From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Asia Portal
The Asia Portal
Main   Geography   Projects

Asia (/ˈʒə/ , UK also /ˈʃə/) is the largest continent in the world by both land area and population. It covers an area of more than 44 million square kilometers, about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8% of Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Its 4.7 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population, having more people than all other continents combined.

Asia shares the landmass of Eurasia with Europe, and of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. In general terms, it is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the north by the Arctic Ocean. The border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It is somewhat arbitrary and has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity. The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. A commonly accepted division places Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa; and to the east of the Turkish Straits, the Ural Mountains and Ural River, and to the south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black seas, separating it from Europe.

China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1,800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, and for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce, exploration and colonialism. The accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism (particularly East Asia) as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions. (Full article...)

Featured article

Front side of the main complex

Angkor Wat (/ˌæŋkɔːr ˈwɒt/; Khmer: អង្គរវត្ត, "City/Capital of Temples") is a temple complex in Cambodia, located on a site measuring 162.6 hectares (1,626,000 m2; 402 acres). The Guinness World Records considers it as the largest religious structure in the world. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire by King Suryavarman II during the 12th century, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the century; as such, it is also described as a "Hindu-Buddhist" temple.

Angkor Wat was built at the behest of the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura (Khmer: យសោធរបុរៈ, present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple-mountain and the later galleried temple. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat more than 5 kilometres (3 mi) long and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs, and for the numerous devatas adorning its walls. The modern name Angkor Wat, alternatively Nokor Wat, means "Temple City" or "City of Temples" in Khmer. Angkor (អង្គរ ângkôr) meaning "city" or "capital city", is a vernacular form of the word nokor (នគរ nôkôr), which comes from the Sanskrit/Pali word nagara (Devanāgarī: नगर). Wat (វត្ត vôtt) is the word for "temple grounds", also derived from Sanskrit/Pali vāṭa (Devanāgarī: वाट), meaning "enclosure". (Full article...)
List of Featured articles

Selected Country

Cyprus (/ˈsprəs/ SY-prəss), officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country situated in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies between the continental mainlands of Europe and Asia, but is culturally and geopolitically Southeast European. Cyprus is the third-largest and third-most populous island in the Mediterranean. It shares a land border with the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia; otherwise, Cyprus is located north of Egypt, east of Greece, south of Turkey, and west of Lebanon and Syria. Since the Turkish Invasion of 1974, Cyprus exerts no de-facto control of its northeasternmost territory, which is instead governed by the internationally disputed state of Northern Cyprus. Nicosia is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Limassol.

Cyprus possesses a history that is among the most ancient in the world. The earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC; it is home to some of the oldest water wells on record. The island's most prominent Neolithic settlement is Khirokitia, notable for being proof of the existence of structured societies residing in fortified villages, practicing communal farming. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in the 2nd millennium BC, who left a lasting impact on the island's culture, language, and architecture; to this day the majority of Cypriots identify as ethnic Greeks, and Cyprus is the only country other than Greece where Modern Greek is an official language. (Full article...)

Featured biography

Choe Bu (Korean: 최부, 1454–1504) was a Korean diarist, historian, politician, and travel writer during the early Joseon Dynasty. He was most well known for the account of his shipwrecked travels in China from February to July 1488, during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). He was eventually banished from the Joseon court in 1498 and executed in 1504 during two political purges. However, in 1506 he was exonerated and given posthumous honors by the Joseon court.

Choe's diary accounts of his travels in China became widely printed during the 16th century in both Korea and Japan. Modern historians also refer to his written works, since his travel diary provides a unique outsider's perspective on Chinese culture in the 15th century. The attitudes and opinions expressed in his writing represent in part the standpoints and views of the 15th century Confucian Korean literati, who viewed Chinese culture as compatible with and similar to their own. His description of cities, people, customs, cuisines, and maritime commerce along China's Grand Canal provides insight into the daily life of China and how it differed between northern and southern China during the 15th century. (Full article...)

General images

The following are images from various Asia-related articles on Wikipedia.

Featured picture

Guhyasamāja tantra
Guhyasamāja tantra
Credit: Unknown
A 17th century Central Tibetan thangka (painted or embroidered banner) of Guhyasamaja Akshobhyavajra, from the Guhyasamāja tantra, a tantra whose practice is important to many schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Guhyasamaja ("Secret Assembly") tantra was developed at an early date in history to aid the Buddhist practitioner in understanding and practicing Tantric Buddhism to attain enlightenment. These are the basic texts of the Tantric—an esoteric and highly symbolic—form of Buddhism, which developed in India and became dominant in Tibet.

Did you know...

Updated: 1:33, 20 March 2022

In the news

3 October 2023 –
One person is killed and 17 others are injured in a magnitude 5.7 earthquake in Dipayal Silgadhi, Nepal. (Shilapatra) (Reuters via Geo News)
3 October 2023 – Siam Paragon shooting
Two people are killed and six others are injured in a mass shooting at the Siam Paragon shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand. The 14-year-old suspect is arrested. (Al Jazeera)
2 October 2023 – Kurdish–Turkish conflict
Turkey launches airstrikes against around 20 PKK targets in northern Iraq, in response to the PKK's bombing of Ankara, killing an unknown number of militants. (AP)
2 October 2023 –
Three Filipino fishermen are killed and eleven others survive after their vessel collides with an unidentified foreign merchant ship near the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. (CNN)
30 September 2023 – Papua conflict
Five Free Papua Movement militants are killed during a shootout with Indonesian soldiers and police officers in the Papua province. (AP)
29 September 2023 – Insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Five people are killed and ten others are injured by two suicide bombers at a mosque in Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. (Al Jazeera)

More current events...

Related portals

Major Religions in Asia

Middle East

Central Asia and Surroundings

Indian Subcontinent

Southeast Asia

East Asia

Selected panorama

150pxBangkok skyline
150pxBangkok skyline
Credit: Benh Lieu Song

The Ratchaprasong and Sukhumvit skylines of Bangkok, the capital of and largest city in Thailand, with Lumphini Park in the center, as viewed from the Sathon District. Known in Thai as Krung Thep ("city of angels"), it became the capital in 1768 after the destruction of Ayutthaya by Burmese invaders.



Category puzzle
Category puzzle
Select [►] to view subcategories

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

More portals

Discover Wikipedia using portals