Tajikistan (officially the Republic of Tajikistan), is a mountainous landlocked sovereign country in Central Asia. With an estimated 8 million people in 2013, it is the 98th most populous country and with an area covering 143,100 km2, it is the 96th largest country in the world in terms of area. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east.
The territory that now constitutes Tajikistan was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the city of Sarazm of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including the Oxus civilization, Andronovo culture, Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Manichaeism. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid Empire, Hephthalite Empire, Samanid Empire, Mongol Empire, Timurid dynasty, and the Russian Empire. As a result of the breakup of the Soviet Union Tajikistan became an independent nation in 1991.