Persian Culture in Central Asia

Central Asia right now has two different cultures that are influencing it, Russian/Slavic in the North and Persian in the South.  I find this all very interesting and so I would like to share with you how it cam to be this way.

Back thousands of years ago, Ancient Persia controlled the territory needed to go from east to west.  This is meaningful because along with trading items, you are also trading aspects of culture, and much of thistrading was done in Central Asia.  This also allowed them to spread much of their culture and allowed many people around the world to adopt it.

You also have to remember that once the Mongols broke up, the Persian Region was under control of the Golden Horde, who were Persian and controlled most, if not all of Central Asia.

Then you must look at the cultural and linguistic influence.  Turkic culture in Central Asia is very similar from Persian Culture and borrows many aspect of it.  Their language is also very close to Farsi.  In Ottoman-Turkish, there was about 88% similarity with Farsi and Arabic.  Persian Culture also influenced their traditional music and their Arts.

Now the competing influence has been Slavic culture for the past few hundred years.  In the 1860’s Russian acquired most of Central Asia through military campaigns and held on to them tightly.  They had been, officially, part of the Russian Empire in 1887 after a failed conquest of Afghanistan.  They then changed hands to the Soviet Union in the 1920’s and were given greater autonomy.  Although they were a bit more separated, they were still under the heel of the Soviets.  They had to make their official language Russian and convert all of their alphabets to the Cyrillic one.  This Period of Russian and Slavic influence was not long enough to leave and massive mark on the region, but it defiantly changed a few things.   For example, their, mostly Turkic languages has had a minor Russian Influence, but many people who were born during Soviet Times and now are fluent or have a working knowledge of Russian.

After  the USSR dissolved, the Central Asian countries are trying to connect with their Persian and Turkic roots after years of Slavic influence and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

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