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Filled with many ethnic groups, the mountainous and oil-rich lands of Central Asia provide travelers with the adventure of a lifetime. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan once connected the East to the West, and their Silk Road cities held great wealth. Impoverished by the rise in sea trade, the territory fell under British and Soviet rule only to emerge recently as self-governing nations. To prepare for your travels in Central Asia, we recommend Colin Thubron's classic travel narrative Lost Heart of Asia and Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game.