Kyrgyzstan

Driving Directions Kyrgyzstan

KYRGYZSTAN is a central Asian republic that has been indepen­dent from the former USSR since 1991. It bounded in the southwest by Tajikistan, in the west by Uzbekistan, in the north by Kazakhstan, and in the east and southeast by China. The land consists almost entirely of high, rugged mountains of outstanding natural beauty.

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South Korea

Driving Directions South Korea

South Korea occupies the southern half of the Korean Peninsula in eastern Asia. The country is bor­dered in the north by a demilitarized zone, which acts as a buffer between the former South and North Koreas.

The country has a considerable length of coastline bordering the Yellow Sea in the west, the Korea Strait in the south, and the Sea of Japan in the east. Many islands lie off the western and southern coastline, the largest of which is Cheju.

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North Korea

Driving Directions North Korea

North Korea is located in eastern Asia and occupies the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. The Yalu and Tumen rivers form its northern border with China and Russia. The Korean Bay, which is an extension of the Yellow Sea, lies to the west with the Sea of Japan to the east.

The Republic of Korea, formerly South Korea, occupies the southern part of the peninsula and is separated from the north by a buffer, demilitarised zone.

Mountains are the domi­nant topographical feature of North Korea, occupying the whole of the northern part of the country and extending southwards in broadband beside the coast of the Sea of Japan.

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Kazakhstan

Driving Directions Kazakhstan

KAZAKHSTAN is a vast, central Asian republic, similar in size to India, which is bordered by Russia in the northwest and north, Mongolia (at one point), and China in the east, Kyrgyzstan in the southeast, Uzbekistan in the southwest and Turkmenistan in the south-southwest. The republic’s western boundary is with the Caspian Sea.

Most of Kazakhstan consists of vast, arid plains or steppes with semidesert or desert characteristics. In the west, the land dips below sea level in the marshes beside the Caspian Sea, and, in the east and southeast, the plains are interrupted by hills and high mountains in Kazakhstan’s border regions.

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Japan

Driving Directions Japan

JAPAN, a constitutional monarchy, consists of a series of over 1,000 islands in East Asia. There are four principal, large islands running from north to south: Hokkaido, Honshu (the largest and known as the main­land), Shikoku, and Kyushu. These four islands, all near one another, make up 98 percent of the total area of Japan.

In the north, the La Perouse Strait (Sea of Okhotsk) separates Hokkaido from the island of Sakhalin (Russia). In the northwest, Hokkaido is similarly separated from the Kuril Islands by the narrow Nemura Strait. (The Kuril Islands have been occupied by Russia since the end of the Second World War but are also claimed by Japan.)

In the southwest, the Western Channel of the Korea Strait separates the Japanese island of Tsushima from South Korea. In the far southwest, the southernmost of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands lie about 201 kilometers or 125 miles east of Taiwan while the remainder is separated from China to the west by the broad expanse of the East China Sea.

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Israel

Driving Directions Israel

ISRAEL is a republic that was created in 1948 after the British with­drawal from Palestine when the region partitioned following a recommendation made by the United Nations. The new country was born into conflict, for the declaration of its existence by Jewish lead­ers led to immediate warfare with Arab neighbors – the first of five such Arablsraeli wars. Israel won this first war (and all others since) and, as a result, immediately acquired new territory beyond that envisaged by the United Nations.

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Iraq

Driving Directions Iraq

IRAQ is located in southwest Asia, wedged between The Gulf and Syria. The Republic of Iraq includes most of ancient Mesopotamia, which lay between the Tigris and Euphrates, the two great rivers which are a dom­inant feature of Iraq. These two rivers flow through Iraq from northwest to southeast before finally uniting to form the tidal river of Shatt al Arab, which empties into The Gulf.

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Iran

Driving Directions Iran

IRAN lies across The Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula and stretches from the Caspian Sea to the Arabian Sea. Since 1978/9, when Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi was over – was thrown by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran has been governed according to strict Islamic laws and has endured a costly war with Iraq (1980-88).

It is a country of high mountains, plateaux, and one desert, notably the Zagros Mountains (Kuhha-ye Zagros) in the west, one the Elburz (Reshten-ye-Kuhha-ye Alborz) range in the north and the one sandy Dasht-e Lut and salty Dasht-e Kavir deserts of central and eastern Iran.

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