Information about Kyrgyzstan

General information about Kyrgyzstan

Kyr­gyzs­tan – is the Cen­tral Asian coun­try of an incred­i­ble nat­ur­al beau­ty nomadic tra­di­tions. Unlike its Himalayan or South Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts of lit­er­ary fame, Kyr­gyzs­tan – or The Kyr­gyz Repub­lic to give it its offi­cial title – is real, but its beau­ty and untamed wild­ness are the stuff of oral leg­ends.

It is said that every­thing in life can be found in Kyr­gyzs­tan both phys­i­cal­ly and geo­graph­i­cal­ly. There are flat steppes, arid deserts, green, rolling foothills, plung­ing ravines with tur­bu­lent, froth­ing rivers, water­falls cas­cad­ing from the sides of sheer moun­tain faces, won­drous nut and fir forests full of some of the most beau­ti­ful – and endan­gered – species in the world, end­less grass-cov­ered high moun­tain pas­tures, alpine mead­ows that make Switzerland’s mead­ows look like small well-tend­ed parks and stag­ger­ing­ly beau­ti­ful snow-cov­ered moun­tain peaks sit­ting atop some of the most dif­fi­cult – and reward­ing – climbs in the moun­taineer­ing world. This is a land where vul­tures and eagles soar.

See­ing is believ­ing and the only way you can ever expe­ri­ence the true delights of this small, seclud­ed moun­tain­ous coun­try – by Asian stan­dards – is to vis­it it. Words alone can­not do jus­tice to the vari­ety of sights and sounds – and tru­ly awe­some silences – that await you.

Geographical position

Kyr­gyzs­tan is a land­locked coun­try in Cen­tral Asia, bor­der­ing Kaza­khstan, Chi­na, Tajik­istan and Uzbek­istan. It lies between lat­i­tudes 39° and 44° N, and lon­gi­tudes 69° and 81° E. It is far­ther from an ocean than any oth­er coun­try in the world although it does not con­tain the absolute far­thest point from any ocean. That spot lies in the Xin­jiang region of North­west­ern Chi­na. The moun­tain­ous region of the Tian Shan cov­ers over 80% of the coun­try (Kyr­gyzs­tan is occa­sion­al­ly referred to as “Switzer­land of Cen­tral Asia”, as a result) with the remain­der made up of val­leys and basins.

In Kyr­gyzs­tan there are about 2,000 lakes locat­ed at dif­fer­ent heights above sea lev­el. The largest lake in Kyr­gyzs­tan and the sec­ond largest moun­tain lake in the world after Lake Titika­ki is Lake Issyk-Kul, which is called the “Pearl” of Kyr­gyzs­tan. Crys­tal clear water, warm­ing up to 24 degrees in the sum­mer, attracts many tourists both inside Kyr­gyzs­tan and from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries. The max­i­mum depth of Issyk-Kul reach­es 702 meters. Issyk-Kul Lake is locat­ed in the north­east of the Tien Shan.

The high­est peaks are in the Kok­shaal-Too ridge, form­ing the bor­der with Chi­na. Vic­to­ry Peak, at an alti­tude of 7,439 m (24,406 ft), is the high­est point in Kyr­gyzs­tan and is con­sid­ered by geol­o­gists to be the north­ern­most peak at an alti­tude of more than 7,000 m (22,966 ft) in the world.

Kyr­gyzs­tan has sig­nif­i­cant met­al reserves, includ­ing gold and rare earth met­als. Due to the coun­try’s pre­dom­i­nant­ly moun­tain­ous ter­rain, less than 8% of the land is cul­ti­vat­ed, and these lands are con­cen­trat­ed in the north­ern low­lands and out­skirts of the Fer­ghana Val­ley.

Bishkek is the cap­i­tal and largest city with a pop­u­la­tion of more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple. The sec­ond largest city is the ancient city of Osh, locat­ed in the Fer­ghana Val­ley near the bor­der with Uzbek­istan. Osh city is called the south­ern cap­i­tal.


GMT + 6 hours – The coun­try does not fol­low the Day­light Sav­ing Time.


The moun­tain­ous ter­rain, dis­tance from the sea and desert out­skirts give Kyr­gyzs­tan what can only be described as a harsh con­ti­nen­tal cli­mate, with a big changes in tem­per­a­ture occur­ing over short peri­ods of time. The wettest place is the west slope of the Fer­gana Range with 1,000 mm, whilst the dri­est is Balykchy on the west­ern tip of Issyk-Kul Lake with 100 mm of pre­cip­i­ta­tion. The aver­age tem­per­a­ture through­out the coun­try in Jan­u­ary varies between – 4°C to – 14°C and in July between + 12°C and + 40°C and there is an aver­age of 247 days of sun­shine a year.


The fact that 94% of Kyr­gyzs­tan is cov­ered by moun­tains pro­duces great vari­a­tions in the geo­graph­i­cal, topo­graph­i­cal appear­ance of the coun­try. The low­est val­ley floor is itself 500 metres above sea lev­el and the high­est peaks soar to more than 7,000 metres above sea lev­el in the mighty Tien Shan Range. These mighty peaks are world renowned and are part of the exclu­sive list of 7,000 metre plus peaks of the world – Pobe­da Peak (Vic­to­ry Peak) 7,439m, Lenin Peak 7,134m and the leg­endary Khan-Ten­gry (7010m) – the white/pink mar­ble pyra­mid held sacred by Kyr­gyz through the ages.

Moun­tain lakes abound and arguably one of the most beau­ti­ful series of lakes any­where in the world can be found at Sary Chelek in a nation­al park. To see this is to behold the true beau­ty of nature. The ‘Pearl of the Heav­en­ly Moun­tains’ – or Issyk-Kul Lake – is the sec­ond largest high moun­tain lake in the world, sec­ond only to Lake Tit­i­ca­ca in size and is so big it has its own unique bios­phere. Although forests cov­er only a small area of Kyr­gyzs­tan the tru­ly unique indige­nous wal­nut tree forests of Arslan-bob are war­rant a vis­it on their own.


Offi­cial sta­tis­tics have about 6 mil­lion inhab­i­tants. Among them are Kyr­gyz, Uzbeks, Rus­sians, Ukraini­ans, Kaza­khs, Kore­ans, Tatars, Tajiks, Uighurs, Dun­gans. The aver­age den­si­ty through­out the coun­try is 21 peo­ple per square kilo­me­ter.


Kyr­gyzs­tan is one of the for­mer Sovi­et republics in Cen­tral Asia, which has retained Russ­ian as the offi­cial lan­guage, and Kyr­gyz as the state lan­guage.

Kyr­gyz is a mem­ber of the Tur­kic lan­guage group. It was writ­ten in the Ara­bic alpha­bet until the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. Latin writ­ing was intro­duced and adopt­ed in 1928, and then was replaced by Cyril­lic in 1941.


Islam is the dom­i­nant reli­gion in Kyr­gyzs­tan: 80% of the pop­u­la­tion are Mus­lims.

Political system

Kyr­gyzs­tan has its own Con­sti­tu­tion, Pres­i­dent, Prime Min­is­ter, Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters and Par­lia­ment (Jogorku Kenesh).

The Pres­i­dent holds the reins of pow­er via the President’s Admin­is­tra­tion and can dis­solve the Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters at will, while the Prime Min­is­ter has very lim­it­ed, almost token pow­ers.

Administrative divisions

Oblast – Kyr­gyzs­tan is divid­ed into 7 Oblasts (provinces) each with its own Guber­na­tor (Gov­ern­er) and each oblast is fur­ther sub­di­vid­ed into Rayons, (dis­tricts), with 40 of them in total. The cap­i­tal Bishkek is recog­nised as a sep­a­rate enti­ty, and has its own inde­pen­dent city admin­is­tra­tion.


After the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Union, the econ­o­my has under­gone enor­mous changes and con­tin­ues to grow. The cen­tral­ized econ­o­my has been com­plete­ly replaced by a free mar­ket econ­o­my. Agri­cul­ture has been and remains the largest area in the econ­o­my.

Due to the abun­dance of moun­tain rivers and water resources, hydropow­er is devel­oped in Kyr­gyzs­tan. Elec­tric­i­ty export con­tin­ues to grow every year and is lim­it­ed only by the lim­it­ed capac­i­ty of BT lines from the coun­try. How­ev­er, unlike oth­er Cen­tral Asian coun­tries, Kyr­gyzs­tan does not have large oil and gas reserves. There are large reserves of coal, but at present access to them is very dif­fi­cult due to their loca­tion in moun­tain­ous areas, and trans­porta­tion costs make them impos­si­ble to sell. There are also large gold deposits in Kyr­gyzs­tan. Gold is one of the demand­ed resources, and cur­rent­ly there are more than 130 min­ing com­pa­nies in the coun­try.

Tourism is a dynam­i­cal­ly devel­op­ing area of the Kyr­gyz econ­o­my. Every year, more and more guests and tourists vis­it Kyr­gyzs­tan.
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