Kyrgyzstan is a country of natural contrasts. High mountains covered with glaciers give way to fertile valleys, a countless number of rivers flow through these valleys, indescribably beautiful lakes on snowy peaks – all this is Kyrgyzstan.
The Great Silk Road passed through the territory of Kyrgyzstan, and you can still see the ruins of caravanserais and settlements along this route. Not only were goods for sale, but also the knowledge, traditions and customs of other countries were carried through this “highway” of the past. Perhaps that is why diverse cultures closely intertwined in Kyrgyzstan: nomadic life – its elements still preserved in the mountain pastures, and a sedentary life – evidence of which is still being found by Turkic and European archaeologists.
The pearl of Kyrgyzstan is Lake Issyk-Kul, ice-free all year. Still today in Kyrgyzstan there are many perfectly preserved monuments of ancient civilizations; the sacred mountain Suleiman (“Solomon”) in Osh, the relic walnut forests of Arslan Baba – the largest in the world -, hot thermal waters in Jalal-Abad, caravanserai Tash Rabat, Burana Tower, the world’s largest concentration of petroglyphs in Saimaluu Tash. The Republic is located in the center of the Eurasian continent, at the intersection of air communications between East and West, North and South.
Kirghizstan is located in the north-eastern part of Central Asia, occupying the area of Tian-Shan and the northern range of Pamir-Altay mountains. The borders are mainly natural boundaries – the edges of the high mountain ranges and rivers, but in some places they fall on the plains of Chuy, Talas and Fergana valley.
Area: 198.5 thousand square km. (86th place in the world). 94 % of the territory is covered by mountains. The area measures 900 km from west to east, 420 km from north to south. It has common borders with Kazakhstan from the north (1113 km), with China from the east and south east (1048 km), with Tajikistan from the south-west (972 km), with Uzbekistan from the west (1374 km).
The highest point from sea level is Pobeda with an altitude of 7439 m. (the most northern 7000 meter peak on earth).
The lowest point from sea level is the Leylek region 401 m.
The population is 5,576,600, of which 33.6% are urban, 66.4% rural.
Average life expectancy: 70.6
Administrative-territorial division: 7 regions
The capital is Bishkek with a population of 923,000.
Religion: Islam 75%, Orthodox Christianity 20 %, 5% other religions.
State language: Kyrgyz language, Russian is also important
National currency: Som (1 som = 100 tiyin)
Time zone: UTC/GMT + 5
Climate: Extreme continental. In Kyrgyzstan the summer is very hot, and winter is cold in mountainous regions. There are all types of natural zones typical to the northern hemisphere – except tropical. The hottest regions are the valleys and foothill belts of Osh, Djalalabad and Batken (annual average temperature is +11-13° C), the mountainous are the coldest regions (-8° C). The normal temperature in January is -1°C to -8°C in the plains and -27°C in the mountains, in July the temperature varies from +15°C to +27°C in the plains and +5°C in the mountains. The annual rainfall is 180 mm in the east and 1000 mm in the south-west. The greatest drought occurs in the western part of Issyk-Kul Lake 100 mm.
Nature: Mountains and deep intermountain basins forming a labyrinth alternate. The vegetation in most of the plains is desert, in the mountains there are steppes, forests, alpine meadows, meadow-steppes, tundra and mountain swamps.
Natural resources: Kyrgyzstan is very rich in natural mineral resources: gold, mercury, antimony, rare grounds, tin, tungsten, coal, non-metallic raw materials, and ground water. Iron, titanium, vanadium, aluminum, copper, molybdenum, and beryllium are all mined. This should not exclude the industrial significance of tantalum-niobate, cobalt, zirconium, lithium, and colored stones.
Water resources: Kyrgyzstan is a unique country in Central Asia, as its water sources spring entirely from within its territory. It is a great advantage for Kyrgyzstan to have these significant resources of underground and surface waters; their reservoirs are in the rivers, glaciers and perpetual snow areas. In the republic there are more than 3500 rivers with small rivers belonging to the major basins of Sir–darya, Amu-darya, Chu, Talas, Ili, Tarim and Issyk-Kul Lake. Glaciers and snow areas cover 4.1% of Kirghizstan.
Tourism: Eco-tourism to places untouched by civilization is an opportunity to see the country’s pristine nature and get acquainted with the customs and culture of the people who have preserved their traditions for centuries.
Kyrgyzstan is one of the most interesting countries in the world for fans of eco-tourism. You can visit the huge number of reserves and national parks, observe wild animals listed in a Red Book, and see rare sorts of plants, some of them occurring only in Kyrgyzstan. The Republic has 6 national parks, 8 state natural national parks, 10 forests, 23 botanical, 17 geological, 15 hunting and one Biosphere Reserve, which includes a whole Issyk-Kul region.
The Issyk-Kul region was declared a Biosphere territory; it received official recognition by UNESCO and has been included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The State Park “Kara-Shoro” in the Osh region, in addition to the variety listed in the Red Book of Kyrgyzstan, is widely known for its healing mineral water. The State Park “Kyrgyz-Ata” retains the unique fir tree forests of the south. In Kyrgyzstan, eco-tourism is closely connected with ethnographic tourism.
National and public holidays Kyrgyzstan
January 1 – New Year;
January 7 – Orthodox Christmas;
February 23 – Day of Defenders of the Motherland;
March 8 – International Women’s Day;
March 21 – Navruz;
May 1 – International Labor Day;
May 5 – Constitution Day;
May 9 – Memorial Day;
August 31 – Independence Day;
November 7 – the Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution;
Religious holidays with varying dates:
Ramazan Hait; Kurban Hait.
The National flag of Kirghizstan is a red background and in the center a sun with 40 rays. Inside the solar disk there is a red tyundyuk Kyrgyz yurt. The single red color of the flag symbolizes the bravery and courage of the Kyrgyz people, the golden sun with its rays represents peace and wealth, and the tyundyuk is a symbol of his father’s house, in a wider sense a symbol of the world as a universe.
Forty rays united in a circle represent the union of the forty ancient tribes into one Kyrgyzstan. Tyundyuk symbolizes the unity of the people living in the country. The red color was the color of the flag of generous Manas (Manas is a hero from the Kyrgyz epic of the same name).
The National emblem of Kyrgyzstan is shown with the gyrfalcon of Manas with outstretched wings, symbolizing the freedom of the country. There is also another symbol of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan – Issyk-Kul Lake surrounded by the high rocky ridges of Ala-Too. Sunlit white mountain peaks are a symbol of the pride the Kyrgyz feel for their native country`s beauty, its contours are reminiscent of the white kolpak traditional Kyrgyz headdress. The national emblem of the Republic of Kyrghyztan was approved on 14 January 1994 by the Jogorku Kengesh (Kyrgyz Parliament).
Phone code of Kyrgyzstan: +996 (8-10 996)
Bishkek: 31; Osh: 32; Djalalabad: 37; Karakol: 39; Narin: 35; Talas: 34; Cholpon-Ota: 3943