, linear valley of the Raidāk River, which is also known as the Thimphu RiverThimphu – Thimphu
45. Bhutan – Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in Asia and the smallest state located entirely within the Himalaya mountain range. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by China in the north, Bhutan lacks a border with nearby Nepal due to the Indian state of Sikkim and with Bangladesh due to the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asia and is the second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center, the independence of Bhutan has endured for centuries and the territory was never colonized in its history. Situated on the ancient Silk Road between Tibet, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the Bhutanese state developed a national identity based on Buddhism. Headed by a leader known as the Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the territory was composed of many fiefdoms. Following a civil war in the 19th century, the House of Wangchuck reunited the country, Bhutan fostered a strategic partnership with India during the rise of Chinese communism and has a disputed border with the Peoples Republic of China. The King of Bhutan is known as the Dragon King, Bhutan is also notable for pioneering the concept of gross national happiness. The countrys landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan mountains in the north. The highest mountain in Bhutan is the Gangkhar Puensum, which is also a candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. There is also diverse wildlife in Bhutan, in South Asia, Bhutan ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business and peace, second in per capita income and is the least corrupt country, as of 2016. However, Bhutan continues to be a least developed country, hydroelectricity accounts for the major share of its exports. The government is a parliamentary democracy, Bhutan maintains diplomatic relations with 52 countries and the European Union, but does not have formal ties with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. It is a member of the United Nations, SAARC, BIMSTEC, the Royal Bhutan Army maintains extensive military relations with the Indian Armed Forces. The precise etymology of Bhutan is unknown, although it is likely to derive from the Tibetan endonym Bod used for Tibet. Traditionally, it is taken to be a transcription of the Sanskrit Bhoṭa-anta end of Tibet, since the 17th century the official name of Bhutan has been Druk yul and Bhutan only appears in English-language official correspondence. Names similar to Bhutan — including Bohtan, Buhtan, Bottanthis, Bottan, jean-Baptiste Taverniers 1676 Six Voyages is the first to record the name Boutan. However, in case, these seem to have been describing not modern BhutanBhutan
46. Bandar Seri Begawan – Bandar Seri Begawan /ˌbɑːndə sᵻˌriː bᵻˈɡaʊ. ən/ or /ˌbæn-/ BAND-ə sə-REE bə-GOW-ən, formerly known as Brunei Town, is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei. Bandar Seri Begawan has an population of 50,000, and including the whole Brunei-Muara District. The original name for city was Bandar Brunei or Brunei Town in English. In 1967, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III abdicated in favour of his eldest son, Hassanal Bolkiah, Omar was then made the defense minister and on 5 October 1970, the city was renamed to honor him. The word Begawan was also used for Bruneian monarchs who have abdicated, besides that, Seri Begawan was known as blessed one in Sanskrit. Seri comes from the honorific Sanskrit word श्री Sri, and Bandar comes from Persian via Indian languages, in Malay, the word bandar means town or a city. Human settlement in Brunei can be traced back as far as 6th and 7th century with Malay trading centre, in 1899, first oil well was drilled at Ayer Bekunchi near Kampung Kasat, Bandar Seri Begawan. Although the oil well was drilled as deep as 259 metres, oil exploration in Brunei later shifted to Seria and Belait District in 1924. Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam II established a new palace on the west bank in 1909 after been persuaded by the British, Mosque and government buildings was also built along the western shores in 1920. In the same year, the new settlement was declared as a new capital of Brunei, However, the city prosperity was almost ended when the city was captured by the Japanese in 1941, before been recaptured by the Allied forces in 1945. During the war, most infrastructure was destroyed by Japanese and Allied bombing, the British began reconstructing most of its possessions in Borneo at the end of 1945 with the restoration of the law and order and the reopening of schools. In 1950, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III, upon his ascension to the throne, negotiated with the British for an increase in corporate taxes, growing from 10% to 30% in 1953. A M$1.2 million allotment to Brunei for war damages during the Japanese occupation increased from M$1 million in 1946 to M$100 million in 1952. A five-year development plan with a budget of M$100 million was also implemented in 1953, with infrastructure receiving the largest percentage. On 1 August 2007, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah gave consent for the expansion of the city from 12.87 km2 to 100.36 km2, Istana Nurul Iman is the seat of the Brunei government and is the largest residential palace in the world according to Guinness World Records. There are two prime minister offices in the city, one is located inside Istana Nurul Iman and another one is located at Jalan Kumbang Pasang. The city is administered by the Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department, the city obtained city status in 1920. With an area of 100.36 square kilometres, the city is located in the most populous district of Brunei namely Brunei-Muara DistrictBandar Seri Begawan – From top left: Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Sir Muda Omar Ali Saifuddin Park, Lapau Diraja, Mercu Dirgahayu and Downtown Bandar Seri Begawan.
47. Brunei – Brunei, officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is surrounded by the state of Sarawak. It is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang, Brunei is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo, the remainder of the islands territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Bruneis population was 408,786 in July 2012, the maritime state was visited by Spains Magellan Expedition in 1521 and fought against Spain in the 1578 Castille War. During the 19th century, the Bruneian Empire began to decline, the Sultanate ceded Sarawak to James Brooke and installed him as the White Rajah, and it ceded Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate and was assigned a British resident as colonial manager in 1906, after the Japanese occupation during World War II, in 1959 a new constitution was written. In 1962, an armed rebellion against the monarchy was ended with the help of the British. Brunei gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 1 January 1984, Economic growth during the 1990s and 2000s, with the GDP increasing 56% from 1999 to 2008, transformed Brunei into an industrialised country. It has developed wealth from petroleum and natural gas fields. Brunei has the second-highest Human Development Index among the Southeast Asian nations, after Singapore, according to the International Monetary Fund, Brunei is ranked fifth in the world by gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity. The IMF estimated in 2011 that Brunei was one of two countries with a debt at 0% of the national GDP. Forbes also ranks Brunei as the fifth-richest nation out of 182, based on its petroleum, according to legend, Brunei was founded by Awang Alak Betatar, later to be Sultan Muhammad Shah. He moved from Garang, a place in the Temburong District to the Brunei River estuary, according to legend, upon landing he exclaimed, Baru nah, from which the name Brunei was derived. He was the first Muslim ruler of Brunei, before the rise of the Bruneian Empire under the Muslim Bolkiah Dynasty, Brunei is believed to have been under Buddhist rulers. It was renamed Barunai in the 14th century, possibly influenced by the Sanskrit word varuṇ, the word Borneo is of the same origin. In the countrys name, Negara Brunei Darussalam, darussalam means abode of peace. The people are pagans and are men of goodwill and their colour is whiter than that of the other sort. in this island justice is well administered. One of the earliest Chinese records is the 977 AD letter to Chinese emperor from the ruler of Po-ni, which some scholars believe to refer to BorneoBrunei – The tomb of a ruler of Po-ni in Nanjing, China.
48. Bangkok – Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep. The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres in the Chao Phraya River delta in Central Thailand, over 14 million people live within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region, making Bangkok an extreme primate city, significantly dwarfing Thailands other urban centres in terms of importance. Bangkok was at the heart of the modernization of Siam—later renamed Thailand—during the late 19th century, the city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact on Thailands politics, economy, education, media and modern society. The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational corporations to locate their headquarters in Bangkok. The city is now a regional force in finance and business. It is a hub for transport and health care, and has emerged as a regional centre for the arts, fashion. The city is known for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks. The historic Grand Palace and Buddhist temples including Wat Arun and Wat Pho stand in contrast with other tourist attractions such as the scenes of Khaosan Road. Bangkok is among the top tourist destinations. It is named the most visited city in MasterCards Global Destination Cities Index, Bangkoks rapid growth amidst little urban planning and regulation has resulted in a haphazard cityscape and inadequate infrastructure systems. The city has turned to public transport in an attempt to solve this major problem. Five rapid transit lines are now in operation, with more systems under construction or planned by the national government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. The history of Bangkok dates at least back to the early 15th century, because of its strategic location near the mouth of the river, the town gradually increased in importance. Bangkok initially served as a customs outpost with forts on both sides of the river, and became the site of a siege in 1688 in which the French were expelled from Siam. After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese Empire in 1767, the newly declared King Taksin established his capital at the town, in 1782, King Phutthayotfa Chulalok succeeded Taksin, moved the capital to the eastern banks Rattanakosin Island, thus founding the Rattanakosin Kingdom. The City Pillar was erected on 21 April, which is regarded as the date of foundation of the present city, Bangkoks economy gradually expanded through busy international trade, first with China, then with Western merchants returning in the early-to-mid 19th century. As the capital, Bangkok was the centre of Siams modernization as it faced pressure from Western powers in the late 19th century, Bangkok became the centre stage for power struggles between the military and political elite as the country abolished absolute monarchy in 1932Bangkok – Clockwise from top: Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple), Giant Swing, Wat Arun, Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, view over Lumpini Park area at night, and Wat Phra Kaeo
49. Thailand – Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a total area of approximately 513,000 km2, Thailand is the worlds 51st-largest country and it is the 20th-most-populous country in the world, with around 66 million people. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and has switched between parliamentary democracy and military junta for decades, the latest coup being in May 2014 by the National Council for Peace and Order. Its capital and most populous city is Bangkok and its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. The Thai economy is the worlds 20th largest by GDP at PPP and it became a newly industrialised country and a major exporter in the 1990s. Manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy and it is considered a middle power in the region and around the world. The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens, by outsiders prior to 1949, it was usually known by the exonym Siam. The word Siam has been identified with the Sanskrit Śyāma, the names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word. The word Śyâma is possibly not its origin, but a learned, another theory is the name derives from Chinese, Ayutthaya emerged as a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century. The Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam, the signature of King Mongkut reads SPPM Mongkut King of the Siamese, giving the name Siam official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. Thailand was renamed Siam from 1945 to 11 May 1949, after which it reverted to Thailand. According to George Cœdès, the word Thai means free man in the Thai language, ratcha Anachak Thai means kingdom of Thailand or kingdom of Thai. Etymologically, its components are, ratcha, -ana- -chak, the Thai National Anthem, written by Luang Saranupraphan during the extremely patriotic 1930s, refers to the Thai nation as, prathet Thai. The first line of the anthem is, prathet thai ruam lueat nuea chat chuea thai, Thailand is the unity of Thai flesh. There is evidence of habitation in Thailand that has been dated at 40,000 years before the present. Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, Thailand was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, Thailand in its earliest days was under the rule of the Khmer Empire, which had strong Hindu roots, and the influence among Thais remains even today. Voretzsch believes that Buddhism must have been flowing into Siam from India in the time of the Indian Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Empire, later Thailand was influenced by the south Indian Pallava dynasty and north Indian Gupta Empire. The Menam Basin was originally populated by the Mons, and the location of Dvaravati in the 7th century, the History of the Yuan mentions an embassy from the kingdom of Sukhothai in 1282Thailand – The ruins of Wat Chaiwatthanaram at Ayutthaya.
50. Dili – Dili is the capital, largest city, chief port and commercial centre of East Timor. Dili lies on the northern coast of Timor island, the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is the seat of the administration of the district of Dili, the city is divided into the subdistricts of Nain Feto, Vera Cruz, Dom Aleixo and Cristo Rei and is divided into several sucos, which are headed by an elected chefe de suco. 18 of the 26 sucos of the four subdistricts are categorised as urban, there is no city administration beside the district administrator, who was appointed by state government. The East Timorese government started to plan in 2009 to change the status of districts into municipalities and these will have an elected mayor and council. Dili is a pot of the different ethnic groups of East Timor. This has led to an imbalance, with the male population significantly larger than the female. Between 2001 and 2004, the population of Dili district grew by 12. 58%, 7% were born in Baucau, 5% each in Viqueque and Bobonaro 4% in Ermera, and the remainder in other districts or overseas. Dili has a Tropical wet and dry climate under the Köppen climate classification, Dili was settled about 1520 by the Portuguese, who made it the capital of Portuguese Timor in 1769. It was proclaimed a city in January 1864, in the night of 19 February 1942, the Japanese attacked with a force of around 20,000 men, and occupied Dili before spreading out across the rest of the colony. On 26 September 1945, control of the island was returned to Portugal by the Japanese. East Timor unilaterally declared independence from Portugal on 28 November 1975, however, nine days later, on 7 December, Indonesian forces invaded Dili. On 17 July 1976, Indonesia annexed East Timor, which it designated the 27th province of Indonesia, Timor Timur, a guerrilla war ensued from 1975 to 1999 between Indonesian and pro-independence forces, during which tens of thousands of East Timorese and some foreign civilians were killed. Media coverage of the 1991 Dili Massacre helped revitalise international support for the East Timorese independence movement, in 1999, East Timor was placed under UN supervision and on 20 May 2002, Dili became the capital of the newly independent Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. In May 2006, fighting and rioting sparked by conflict between elements of the military caused significant damage to the city and led to military intervention to restore order. Most buildings were damaged or destroyed in the violence of 1999, orchestrated by the Indonesian military, however, the city still has many buildings from the Portuguese era. E. g. the former Market Hall built around 1930 which is used as a Congress Centre nowerdays, the former Portuguese Governors office is now the office of the Prime Minister. It was previously used by the Indonesian-appointed Governor, and by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East TimorDili – Dili with Atauro Island in background