Western, Central and South Asia
Western, Central and South Asia includes countries as far west as Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Jordan, the Gulf States, the Central Asian countries (also known as the Stans), Iran, Afghanistan and the countries in the Indian subcontinent. The importance of these regions to the rest of the world is impossible to overstate. Christianity, Islam, Judaism and the Baha'i Faith all originated in West Asia. The Indian subcontinent gave the world chess, buttons, dice, hospitals, reservoirs, puppets, shampoo and even pyjamas! All of these parts have a culture and architecture that have inspired many an artist, poet and writer. In modern times these regions have been symbols of instability, with constant unrest in the Middle East, ethnic clashes in India and even a recent revolution in Kyrgyzstan. Both despite and because of this, these countries remain full of intrigue.