The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is a species of hyaena native to North and East Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It is the smallest of the true hyenas and retains many primitive viverrid characteristics lost in larger species, having a smaller and less specialized skull. Adult weight can range from 49 to 121 pounds, averaging at about 77 pounds. The striped hyena features prominently in Middle Eastern and Asian folklore. In some areas, its body parts are considered magical, and are used as charms or talismans. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, where it is referred to as tzebua or zevoa, though the species is absent in some Bible translations into English.
Scenes from the 2016 World Nomad Games hosted in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan. The World Nomad Games brings athletes from various countries, primarily from the Central Asian region and Russia, to participate in sports native to the Eurasian Steppe. The Eurasian Steppe was home to various nomadic peoples particularly the Iranic-speaking Scythians and Sarmatians, who were a source of fear for the ancient Greeks due to their warriorlike nature and great horse-riding skills; including their mastery of horseback archery. Both groups are believed to have originated in the Eurasian Steppes, but their settlements ranged from China to Poland, and because of this they greatly impacted the genetic pool and cultures of a number of different groups in Eastern Europe and Central Asia such as the people of the Caucasus, Slavs, Turkic people, and other modern Iranic people. The Sarmatians in particular were famed by Greek historians for their female warriors and rulers that inspired the stories of the Amazons.
Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov (Turkmen: Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, Сапармырат Атайевич Ныязов; 19 February 1940 – 21 December 2006) was a Turkmen politician who served as the leader of Turkmenistan from 1985 until his death in 2006. He was First Secretary of the Turkmen Communist Party from 1985 until 1991 and continued to lead Turkmenistan for 15 years after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Niyazov became president at the transition of Turkmenistan from a Soviet republic to an independent state. His presidency was characterized by an initial crumbling of the centralized Soviet model that in many respects was unsuited to function as a separate entity; also, there were large amounts of foreign income from gas and petroleum reserves (approximately $2–4 billion as of 2005).
Niyazov became a substitute for the vacuum left by the downfall of the communist system, with his image replacing those of Marx and Lenin. He renamed the town of Krasnovodsk “Turkmenbashi” after himself, and renamed schools, airports and even a meteorite after himself and members of his family. His many, sometimes erratic decrees, and the doting actions of the official Turkmen media gave rise to the clear appearance of a cult of personality. The eccentric nature of some of his decrees, and the vast number of images of the president led to the perception, especially in western countries, of a despotic leader, rich on oil wealth glorifying himself whilst the population gained no benefit.
Turkmenistan has the second-largest oil reserves in the former Soviet Union, generating high revenue for the state. The government has used central planning, such as state control of production and procurement, direct bank credits with low interest rates, exchange rate restrictions, and price controls, since it existed as a Republic within the U.S.S.R.
In the years following independence, Turkmenistan invested heavily in plants and machinery in an attempt to convert it from being primarily a supplier of petroleum to a more advanced economy; such investments included oil refineries and a polyethylene plant. In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, Niyazov claimed that Turkmenistan was able to process 85% of its domestic output. Additionally, numerous petroleum transportation projects were completed such as a pipeline from the Korpedje field to Kort-Koi in Iran.
In 1991, Niyazov’s government put forth a decree granting “the free use of water, gas and electricity and refined salt by the people of Turkmenistan for ten years”; when the decree expired, he extended it to 2020.
the Museum of Applied Arts in Tashkent, Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, unknown
photographer, source: eurasia.travel. Possibly the best-looking museum in
Tashkent, the Museum of Applied Arts is situated in the former home of Imperial
Russian diplomat Alexander Polovtsev. This museum is as popular for its setting
as for its many beautiful exhibits. Polovtsev was an avid collector of
handicrafts and his personal possessions still form the heart of the museum’s
superb collection of decorative arts. Tsarist diplomat expressed his
appreciation of Uzbek architecture by having his residence built by masters
from Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Ferghana and Tashkent. He was transferred
before completion in 1907, so never saw the finished courtyard of verandas and
reception halls, vibrant with colour, ganch and wooden carving. The first
public exhibition was held here in 1927, and it was classified as a national
collection a decade later, source: eurasia.travel.