Central Asia is a region of Asia from the Caspian Sea in the west to central China in the east, and from southern Russia in the north to northern Pakistan in the south. It is also sometimes known as Middle Asia or Inner Asia, and is within the scope of the wider Eurasian continent. Though various definitions of its exact composition exist, no one definition is universally accepted. Despite this uncertainty in defining borders, it does have some important overall characteristics. For one, Central Asia has historically been closely tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road. As a result, it has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people, goods, and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, and East Asia.
Central Asia is largely coextensive with Turkestan. In modern context, Central Asia consists of the five former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The nations of Afghanistan and Mongolia may also be included in Central Asia, in addition to the western Chinese provinces of Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Qinghai and Tibet.