The mountain systems of Central Asia not only have provided the continent’s great rivers with water from their melting snows but also have formed a forbidding natural barrier that has influenced the movement of peoples in the area. The northeastward movement of the subcontinent continues at about 2.4 inches (6 cm) per year. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The specific features of the coastline in some areas—especially in the east and southeast—are the result of active volcanism; thermal abrasion of permafrost (caused by a combination of the action of breaking waves and thawing), as in northeastern Siberia; and coral growth, as in the areas to the south and southeast. Islam has spread out of Arabia eastward to South and Southeast Asia. Asia is bounded by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Indian Ocean to the south, the Red Sea (as well as the inland seas of the Atlantic Ocean—the Mediterranean and the Black) to the southwest, and Europe to the west. Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia are just a few places where you might travel to get a taste for new cultues, cuisines, and languages. Migration across those barriers has been possible only through mountain passes. Çanakkale, Turkey, on the southern coast of the Dardanelles. Related topics are discussed in articles on religion (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam) and arts and literature (e.g., Chinese literature, Japanese literature, Central Asian arts, Southeast Asian arts, and South Asian arts). Sort out the facts in this quiz all about the diverse countries and cities around Asia. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). While Asia has made monumental strides in poverty reduction, deep pockets still exist. India is among the world’s fastest urbanising countries. It occupies the eastern four-fifths of the giant Eurasian landmass. Fishermen at work Sridharan Chakravarthy / Flickr Bazaars in India are richly diverse and uniquely dynamic. There is a concentration of population in western Asia as well as great concentrations in the Indian subcontinent and the eastern half of China. The low cost of living, excellent health care and stunning scenery are some of the reasons why many expats choose to start a new life in Asia. For discussion of individual countries of the continent, see specific articles by name—e.g., Kazakhstan, Mongolia, India, and Thailand. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The impact and pressure continue to raise the Plateau of Tibet and the Himalayas. How to Move Out of the US (and Where to Go): Subscribe to IL at a discount, and get a Blueprint for Your Escape, FREE... about subscribing to International Living Magazine, 5 affordable Caribbean islands to live on and 2 to avoid, 7 of the Best Cities in Spain for Your Retirement, Everything You Need to Know About Roatan Honduras. Nonetheless, Asia, the most populous of the continents, contains some three-fifths of the world’s people. When we talk about Asian countries, we don’t only talk about one or two nations. The name Asia is ancient, and its origin has been variously explained. Asia is a very diverse continent which leads to diverse culture as well. It is believed that the name may be derived from the Assyrian word asu, meaning “east.” Another possible explanation is that it was originally a local name given to the plains of Ephesus, which ancient Greeks and Romans extended to refer first to Anatolia (contemporary Asia Minor, which is the western extreme of mainland Asia), and then to the known world east of the Mediterranean Sea. Two narrow straits, the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, separate Anatolia from the Balkan Peninsula. The land boundary between Asia and Europe is a historical and cultural construct that has been defined variously; only as a matter of agreement is it tied to a specific borderline. Living in Cambodia is more than affordable. The sea is an integral part of daily life for a considerable part of India, which is enveloped by the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal around the majority of its borders. For discussion of major cities of the continent, see specific articles by name—e.g., Bangkok, Jerusalem, Beijing, and Seoul. Hinduism has been mostly confined to the Indian subcontinent. For those looking for adventure, Cambodia won’t disappoint. A historical movement of population from the arid zones of Central Asia has followed the mountain passes into the Indian subcontinent. The principal treatment of Asian historical and cultural development is contained in the articles on Asian countries, regions, and cities and in the articles Palestine, history of and Islamic world. Sign in to access your subscriptions and subscriber-only content. Accreting sandy beaches also occur in many areas, such as along the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Thailand. The Greeks used it to designate the lands situated to the east of their homeland. Asia is more a geographic term than a homogeneous continent, and the use of the term to describe such a vast area always carries the potential of obscuring the enormous diversity among the regions it encompasses. Mysterious temples may ignite your imagination, or perhaps fried cricket will interest your taste buds? The country also has a unique blend of cultures, a stable political system and world-class health care. From the tropical climate and the tempting cuisine to the welcoming culture and the pulsing nightlife, there’s something for everyone in Thailand. If exotic as an everyday offering is what you’re searching for, a life in Asia may be for you. The country’s religious traditions are incredibly diverse and exceptionally historic. Asia is separated from North America to the northeast by the Bering Strait and from Australia to the southeast by the seas and straits connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans. Of those, only Christianity developed primarily outside of Asia; it exerts little influence on the continent, though many Asian countries have Christian minorities. From Mumbai and Delhi to Guwahati and Surat, urban India is a vibrant and cutting-edge world of its own. From the tropical climate and the tempting cuisine to … Puskar Camel Fair | © Arindam Mitra / Flickr. There are also appreciable concentrations in the Pacific borderlands and on the islands, but vast areas of Central and North Asia—whose forbidding climates limit agricultural productivity—have remained sparsely populated. When Western explorers reached South and East Asia in early modern times, they extended that label to the whole of the immense landmass. Trading, shopping or just browsing through local markets is an integral part of everyday life for most Indians. The farthest terminal points of the Asian mainland are Cape Chelyuskin in north-central Siberia, Russia (77°43′ N), to the north; the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Cape Piai, or Bulus (1°16′ N), to the south; Cape Baba in Turkey (26°4′ E) to the west; and Cape Dezhnev (Dezhnyov), or East Cape (169°40′ W), in northeastern Siberia, overlooking the Bering Strait, to the east. Asia, the world’s largest and most diverse continent. Here is a collection of 18 photographs that capture the impressive spectrum of experiences that constitute everyday life in India. The most convenient geographic boundary—one that has been adopted by most geographers—is a line that runs south from the Arctic Ocean along the Ural Mountains and then turns southwest along the Emba River to the northern shore of the Caspian Sea; west of the Caspian, the boundary follows the Kuma-Manych Depression to the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait of the Black Sea.