Northern Asia is easily the largest continental region on earth as it includes Russia, which is by far the largest country in the world. Also included within Northern Asian boundaries are certain countries lying in the Caucasus region, which is that area around the Caucasus Mountain Range between the Caspian and the Black Seas, like Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia as well as Belarus and the Ukraine, which border Eastern Europe.
Northern Asia shows great cultural and religious diversity and features some of the world's greatest tourist attractions, including Moscow's Red Square. Apart from Russia, most of the countries in the region were, at one time or another, under Soviet rule and are still trying to shake off Soviet influence and reclaim their traditional cultural identity. Stretching from Georgia's verdant vegetation to the frozen steppes of Siberia and from Belarus's marshy plains to the Pacific city of Vladivostok, Northern Asia presents a tourist with a multitude of intriguing faces and infinite vacation possibilities.
Belarus gained independence from Russia in 1991, and this low-lying, landlocked, country, which borders European Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, is a buffer between Europe and Russia. Minsk, the capital, is most famous for being the former residence of American presidential assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, but its beautiful St Peter and St Paul Church also deserves a mention. Ukraine stretches from south of Belarus to the shores of the Black Sea and is the largest Northern Asian country after Russia. Ancient Kiev, which boasts a history dating back to the 5th century as well as unique Baroque and Orthodox architecture, is this country's heart, and Ukraine's Crimean peninsula gained itself a place in history by witnessing The Charge of the Light Brigade.
Armenia is the Caucasus' only landlocked country, but it is home to the area's biggest lake, Sevana Lich. Official languages comprise Armenian, Russian and Yezidi Kurdish, and the locals are incredibly welcoming to tourists and take great pride in showing off their stunning country, with its countless venerable monasteries and Yerevan, its Pink City capital. Georgia borders the eastern Black Sea and has as its capital cosmopolitan Tbilisi, which sprawls over more than 280sq.m. This country is known for its fascinating cave-cities, mineral water deposits and imposing castles and features UNESCO World Heritage Sites at both Kutaisi - ancient Kolchis - and Mtskheta.
Azerbaijan mirrors Georgia by hugging the eastern Caspian Sea and is famous for its extreme ecological diversity. Although rich in natural resources, this country remains underdeveloped although its capital, Baku, is extremely tourist-friendly and highlights include the mysterious Maiden's Tower, or Giz Qalasi, thought to have been a Zoroastrian temple. Russia's Moscow is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world, but the country offers a wealth of other sights including imperial Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, site of the Romanov massacre, and the stunning Lake Baikal, the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world.
Northern Asia is a magnificent area which has something to offer even the most world-weary of tourists.
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