Kyrgyzstan is a rugged Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean.
The official name of the country is the Kyrgyz Republic.
The official languages of Kyrgyzstan are Kyrgyz and Russian.
As of 1 January 2016, the population of Kyrgyzstan was estimated to be 5,990,006 people.
Kyrgyzstan is one of the smaller Central Asian states. The national territory extends about 900 kilometers (600 miles) from east to west and 410 kilometers (255 miles) from north to south.
Kyrgyzstan has a total area of 199,900 square kilometers (77,182 square miles).
Bishkek is the capital and largest city of the Kyrgyz Republic. Bishkek is an interesting example of a czarist planned city; laid on a grid with wide boulevards flanked by irrigation canals and large trees, buildings with marble façades, and Soviet apartment complexes.
Over 90% of Kyrgyzstan is dominated by massive, rugged mountain ranges, including the Alai, Kirghiz and Tien Shan, and their associated valleys and basins. Large areas of those mountain regions are covered by glaciers.
The highest peak in Kyrgyzstan is Jengish Chokusu [photo below] at 7,439 meters (24,406 feet) and the lowest point is Kara-Daryya at 132 meters (433 feet).
Kyrgyzstan’s average elevation is 2,750 meters (9,022 feet). Almost 90% of the country stands above 1,500 meters; (4,921 feet) 71% is above 2,000 meters; and almost 35% of the land is higher than 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) above sea level.
The protected areas of Kyrgyzstan cover 1,189,360 hectares (2,938,972 acres) and account for 6.3% of the country’s total area.
There are 11 national parks in Kyrgyzstan.
The Ala Archa National Park is an alpine national park in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, established in 1976 and located approximately 40 kilometers south of the capital city of Bishkek. It is the most popular national park inKyrgyzstan.
The Sulayman Mountain is located in the city of Osh and was once a major place of Muslim and pre-Muslim pilgrimage.The rock rises abruptly from the surrounding plains of the Fergana Valley and is a popular place among locals and visitors, with a splendid view. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
Kyrgyzstan has 3 UNESCO world heritage sites.
Issyk-Kul is an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. It is the tenth largest lake in the world by volume (though not in surface area), and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea.Issyk-Kul means “warm lake” in the Kyrgyz language; although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Kyrgyzstan.
The Burana Tower is a large minaret in the Chuy Valley in northern Kyrgyzstan. The tower, along with grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums, is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century.
The native Kyrgyz are a Turkic people who first settled in the Tien Shan mountains. They were traditionally pastoral nomads. In the 15th and 16 centuries the Kyrgyz Republic was formed and it independently until the 19th century. The Kyrgyz came under tsarist Russian rule during the 19th century, and thousands of Slavic farmers migrated into the region. Kyrgyzstan gained independence in 1991.
Kyrgyz cuisine is similar in many aspects to that of their neighbors, particularly Kazakh cuisine. Traditional Kyrgyz food revolves around mutton, beef and horse meat, as well as various dairy products.
Beshbarmak is the Kyrgyz national dish, although it is also common in Kazakhstan and in Xinjiang (where it is called narin). It consists of horse meat (and sometimes mutton or beef) boiled in its own broth for several hours and served over homemade noodles sprinkled with parsley and coriand.
A popular drink in Kyrgyzstan is “kumyz” which is made from fermented horse milk.
The only country that is bordering Kyrgyzstan with a name not ending in -stan is China.
Kyrgyzstan is one of the world’s least crowded countries!
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous, landlocked country and as such it is relatively poor and has an economy based on agriculture. Its main agricultural products are tobacco, cotton, potatoes, vegetables, grapes, fruits, sheep, goats, cattle and wool.
The name of Kyrgyzstan comes from a word in the Kyrgyz language meaning “we are forty”, thought to be a reference to the original 40 clans which unified to form the country.
The flag of Kyrgyzstan features a yellow sun with 40 uniformly spaced rays in the center of a red background.