Encompassing a part of the world reaching from Kazakhstan, southwest of Russia, to the islands off the southern tip of India, and from Iran eastwards to Bangladesh - south-central Asia is geographically stunning, culturally historic and politically turbulent. Covering such a large area, south-central Asia features many climatic regions, from hot/wet tropical to hot/dry desert conditions. In terms of landscape, the region incorporates vast areas of flat steppe in the north giving way to deserts and the mighty Himalayas of Northern India and Nepal. To the west, in Afghanistan, the terrain is harsh, rugged and mountainous, diminishing gradually towards Iran. The further one heads south in the region, the more sub-tropical the climate becomes, with Sri Lanka and the Maldives experiencing practically tropical conditions.