Portal:Middle East
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Portal:Middle East
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Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.

In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most commonly accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas, separating it from Europe.

China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east-west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions. (Full article...)

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Borobudur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Borobudur, also transcribed Barabudur (Indonesian: Candi Borobudur, Javanese: , romanized: Candhi Barabudhur) is a 7th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang Regency, not far from the town of Muntilan, in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the world's largest Buddhist temple. The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. It is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa.

Built in the 9th century during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty, the temple design follows Javanese Buddhist architecture, which blends the Indonesian indigenous tradition of ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana. The temple demonstrates the influences of Gupta art that reflects India's influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. The monument is a shrine to the Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The pilgrim journey begins at the base of the monument and follows a path around the monument, ascending to the top through three levels symbolic of Buddhist cosmology: K?madh?tu (the world of desire), R?padh?tu (the world of forms) and Ar?padh?tu (the world of formlessness). The monument guides pilgrims through an extensive system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the walls and the balustrades. Borobudur has one of the largest and most complete ensembles of Buddhist reliefs in the world. (Full article...)

Selected Country

Flag of Tajikistan.svg

Tajikistan (, ; Tajik: ?, Persian: ‎, romanizedTâj?kestân; Russian: , romanizedTadzhikistan), officially the Republic of Tajikistan (Tajik: ?, romanizedJumhurii Tojikiston), is a landlocked country in Central Asia with an area of 143,100 km2 (55,300 sq mi) and an estimated population of 9,537,645 people. Its capital and largest city is Dushanbe. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north and China to the east. The traditional homelands of the Tajik people include present-day Tajikistan as well as parts of Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

The territory that now constitutes Tajikistan was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the city of Sarazm of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including the Oxus Valley Civilisation, Andronovo Culture, Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism and Islam. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid Empire, Sasanian Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Samanid Empire and the Mongol Empire. After being ruled by the Timurid dynasty and the Khanate of Bukhara, the Timurid Renaissance flourished. The region was later conquered by the Russian Empire and subsequently by the Soviet Union. Within the Soviet Union, the country's modern borders were drawn when it was part of Uzbekistan as an autonomous republic before becoming a full-fledged Soviet republic in 1929. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Colonel Lê Quang Tung (13 June 1919 - 1 November 1963) was the commander of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces under the command of Ngô ?ình Nhu. Nhu was the brother of South Vietnam's president, Ngô ?ình Di?m. A former servant of the Ngô family, Tung's military background was in security and counterespionage.

During the 1950s, Tung was a high-ranking official in Nhu's C?n Lao, a secret political apparatus which maintained the Ngô family's grip on power, extorting money from wealthy businessmen. In 1960, Tung was promoted directly to the rank of colonel and became the commander of the special forces. His period at the helm of South Vietnam's elite troops was noted mostly for his work in repressing dissidents, rather than fighting the Viet Cong insurgents. His best-known attack was the raid on Xá L?i pagoda on 21 August 1963, in which hundreds died or disappeared. (Full article...)

General images

The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.

Featured picture

Cry for noble Saich?, a poem written by Emperor Saga of Japan in the 9th century, upon the death of the Buddhist monk Saich?--an early example of Japanese calligraphy. Although calligraphy as an art form had existed prior to that time, Japanese practitioners tended to imitate the styles developed by Chinese calligraphists. The influence of Chinese styles had weakened after the Heian period, with this text as one of the few surviving examples of the transformation to a native Japanese style.

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Updated: 21:33, 16 September 2021

In the news

16 September 2021 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Asia
COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China, COVID-19 vaccination in mainland China
The number of people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in China surpasses one billion, or 71% of its population. (The New York Times)
COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong, COVID-19 vaccination in Hong Kong
A panel of health experts advising the Hong Kong government recommends that children between the ages of 12 and 17 should only receive a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after reports of heart inflammation as a side effect. (CTV News)
COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, COVID-19 vaccination in Iran

Updated: 3:33, 17 September 2021

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150pxPanorama of Masjid al-Haram on Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Credit: Bluemangoa2z

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.

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