(CNN) — What comes to mind when you think of Afghanistan? War, famine, deprivation?
What about Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan? Could you even locate these countries on the map?
Dutch traveler Thijs Broekkamp is on a mission to change the Western perception of the Stans, one photograph at a time.
Broekkamp spent three months last year traveling through Central Asia — crisscrossing Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan — documenting sights and experiences with his camera.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to go to the corner on the world map that really fascinates me, but I don’t know anything about — which were the Stans,'” Broekkamp tells CNN Travel.
From wandering eerie Soviet ghost towns to experiencing incredible hospitality from total strangers, Broekkamp’s trip gave him an insight into this region of the world — and he took social media users on the journey with him, via The Stans Project.
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