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Asia: the largest and most populous continent

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Asia is the largest and most populous continent on Earth, it has an area of 44,059,000 square kilometers (44,471,000 if you include the Caspian Sea and Aral Lake), which corresponds to approximately one third (29.4%) of all land on the planet. With a population of nearly 4 billion inhabitants contains more than 60% of the inhabitants of the Earth. Asia extends almost entirely north of the equator, and it is washed to the south from the Indian Ocean, to the southwest from the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, to the north from the Arctic Ocean and to the east by the Bering Strait and the Pacific Ocean.

On the western side the Urals Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea and the chain of the Caucasus mountains mark the border with Europe. While it is connected with Africa through the isthmus of Suez, and the Bering Strait separates it to thenorth-east from North America. Continent of the records, Asia has the highest mountain on Earth, Everest (8,848 m) and the maximum depression of the planet, the Dead Sea, which is -420 meters below sea level.


Asia is rich in important and majestic mountains, to the west lies the massive mountain of Anatolia, as Tauro (Ala Daglari (3,734 meters)) and Elburz Mountains (Volcano Damavand 5,605 meters) and Mount Ararat ( 5,165 meters). In the northern Afghanistan and in Pakistan extends the mountainous system of Hindukush, reaching remarkable heights with the Tirich Mir (7,708 m) and Mount Noshaq (7,492). To the northeast at the borders between Tajikistan, Afghanistan and China is the vast Pamir plateau, which peaks are over 7,000 meters (Monte Kungur, 7,719 meters).

To the southeast of the Pamir are the imposing mountains of Karakoram and Himalaya, forming an arc, in the direction of east-west, about 2400 km long, in these mountains are the highest peaks on the planet Earth, between these fourteen peaks exceed the 8,000 meters, they culminate with Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world (8,848 meters). In eastern Pamir, there is Kunlun chain, which extends to 3,000 km reaching the maximum elevation with Mount Muztag (7,723 meters).

The Kunlun and Himalaya mountains surround to the north and to the south the immense Tibet Plateau, where the average altitude is more than 4,000 m. To the northeast of the Pamir are the major relif of the Tian Shan mountains, which stretch for 2,500 km, with peaks reaching 7,439 meters with Pik Pobedy. Major volcanic structures are in the range of islands ranging from Indonesia (Semeru, Kelut, Merapi, Tengger in Java, Gunung Agung in Bali; Rinjani in Lombok) to the Kamcatka peninsula (Ichinsky, Kamen, Klyuchevskaya Sopka, Koryaksky, Kronotsky, Tolbachik, Ushkovsky), passing through the Philippines (Mayon, Pinatubo and Taal) and Japan (Fuji).


From the Hydrographic point of view, Asia, is home to seven of the twelve longer rivers in the world. Flow in the Arctic Ocean the large rivers that cross Siberia, among all Siberian rivers, the longest is the Ob, which with its tributary the Irtys form the fifth river system for length of the world (5,410 km).

The Irtys alone, moreover, is the ninth in the world for length 4,440 km. The Lena (4.400 km) and the Jenisej (4.092 km) are two other great Siberian rivers which flow in the Arctic Ocean. Flow in the Pacific: the Amur (4,416 km), the Huang He (4,845 km, 6th river in the world for length), the Chang Jiang (6,300 km, 3rd river in the world for length) and Mekong (4,500 km). Flow in the Indian Ocean three major rivers in the Indian subcontinent: the Indo (3,180 km), the Brahmaputra (2,900 km) and the Ganges (2,700 km). Among the biggest lakes is the Caspian Sea (371.000 sq km), the largest lake in the world, followed by size Aral Lake (41,000 square kilometers, but now reduced to only 17 000 sqkm) and Bajkal (31,500 square kilometers), that at 1,637 meters, it’s the deepest lake in the world.


Among the islands, Asia includes a large number, including some of the largest in the world, such as Borneo (736,000 sq km, the 3rd largest island in the world), Sumatra (420,000 sq km, 6th largest island in the world) and the island of Honshū, Japan (227,414 sq km). Other islands are Java and Celebes (Sulawesi) in the Indonesian Islands, Luzon and Mindanao in the Philippines, Hainan and Formosa (Taiwan) in the China Sea, the Japanese islands, Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The smallest are the archipelagos of Maldives, Lakshadweep, Andamans and Nicobar in India, or the Curili islands located between the Kamcatka peninsula and Japan.


Because of its vastness and its morphology, Asia presents many types of climate. There are areas, such as the area of Siberia and of Tibet plateau, with a climate characterized by low rainfall, long and hard winters and short summers. Very dry, with rigid winters and torrid summers is the climate of most of the interior parts of the continent as the deserts of the Gobi and Taklimakan. Southwest Asia from the Indus plains to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea has a climate typical of the semi-arid steppes with low rainfall and high temperatures.

Much of the southern regions of the continent, including southern China and India are affected by a monsoon climate with fresh and dry winters, and hot and humid summers, with significant precipitation in the summer months. Finally along the equator is a hot and humid climate with rains evenly distributed throughout the year.


With regard to tourism, according to the statistics of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), Asia with 190,000,000 arrivals of tourists in 2006 accounts for 22.5% of world tourism. The most visited countries in Asia are China, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand. The vast Asian territory presents numerouses tourist attractions: scenic, cultural, ethnic, historical. In addition, we can say that, from a total of 936 sites (data updated to 2011) declared by UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 237 (25,32%) are in Asia.

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