Kyrgyzstan
Overview
 
Kyrgyzstan officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states (along with Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

). Located in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, landlocked
Landlocked
A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are 48 landlocked countries in the world, including partially recognized states...

 and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 to the north, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 to the west, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 to the southwest and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 to the east. Its capital
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 and largest city is Bishkek
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

.

Kyrgyzstan is officially a democratic parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

.
Encyclopedia
Kyrgyzstan officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states (along with Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

). Located in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, landlocked
Landlocked
A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are 48 landlocked countries in the world, including partially recognized states...

 and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 to the north, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 to the west, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 to the southwest and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 to the east. Its capital
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 and largest city is Bishkek
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

.

Kyrgyzstan is officially a democratic parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

. A revolution in April 2010 overthrew the former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev is a politician who served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010...

 and resulted in the adoption of a new constitution
Constitution of Kyrgyzstan
The Constitution of Kyrgyzstan is the supreme law of the Kyrgyz Republic . The constitution in force until 2010 was passed by referendum on 21 October 2007 and it is based on the first post-Soviet constitution originally adopted on 5 May 1993, a year and a half after the country had gained...

 and the appointment of an interim government. Recent presidential elections were held in November 2011.

Kyrgyzstan is one of the six independent Turkic states. It is one of the active members of the Turkic Council
Turkic Council
The Turkic Council is an international organization comprising Turkic countries. It was founded on 3 October 2009 in Nakhchivan. The General Secretariat is in İstanbul, Turkey. The member countries are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. The remaining two Turkic states, Turkmenistan and...

 and the TÜRKSOY community. The national language, Kyrgyz
Kyrgyz language
Kyrgyz or Kirgiz, also Kirghiz, Kyrghiz, Qyrghiz is a Turkic language and, together with Russian, an official language of Kyrgyzstan...

, is also closely related to the other Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

, with which it shares strong cultural and historical ties
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

.

Additionally, Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

, the Eurasian Economic Community
Eurasian Economic Community
The Eurasian Economic Community originated from the Commonwealth of Independent States customs union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan on 29 March 1996...

, the Non-aligned movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Etymology

"Kyrgyz" is believed to have been derived from the Turkic word for "forty", in reference to the forty clans of Manas
Epic of Manas
The Epic of Manas is a traditional epic poem claimed by the Kyrgyz people dating to the 18th century, though it is possibly much older. In some earlier versions, however, Manas is identified as Nogay. This opens the possibility of Manas having spoken a dialect of Turki similar to that of the...

, a legendary hero who united forty regional clans against the Uyghers. Literally it means We are forty. At the time, in the early 9th century AD, the Uyghers dominated much of Central Asia (including Kyrgyzstan), Mongolia, and parts of Russia and China.

The 40-ray sun on the flag of Kyrgyzstan
Flag of Kyrgyzstan
The flag of Kyrgyzstan was adopted on 3 March 1992 by the Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan. It consists of a red field with a yellow sun in the center having 40 uniformly spaced rays...

 is a reference to those same forty tribes and the graphical element in the sun's center depicts the wooden crown of a yurt
Yurt
A yurt is a portable, bent wood-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a crown or compression wheel usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall...

 – a portable dwelling traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.

Early history

According to David C. King, "Scythians were early settlers in present-day Kyrgyzstan"

As early as by the 7th century, Turkic traders introduced Islam to Central Asia, including what is now Kyrgyzstan, through doing business with Arabic people. The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after, under the leadership of Jordan the Superior, defeating the Uyghur
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

 Khanate in 840 A.D. Then the Kyrgyz quickly moved as far as the Tian Shan
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

 range and maintained their dominance over this territory for about 200 years.

In the twelfth century, however, the Kyrgyz dominion had shrunk to the Altay
Altay Mountains
The Altai Mountains are a mountain range in East-Central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their sources. The Altai Mountains are known as the original locus of the speakers of Turkic as well as other members of the proposed...

 Range and Sayan Mountains
Sayan Mountains
The Sayan Mountains are a mountain range between northwestern Mongolia and southern Siberia, Russia.The Eastern Sayan extends from the Yenisei River at 92° E to the southwest end of Lake Baikal at 106° E...

 as a result of the Mongol expansion
Mongols before Genghis Khan
The Mongol tribes emerged from an area which had been inhabited by humans as far back as the Stone Age, over 100,000 years ago. The peoples there went through the bronze age and iron age, then forming tribal alliances and beginning to battle with China...

. With the rise of the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 in the thirteenth century, the Kyrgyz migrated south. The Kyrgyz were conquered
Mongol invasion of Central Asia
The Mongol invasion of Central Asia occurred after the unification of the Mongol and Turkic tribes on Mongolian plateau in 1206. It finally completed when Genghis Khan conquered the Khwarizmian Empire in 1221....

 by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 in 1207.

Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 and Muslim sources of the 7th–12th centuries AD describe the early Kyrgyz as red-haired with white skin and blue eyes, which is indicative of ancient Iranic mountain tribes like the Pamiri people or Dardic people. The descent of the Kyrgyz from the autochthonous Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n population is confirmed on the other hand by the recent genetic studies. Because of the processes of migration, conquest, intermarriage, and assimilation, many of the Kyrgyz peoples that now inhabit Central and Southwest Asia are of mixed origins, often stemming from fragments of many different tribes, though they speak closely related languages.

Issyk Kul Lake was a stopover on the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

, a land route for traders, merchants and other travelers from the Far East to Europe. Many historians believe that the lake was the point of origin for the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 that plagued Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 during the early and mid-14th century.

Kyrgyz tribes were overrun in the 17th century by the Mongol Oirats
Oirats
Oirats are the westernmost group of the Mongols who unified several tribes origin whose ancestral home is in the Altai region of western Mongolia. Although the Oirats originated in the eastern parts of Central Asia, the most prominent group today is located in the Republic of Kalmykia, a federal...

, in the mid-18th century by the Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

 Qing Dynasty, and in the early 19th century by the Uzbek Khanate of Kokand
Khanate of Kokand
The Khanate of Kokand was a state in Central Asia that existed from 1709–1883 within the territory of modern eastern Uzbekistan, southern Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan...

.

Russian era

In the late nineteenth century, the majority part of what is today Kyrgyzstan was ceded to Russia through two treaties between China (then Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

) and Russia. The territory, then known in Russian as "Kirgizia", was formally incorporated into the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in 1876. The Russian takeover was met with numerous revolts against Tsarist authority, and many of the Kyrgyz opted to move to the Pamir Mountains
Pamir Mountains
The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction or knot of the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Hindu Kush ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains and since Victorian times they have been known as the "Roof of the World" a probable...

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

In addition, the suppression of the 1916 rebellion against Russian rule in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 caused many Kyrgyz later to migrate to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. Since many ethnic groups in the region were (and still are) split between neighboring states at a time when borders were more porous and less regulated, it was common to move back and forth over the mountains, depending on where life was perceived as better; this might mean better rains for pasture or better government during oppression.

Soviet era

Soviet power was initially established in the region in 1919, and the Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Oblast
Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Oblast
The Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast , in the former region of Soviet Central Asia, was created on 14 October 1924 within the Russian SFSR from the predominantly Kazakh and Kyrgyz parts of the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. On 15 May 1925 it was renamed into the Kirghiz Autonomous...

 was created within the Russian SFSR (the term Kara-Kirghiz was used until the mid-1920s by the Russians to distinguish them from the Kazakhs, who were also referred to as Kirghiz). On 5 December 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic
Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic
The Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic , also known as the Kirghiz SSR, the Kyrgyz SSR, or even Kirghizia, was one of republics that made up the Soviet Union...

 was established as a full republic of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.

During the 1920s, Kyrgyzstan developed considerably in cultural, educational and social life. Literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

 was greatly improved, and a standard literary language was introduced by imposing Russian on the populace. Economic and social development also was notable. Many aspects of Kyrgyz national culture were retained despite the suppression of nationalist activity under Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, and, therefore, tensions with the all-Union authorities were constant.

The early years of glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 had little effect on the political climate in Kyrgyzstan. However, the Republic's press was permitted to adopt a more liberal stance and to establish a new publication, Literaturny Kirghizstan, by the Union of Writers. Unofficial political groups were forbidden, but several groups that emerged in 1989 to deal with the acute housing crisis were permitted to function.

In 1989 protests flared up against the discriminatory policy of the Soviet government directed at pushing ethnic Kyrgyz inhabitants out of major cities, which could then be occupied by new settlers from Russia and the other Soviet republics.

According to the last Soviet census in 1989, ethnic Kyrgyz made up only 22% of the residents of the northern city of Frunze
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

 (now Bishkek), while more than 60% were Russians, Ukrainians, and people from other Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 nations (only 36 percent of Bishkek residents surveyed said Russian was their first language).

In June 1990, ethnic tensions between Uzbeks
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

 and Kyrgyz surfaced in Osh Oblast (southern Kyrgyzstan), where Uzbeks form a majority of the population. Attempts to appropriate Uzbek collective farms for housing development triggered the Osh Riots. A state of emergency and curfew were introduced and Askar Akayev
Askar Akayev
Askar Akayevich Akayev served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 1990 until his overthrow in the March 2005 Tulip Revolution....

, the youngest of five sons born into a family of collective farm workers (in northern Kyrgyzstan), was elected President in October of that same year.

By then, the Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement
Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan
Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan is a political party currently active in Kyrgyzstan. The party's current Chairman is Jypar Jeksheev , who is also the founder of the movement...

 (KDM) had developed into a significant political force with support in Parliament. In December 1990, the Supreme Soviet voted to change the republic's name to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. (In 1993, it became the Kyrgyz Republic.) The following January, Akayev introduced new government structures and appointed a new government composed mainly of younger, reform-oriented politicians. In February 1991, the name of the capital, Frunze, was changed back to its pre-revolutionary name of Bishkek
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

.

Despite these political moves toward independence, economic realities seemed to work against secession from the Soviet Union. In a referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union in March 1991, 88.7% of the voters approved the proposal to retain the Soviet Union as a "renewed federation." Nevertheless, secessionist forces pushed Kyrgyzstan's independence through in August of that same year.

On 19 August 1991, when the State Emergency Committee assumed power in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, there was an attempt to depose Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. After the coup collapsed the following week, Akayev and Vice President German Kuznetsov announced their resignations from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 (CPSU), and the entire bureau and secretariat resigned. This was followed by the Supreme Soviet vote declaring independence from the Soviet Union on 31 August 1991 as the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

Independence

In October 1991, Akayev ran unopposed and was elected president of the new independent Republic by direct ballot, receiving 95% of the votes cast. Together with the representatives of seven other Republics that same month, he signed the Treaty of the New Economic Community. Finally, on 21 December 1991, Kyrgyzstan joined with the other four Central Asian Republics to formally enter the new Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

. Kyrgyzstan gained full independence a few days later on 25 December 1991. The following day, 26 December 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. In 1992, Kyrgyzstan joined the UN and the OSCE
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

.

On 5 May 1993, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan was renamed the Kyrgyz Republic.

Political stability appeared to be elusive, however, as various groups and factions allegedly linked to organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 jockeyed for power. Three of the 75 members of Parliament elected in March 2005 were assassinated, and another member was assassinated on 10 May 2006 shortly after winning his murdered brother's seat in a by-election. All four are reputed to have been directly involved in major illegal business ventures.

Current concerns in Kyrgyzstan include privatisation of state-owned enterprises, expansion of Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 influence, inter-ethnic relations and terrorism.

On 6 April 2010, civil unrest broke out in the town of Talas
Talas, Kyrgyzstan
Talas is a small town in northwestern Kyrgyzstan, located in the Talas River valley between two imposing mountain ranges. Its geographical location is and its population is 32,538 . It is the administrative headquarters of Talas province. The town was founded by East Slavic settlers in 1877...

, spreading to the capital Bishkek
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

 by the following day. Protesters attacked President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev is a politician who served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010...

's offices, as well as state-run radio and television stations. As a result, Bakiyev declared a state of emergency. Reports say that at least 80 people died as a result of clashes with police. A transition government, led by former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva
Roza Otunbayeva
Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva is a Kyrgyz diplomat and politican who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 7 April 2010 until 1 December 2011. She was sworn in on July 3, 2010, after acting as interim leader following the 2010 April revolution which led to the ousting of then President Kurmanbek...

, by 8 April 2010 had taken control of state media and government facilities in the capital, but Bakiyev had not resigned from office.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev is a politician who served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010...

 returned to his home in Jalal-Abad
Jalal-Abad
Jalalabat is the administrative and economic centre of Jalal-Abad Province in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, with a population of about 150,000...

 and stated his terms of resignation at a 13 April 2010 press conference. On 15 April 2010, Bakiyev left the country and flew to neighboring Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, along with his wife and two children. The country's provisional leaders announced that Bakiyev signed a formal letter of resignation prior to his departure.

April riots

On 6 April 2010, a demonstration in Talas
Talas, Kyrgyzstan
Talas is a small town in northwestern Kyrgyzstan, located in the Talas River valley between two imposing mountain ranges. Its geographical location is and its population is 32,538 . It is the administrative headquarters of Talas province. The town was founded by East Slavic settlers in 1877...

 protested against government corruption and increased living expenses. The protests turned violent and spread nationwide. There were conflicting reports that Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongatiyev had been beaten. On 7 April 2010, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev is a politician who served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010...

 imposed a state of emergency. Police and special services arrested many opposition leaders. In response, protesters took control of the internal security headquarters (former KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 headquarters) and a state television channel in the capital, Bishkek. Reports by Kyrgyzstan government officials indicated that at least 75 people were killed and 458 hospitalized in bloody clashes with police in the capital.

Prime Minister Daniar Usenov accused Russia of supporting the protests; this accusation was denied by Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

. Opposition members also called for the closing of the US controlled Manas Air Base
Manas Air Base
Transit Center at Manas is a United States military installation at Manas International Airport, near Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, primarily operated by the U.S. Air Force....

. On 15 April 2010, Bakiyev left the country and flew to neighboring Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, along with his wife and two children. The country's provisional leaders announced that Bakiyev signed a formal letter of resignation prior to his departure.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the third President of the Russian Federation.Born to a family of academics, Medvedev graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1987. He defended his dissertation in 1990 and worked as a docent at his alma mater, now renamed to Saint...

 ordered measures to ensure the safety of Russian nationals and tighten security around Russian sites in Kyrgyzstan to protect them against possible attacks.
Clashes occurred between the two main ethnic groups—the Uzbeks and Kyrgyz—in Osh
Osh
Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

, the second largest city in the country, on 11 June 2010. The clashes incited fears that the country could be heading towards a civil war.

Finding it difficult to control the situation, Roza Otunbayeva
Roza Otunbayeva
Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva is a Kyrgyz diplomat and politican who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 7 April 2010 until 1 December 2011. She was sworn in on July 3, 2010, after acting as interim leader following the 2010 April revolution which led to the ousting of then President Kurmanbek...

, the interim leader, sent a letter to the Russian president, Dimitry Medvedev, asking him to send Russian troops to help the country control the situation. Medvedev's spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, said in a reply to the letter, "It is an internal conflict and for now Russia does not see the conditions for taking part in its resolution". The clashes caused a shortage of food and other essential commodities with more than 200 killed and 1,685 people hurt, . The Russian government, however, said it would be sending humanitarian aid to the troubled nation.

According to local sources, there was a clash between two local gangs and it did not take long for the violence to spread to the rest of the city. There were also reports that the armed forces supported ethnic Kyrgyz gangs entering the city, but the government denied the allegations.

Ethnic fighting continued into a third day as armed groups, mainly Kyrgyz, continued to threaten local Uzbeks. By 13 June 2010, the unrest had claimed about 100 lives, while the number injured had increased to over 1,000. The riots spread to neighboring areas, and the government declared a state of emergency in the entire southern Jalal-Abad
Jalal-Abad
Jalalabat is the administrative and economic centre of Jalal-Abad Province in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, with a population of about 150,000...

 region. To control the situation, the interim government gave special shoot-to-kill powers to the security forces. The Russian government decided to send a battalion to the country to protect Russian facilities.

The interim president, Roza Otunbayeva, accused the family of ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev is a politician who served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010...

 of "instigating the riots". AFP reported "a veil of smoke covering the whole city". Authorities in neighboring Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 said at least 30,000 Uzbeks had crossed the border to escape the riots.

Osh
Osh
Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

 became relatively calm on the 14 June 2010, but Jalal-Abad
Jalal-Abad
Jalalabat is the administrative and economic centre of Jalal-Abad Province in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, with a population of about 150,000...

 witnessed sporadic incidents of arson. The interim government accepted that the security situation was worsening nearing Jalal-Abad. The entire region was still under a state of emergency as Uzbeks were reluctant to leave their houses for fear of attacks by the mobs. The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 decided to send an envoy to assess the situation.

Temir Sariyev, deputy chief of the interim government, said there were local clashes and that it was not possible [for the government] to fully control the situation. He added that there were not sufficient security forces to contain the violence. Media agencies reported on 14 June 2010 that the Russian government was considering a request by the Kyrgyz government. An emergency meeting of Collective Security Treaty Organisation
Collective Security Treaty Organisation
The Collective Security Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance which was signed on 15 May 1992. On 7 October 2002, the Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed a charter in Tashkent founding the CSTO.Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed...

 (CSTO) was held on the same day (14 June) to discuss the role it could play in helping to end the violence. The deputy head of Uzbekistan's emergency services, Riza Ibragimov, confirmed the presence of more than 60,000 Uzbek refugees in Andijan Province
Andijan Province
Andijan Province is a viloyat of Uzbekistan, located in the eastern part of the Fergana Valley in far eastern Uzbekistan. It borders with Kyrgyzstan, Fergana Province and Namangan Province. It covers an area of 4,200 km2...

.

Ethnic violence waned, according to the Kyrgyz government, by 15 June 2010 and Kyrgyz president Roza Otunbayeva held a news conference on Tuesday (15 June 2010) and declared that there was no need for Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to send in troops to quell the violence. There were at least 170 people left dead by 15 June 2010 but Pascale Meige Wagner of the International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 said the [official] death toll was an underestimate. The UN High Commissioner told reporters in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

 that evidence suggested that the violence seemed to have been staged up. The United Nations called for a "humanitarian corridor" to be set up to help the people affected by the riots and described the situation as a "tinder-box". There were fears that a referendum, which would pave the way for parliamentary style elections in October 2010, would be delayed but the Kyrgyz president calmed such fears by declaring that the referendum would be held as scheduled.

There were no reports of heavy fighting between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks on 16 June 2010 and UN airplanes with tents and other emergency aid started arriving in neighboring Uzbekistan. Russian government cargo airplanes carrying food and blankets also landed in Bishkek
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

. According to the World Food Programme
World Food Programme
The World Food Programme is the food aid branch of the United Nations, and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger worldwide. WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children...

, it had enough food in Kyrgyzstan to feed 87,000 people for two months.

The clashes left some 300,000 people internally displaced and Uzbek leaders wanted the UN peacekeeping force to intervene because they did not trust the Kyrgyz forces any longer. Another 100,000 refugees crossed the border into Uzbekistan. Ethnic Uzbeks threatened to blow up an oil depot in Osh if they failed to get guarantees of protection. The United Nations said it believed that the attacks were "orchestrated, targeted and well-planned". Kyrgyz officials told the media that a person suspected to be behind the violence in Jalal-Abad had been detained.

Investigation

On 2 August 2010, a Kyrgyz government commission began investigating the causes of the clashes. Members of the National Commission, led by former parliament speaker Abdygany Erkebaev, met with people from the predominantly ethnic Uzbek villages of Mady, Shark, and Kyzyl-Kyshtak in the Kara-Suu district of Osh Oblast. This National Commission, including representatives of many ethnic groups, was established by a presidential decree.

The commission's preliminary report will be sent by 10 September 2010 to President Roza Otunbayeva, who had said that an international commission would also be formed to investigate the clashes.

Plot and repression

In the aftermath of the turmoil, on 5 August 2010, Kyrgyz forces arrested party leader Urmat Baryktabasov on suspicion of plotting an overthrow of the government, after troops allegedly fired blank rounds into a crowd trying to join mass demonstrations near the Parliament in the capital Bishkek. Acting President Roza Otunbayeva said security forces seized firearms and grenades from him and 26 supporters.

Politics

The 1993 constitution defines the form of government as a democratic republic. The executive branch includes a president and prime minister. The parliament currently is unicameral. The judicial branch comprises a Supreme Court, local courts and a Chief Prosecutor.
In March 2002, in the southern district of Aksy
Aksy
Aksy is a small town in southern Kyrgyzstan which gained notoriety in 2002 when police and police fired into a crowd of unarmed demonstrators, killing six...

, five people protesting the arbitrary arrest of an opposition politician were shot dead by police, sparking nationwide protests. President Askar Akayev
Askar Akayev
Askar Akayevich Akayev served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 1990 until his overthrow in the March 2005 Tulip Revolution....

 initiated a constitutional reform process which initially included the participation of a broad range of government, civil and social representatives in an open dialogue, leading to a February 2003 referendum marred by voting irregularities.

The amendments to the constitution approved by the referendum resulted in stronger control by the president and weakened the parliament and the Constitutional Court. Parliamentary elections for a new, 75-seat unicameral legislature were held on 27 February and 13 March 2005, but were widely viewed as corrupt. The subsequent protests led to a bloodless coup on 24 March 2005, after which Akayev fled the country and was replaced by acting president Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev is a politician who served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010...

 (see: Tulip Revolution
Tulip Revolution
The Tulip Revolution or First Kyrgyz Revolution refers to the overthrow of President Askar Akayev and his government in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan after the parliamentary elections of February 27 and of March 13, 2005...

).

On 10 July 2005, acting president Bakiyev won the presidential election
Kyrgyz presidential election, 2005
Kyrgyzstan held a presidential election on 10 July 2005. It saw a landslide victory for acting President Kurmanbek Bakiev, marking the end of his interim government formed after the previous President, Askar Akayev, was overthrown in the revolution in March, 2005.-Post revolution transition:On...

 in a landslide, with 88.9% of the vote, and was inaugurated on 14 August. However, initial public support for the new administration substantially declined in subsequent months as a result of its apparent inability to solve the corruption problems that have plagued the country since its independence from the Soviet Union, along with the murders of several members of parliament. Large-scale protests against president Bakiyev took place in Bishkek in April and November 2006, with opposition leaders accusing the president of failing to live up to his election promises to reform the country's constitution and transfer many of his presidential powers to parliament.

Kyrgyzstan is also a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a league of 56 participating states committed to peace, transparency, and the protection of human rights in Eurasia. As an OSCE participating State, Kyrgyzstan’s international commitments are subject to monitoring under the mandate of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

In December 2008, the state-owned broadcaster UTRK announced that it would require prior submission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty programmes, which UTRK are required to retransmit according to a 2005 agreement. UTRK had stopped retransmitting RFE/RL programming on October 2008, a week after it failed to broadcast an RFE/RL programme called 'Inconvenient Questions' which covered the October elections, claiming to have lost the missing material. President Bakiyev had criticised this programme in September 2008, while UTRK told RFE/RL that its programming was too negative. Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

, which ranks Kyrgyzstan 111th equal out of 173 countries on its Press Freedom Index
Press Freedom Index
The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders based upon the organization's assessment of their press freedom records. Small countries, such as Andorra, are excluded from this report...

, strongly criticised the decision.

On 3 February 2009, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev is a politician who served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010...

 announced the imminent closure of the Manas Air Base
Manas Air Base
Transit Center at Manas is a United States military installation at Manas International Airport, near Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, primarily operated by the U.S. Air Force....

, the only US military base remaining in Central Asia. The closure was approved by Parliament on 19 February 2009 by 78–1 for the government-backed bill. However, after much behind-the-scenes negotiation between Kyrgyz, Russian and American diplomats, the decision was reversed in June 2009. The Americans were allowed to remain under a new contract, whereby rent would increase from $17.4 million to $60 million annually.

Kyrgyzstan is among the twenty countries in the world with the highest perceived level of corruption: the 2008 Corruption Perception Index for Kyrgyzstan is 1.8 on a scale of 0 (most corrupt) to 10 (least corrupt).

Roza Otunbayeva
Roza Otunbayeva
Roza Isakovna Otunbayeva is a Kyrgyz diplomat and politican who served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 7 April 2010 until 1 December 2011. She was sworn in on July 3, 2010, after acting as interim leader following the 2010 April revolution which led to the ousting of then President Kurmanbek...

, who was appointed interim
Interim
Interim is an album by British rock band The Fall, compiled from live and studio material and released in 2004. It features the first officially released versions of "Clasp Hands", "Blindness" and "What About Us?" — all of which were later included on the band's next studio album Fall Heads Roll —...

 president after the April uprising, announced that she did not intend to run for the Presidential elections in 2011. The election was held in November and won by Almazbek Atambayev
Almazbek Atambayev
Almazbek Sharshenovich Atambayev is the President of Kyrgyzstan since 1 December 2011. He previously was Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan from 17 December 2010 to 1 December 2011, having also been Prime Minister from 29 March 2007 until 28 November 2007...

, leader of the Social Democratic Party
Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan
Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan is a political party in Kyrgyzstan. Members formed the party on 1 October 1993, but did not register with the Justice Ministry until 16 December 1994...

 and the country's current Prime Minister. Atambayev is now the President-elect
President-elect
An -elect is a political candidate who has been elected to an office but who has not yet been sworn in or officially taken office. These may include an incoming president, senator, representative, governor and mayor.Analogously, the term "designate" An -elect is a political candidate who has been...

, due to be sworn in on the 31 December 2011.

Human rights

In a move that alarmed human rights groups, dozens of prominent Uzbek religious and community leaders were arrested by security forces following the 2010 South Kyrgyzstan riots
2010 South Kyrgyzstan riots
The 2010 South Kyrgyzstan riots were clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, primarily in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad, in the aftermath of the ouster of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on April 7. It is part of the larger 2010 Kyrgyzstan crisis. Violence that...

, including journalist and human rights activist Azimzhan Askarov
Azimzhan Askarov
Azimzhan Askarov is an ethnically Uzbek Kyrgyzstani political activist who founded the group Vozduh in 2002 to investigate police brutality...

.

Provinces and districts

Kyrgyzstan is divided into seven province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s (sing. oblast
Oblast
Oblast is a type of administrative division in Slavic countries, including some countries of the former Soviet Union. The word "oblast" is a loanword in English, but it is nevertheless often translated as "area", "zone", "province", or "region"...

(область), pl. oblasttar (областтар)) administered by appointed governors. The capital, Bishkek
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

, and the second largest city Osh
Osh
Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

 are administratively independent cities
Independent city
An independent city is a city that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity. These type of cities should not be confused with city-states , which are fully sovereign cities that are not part of any other sovereign state.-Historical precursors:In the Holy Roman Empire,...

 (shaar) with a status equal to a province.
The provinces, and independent cities, are as follows:
  1. City of Bishkek
    Bishkek
    Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

  2. Batken
    Batken Province
    Batken Province is a province of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Batken. It is bounded on the east by Osh Province, on the south, west and north by Tajikistan and on the northeast by Uzbekistan. The northern part of the province is part of the flat, agricultural Ferghana Valley...

  3. Chuy
    Chuy Province
    Chuy Province or Chui Province is the northernmost province of the Kyrgyz Republic. It is bounded on the north by Kazakhstan, and clockwise, Issyk Kul Province, Naryn Province, Jalal-Abad Province and Talas Province...

  4. Jalal-Abad
    Jalal-Abad Province
    Jalal-Abad Province, also known as Jalalabat , is a province of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is the city of the same name, Jalal-Abad. It is surrounded by Talas Province, Chui Province, Naryn Province, Osh Province and Uzbekistan. The Jalal-Abad Province was established on November 21, 1939...

  5. Naryn
    Naryn Province
    Naryn Province is the largest province of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Naryn. The province was established on November 21, 1939 as Tien-Shan Province. On December 20, 1962 the province was dissolved, but on December 11, 1970 re-established again...

  6. Osh
    Osh Province
    Osh Province is a province of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Osh. It is bounded by Jalal-Abad Province, Naryn Province, Xinjiang, China, Tajikistan, Batken Province and Uzbekistan.-Geography:...

  7. Talas
    Talas Province
    Talas Province is a province of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Talas. It is bordered on the west and north by Jambyl Province of Kazakhstan, on the east by Chui Province, on the south by Jalal-Abad Province and on the southwest by a finger of Uzbekistan. It is basically a U-shaped valley open to the...

  8. Issyk-Kul
    Issyk Kul Province
    Issyk Kul Province is a province of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Karakol. It is surrounded by Almaty Province, Kazakhstan , Chui Province , Naryn Province and Xinjiang, China ....

  9. City of Osh
    Osh
    Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...



Each province comprises a number of districts (raion
Raion
A raion is a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet countries. The term, which is from French rayon 'honeycomb, department,' describes both a type of a subnational entity and a division of a city, and is commonly translated in English as "district"...

s
), administered by government-appointed officials (akim). Rural communities (ayıl ökmötü), consisting of up to 20 small settlements, have their own elected mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

s and councils
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

.

Geography

Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, bordering Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. It lies between latitudes 39°
39th parallel north
The 39th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 39 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 44° N
44th parallel north
The 44th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 44 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 69°
69th meridian east
The meridian 69° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 81° E
81st meridian east
The meridian 81° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

. 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
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

 covers over 80% of the country (Kyrgyzstan is occasionally referred to as "the Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 of Central Asia", as a result), with the remainder made up of valleys and basins.

Issyk-Kul Lake in the north-eastern Tian Shan is the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan and the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca. The highest peaks are in the Kakshaal-Too range, forming the Chinese border. Peak Jengish Chokusu, at 7439 m (24,406 ft), is the highest point and is considered by geologists (though not mountaineers) to be the northernmost peak over 7000 m (22,966 ft) in the world. Heavy snowfall in winter leads to spring floods which often cause serious damage downstream. The runoff from the mountains is also used for hydro-electricity.

Kyrgyzstan has significant deposits of metals including gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and rare earth metals
Rare earth element
As defined by IUPAC, rare earth elements or rare earth metals are a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium...

. Due to the country's predominantly mountainous terrain, less than 8% of the land is cultivated, and this is concentrated in the northern lowlands and the fringes of the Fergana Valley.

Bishkek
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

 in the north is the capital and largest city, with approximately 900,000 inhabitants (as of 2005). The second city is the ancient town of Osh
Osh
Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

, located in the Fergana Valley near the border with Uzbekistan. The principal river is the Kara Darya
Kara Darya
The Kara Darya or Qaradaryo is a tributary of the Syr Darya in Kyrgyzstan and eastern Uzbekistan. The river is formed by the confluence of Kara-Kulja River and Tar River. There are more than 200 known tributaries of Kara Darya; the largest are Jazy River, Kara Unkur River, Kegart River, Kurshab...

, which flows west through the Fergana Valley into Uzbekistan. Across the border in Uzbekistan it meets another major Kyrgyz river, the Naryn
Naryn River
The Naryn River rises in the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, flowing west through the Fergana Valley into Uzbekistan. Here it merges with the Kara Darya River to form the Syr Darya...

.

The confluence forms the Syr Darya
Syr Darya
The Syr Darya , also transliterated Syrdarya or Sirdaryo, is a river in Central Asia, sometimes known as the Jaxartes or Yaxartes from its Ancient Greek name . The Greek name is derived from Old Persian, Yakhsha Arta , a reference to the color of the river's water...

, which originally flowed into the Aral Sea
Aral Sea
The Aral Sea was a lake that lay between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south...

. , it no longer reaches the sea, as its water is withdrawn upstream to irrigate cotton fields in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, and southern Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

. The Chu River
Chu River
"Chui River" redirects here. For the South American Chuí or Chuy River, on the Brazil-Uruguay border and Brazil's southernmost point, see Chuí River. For the Nam Sam River or Chu River, on the Lao-Vietnam border, see Nam Sam River....

 also briefly flows through Kyrgyzstan before entering Kazakhstan.

Climate

The climate varies regionally. The south-western Fergana Valley
Fergana Valley
The Fergana Valley or Farghana Valley is a region in Central Asia spreading across eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Divided across three subdivisions of the former Soviet Union, the valley is ethnically diverse, and in the early 21st century was the scene of ethnic conflict...

 is subtropical and extremely hot in summer
Summer
Summer is the warmest of the four temperate seasons, between spring and autumn. At the summer solstice, the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day-length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice...

, with temperatures reaching 40 °C (104 °F) The northern foothills are temperate and the Tian Shan
Tian Shan
The Tian Shan , also spelled Tien Shan, is a large mountain system located in Central Asia. The highest peak in the Tian Shan is Victory Peak , ....

 varies from dry continental
Continental climate
Continental climate is a climate characterized by important annual variation in temperature due to the lack of significant bodies of water nearby...

 to polar climate
Polar climate
Regions with a polar climate are characterized by a lack of warm summers . Regions with polar climate cover over 20% of the Earth. The sun shines 24 hours in the summer, and barely ever shines at all in the winter...

, depending on elevation. In the coldest areas temperatures are sub-zero for around 40 days in winter, and even some desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 areas experience constant snowfall in this period.

Enclaves and exclaves

There is one exclave
Enclave and exclave
In political geography, an enclave is a territory whose geographical boundaries lie entirely within the boundaries of another territory.An exclave, on the other hand, is a territory legally or politically attached to another territory with which it is not physically contiguous.These are two...

, the tiny village of Barak (population 627), in the Fergana Valley
Fergana Valley
The Fergana Valley or Farghana Valley is a region in Central Asia spreading across eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Divided across three subdivisions of the former Soviet Union, the valley is ethnically diverse, and in the early 21st century was the scene of ethnic conflict...

. The village is surrounded by Uzbek
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

 territory. It is located on the road from Osh
Osh
Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

 (Kyrgyzstan) to Khodjaabad (Uzbekistan) about 4 km north-west from the Kyrgyz–Uzbek border in the direction of Andijan
Andijan
Andijan or Andizhan is the fourth-largest city in Uzbekistan, and the capital of the Andijan Province. It is located in the east of the country, at , in the Fergana Valley, near the border with Kyrgyzstan on the Andijan-Say River...

. Barak is administratively part of Kara-Suu District
Kara-Suu District
Kara-Suu is a raion of Osh Province in south-western Kyrgyzstan. The capital lies at Kara-Suu.:-Towns, rural communities, and villages:...

 in Kyrgyzstan's Osh Province
Osh Province
Osh Province is a province of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Osh. It is bounded by Jalal-Abad Province, Naryn Province, Xinjiang, China, Tajikistan, Batken Province and Uzbekistan.-Geography:...

.

There are four Uzbek enclaves
Enclave and exclave
In political geography, an enclave is a territory whose geographical boundaries lie entirely within the boundaries of another territory.An exclave, on the other hand, is a territory legally or politically attached to another territory with which it is not physically contiguous.These are two...

 within Kyrgyzstan. Two of them are the towns of Sokh (area 325 km² (125.5 sq mi) and a population of 42,800 in 1993, although some estimates go as high as 70,000; 99% are Tajiks, the remainder Uzbeks
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

) and Shakhimardan
Shohimardon
Shohimardon is a small town in Fergana Province in eastern Uzbekistan. It is an exclave of Uzbekistan, completely surrounded by Kyrgyzstan, in a valley in the Pamiro-Alai mountains. According to legend, the Caliph Ali was buried in Shohimardon...

 (also known as Shahimardan, Shohimardon, or Shah-i-Mardan, area 90 km² (34.7 sq mi) and a population of 5,100 in 1993; 91% are Uzbeks, the remainder Kyrgyz); the other two are the tiny territories of Chong-Kara (roughly 3 km long by 1 km wide or 2 mi by 0.6 mi) and Jangy-ayyl (a dot of land barely 2 or 3 km across). Chong-Kara is on the Sokh river
Sokh River
The Sokh River is a river in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It takes its rise on the north slopes of Alay Mountains and ends in Ferghana Valley. In the past, Sokh River was a left tributary of the Syr Darya. But, nowadays it is entirely used for irrigation....

, between the Uzbek border and the Sokh enclave. Jangy-ayyl is about 60 kilometres (37.3 mi) east of Batken
Batken
Batken is a small town of about 12,000 population, in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, on the southern fringe of the Fergana Valley. Its geographical location is...

, in a northward projection of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border near Khalmion.

There also are two enclaves belonging to Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

: Vorukh
Vorukh
Vorukh is a jamoat in northern Tajikistan. It is located in Isfara District in Sughd province. The jamoat has a total population of 23,121.Vorukh forms part of an exclave of Tajikistan within Kyrgyzstan. There are several such enclaves, and they all come from Stalin's drawing of borders in the...

 (exclave area between 95 square kilometre, population estimated between 23,000 and 29,000, 95% Tajiks and 5% Kyrgyz, distributed among 17 villages), located 45 kilometres (28 mi) south of Isfara
Isfara
Isfara is a city in Sughd Province in northern Tajikistan, situated on the border with Kyrgyzstan. It has a population of 40,600 . The city is capital of Isfara district.-History:...

 on the right bank of the Karafshin river, and a small settlement near the Kyrgyz railway station of Kairagach.

Economy

Kyrgyzstan was the second poorest country in the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, and is today the second poorest country in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. Despite the backing of major Western lenders, including the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF), the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and the Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

, Kyrgyzstan has had economic difficulties following independence. Initially, these were a result of the breakup of the Soviet trading bloc and resulting loss of markets, which impeded the republic's transition to a demand economy.

The government has reduced expenditures, ended most price subsidies and introduced a value-added tax. Overall, the government appears committed to the transition to a market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

. Through economic stabilization and reform, the government seeks to establish a pattern of long-term consistent growth. Reforms led to Kyrgyzstan's accession to the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 (WTO) on 20 December 1998.

The Kyrgyz economy was severely affected by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting loss of its vast market. In 1990, some 98% of Kyrgyz exports went to other parts of the Soviet Union. Thus, the nation's economic performance in the early 1990s was worse than any other former Soviet republic except war-torn Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 and Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, as factories and state farms collapsed with the disappearance of their traditional markets in the former Soviet Union. While economic performance has improved considerably in the last few years, and particularly since 1998, difficulties remain in securing adequate fiscal
Fiscal policy
In economics and political science, fiscal policy is the use of government expenditure and revenue collection to influence the economy....

 revenues and providing an adequate social safety net
Social safety net
Social safety nets, or "socioeconomic safety nets", are non-contributory transfer programs seeking to prevent the poor or those vulnerable to shocks and poverty from falling below a certain poverty level. Safety net programs can be provided by the public sector or by the private sector...

. Remittances of around 800,000 Kyrgyz migrants working in Russia represent 40% of Kyrgyzstan's GDP.

Agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 is an important sector of the economy in Kyrgyzstan (see agriculture in Kyrgyzstan
Agriculture in Kyrgyzstan
Agriculture in Kyrgyzstan is a significant sector of the economy. According to the CIA World Factbook, it comprises 35.3% of the total GDP and occupies 55% of the total labor force. Only 7.5% of the total land area is used for crop cultivation, but 44% of the land is used as pastures for livestock...

). By the early 1990s, the private agricultural sector provided between one-third and one-half of some harvests. In 2002, agriculture accounted for 35.6% of GDP and about half of employment. Kyrgyzstan's terrain is mountainous, which accommodates livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 raising, the largest agricultural activity, so the resulting wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

, meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 and dairy product
Dairy product
Dairy products are generally defined as foods produced from cow's or domestic buffalo's milk. They are usually high-energy-yielding food products. A production plant for such processing is called a dairy or a dairy factory. Raw milk for processing comes mainly from cows, and, to a lesser extent,...

s are major commodities. Main crops include wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, sugar beets, potatoes, cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, vegetables, and fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

. As the prices of imported agrichemicals and petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 are so high, much farming is being done by hand and by horse, as it was generations ago. Agricultural processing is a key component of the industrial economy as well as one of the most attractive sectors for foreign investment.

Kyrgyzstan is rich in mineral resources but has negligible petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 reserves; it imports petroleum and gas. Among its mineral reserves are substantial deposits of coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

, antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

, and other valuable metals. Metallurgy
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

 is an important industry, and the government hopes to attract foreign investment in this field. The government has actively encouraged foreign involvement in extracting and processing gold. The country's plentiful water resources and mountainous terrain enable it to produce and export large quantities of hydroelectric energy.

On a local level, the economy is primarily kiosk in nature. A large amount of local commerce occurs at bazaars and small village kiosks in country regions. A significant amount of trade is unregulated. There is also a scarcity of common everyday consumer items in remote villages. Thus a large number of homes are quite self-sufficient with respect to food production. There is a distinct differentiation between urban and rural economies.

The principal exports are nonferrous metals and minerals, woolen goods and other agricultural products, electric energy and certain engineering goods. Imports include petroleum and natural gas, ferrous metals, chemicals, most machinery, wood and paper products, some foods and some construction materials. Its leading trade partners include Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

.

Demographics

Kyrgyzstan's population is estimated at 5.2 million in 2007. Of those, 34.4% are under the age of 15 and 6.2% are over 65. The country is rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

: only about one-third of population live in urban areas. The average population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 is 25 people per km².
The nation's largest ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 are the Kyrgyz, a Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 people, who comprise 69% of the population (2007 estimate). Other ethnic groups include Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 (9.0%) concentrated in the north and Uzbeks
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

 (14.5%) living in the south. Small but noticeable minorities include Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 (1.9%), Uyghurs
Uyghur people
The Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China...

 (1.1%), Tajiks (1.1%), Kazakhs
Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

 (0.7%), and Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 (0.5%) and other smaller ethnic minorities (1.7%). Kyrgyzstan has over 80 distinct ethnic groups in the country.

The Kyrgyz have historically been semi-nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic herders, living in round tents called yurt
Yurt
A yurt is a portable, bent wood-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a crown or compression wheel usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall...

s and tending sheep, horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s and yak
Yak
The yak, Bos grunniens or Bos mutus, is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population...

s. This nomadic tradition continues to function seasonally (see transhumance
Transhumance
Transhumance is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and to lower valleys in winter. Herders have a permanent home, typically in valleys. Only the herds travel, with...

) as herding families return to the high mountain pasture (or jailoo) in the summer. The sedentary Uzbeks and Tajiks traditionally have farmed lower-lying irrigated land in the Fergana valley
Fergana Valley
The Fergana Valley or Farghana Valley is a region in Central Asia spreading across eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Divided across three subdivisions of the former Soviet Union, the valley is ethnically diverse, and in the early 21st century was the scene of ethnic conflict...

.

Kyrgyzstan has undergone a pronounced change in its ethnic composition since independence. The percentage of ethnic Kyrgyz increased from around 50% in 1979 to nearly 70% in 2007, while the percentage of European ethnic groups (Russians, Ukrainians and Germans) as well as Tatars dropped from 35% to about 10%. The percentage of ethnic Russians dropped from 29.2% in 1970 to 21.5% in 1989. Since 1991, huge numbers of Germans
Germans in Kyrgyzstan
-Migration history:During the 1800s, groups of Mennonites from Germany settled throughout the Russian Empire; they began to come to the territory which is today Kyrgyzstan in the late 19th century. Many other Germans were brought to the country forcibly, as part of the Stalin-era internal...

, who in 1989 numbered 101,000 persons, have been emigrating to Germany. Between 1991 and 2002, more than 600,000 people emigrated from Kyrgyzstan and the ethnic minority population declined from 47 to 33 percent.

Languages

Kyrgyzstan is one of the two former Soviet republics in Central Asia to retain Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 as an official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 (Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 is the other). It added the Kyrgyz language
Kyrgyz language
Kyrgyz or Kirgiz, also Kirghiz, Kyrghiz, Qyrghiz is a Turkic language and, together with Russian, an official language of Kyrgyzstan...

 to become an officially bilingual country in September 1991. This bilingualism was intended to signal to the ethnic Russians that they were welcome in the new independent state, in an effort to avoid a brain drain
Brain drain
Human capital flight, more commonly referred to as "brain drain", is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals...

.

Kyrgyz
Kyrgyz language
Kyrgyz or Kirgiz, also Kirghiz, Kyrghiz, Qyrghiz is a Turkic language and, together with Russian, an official language of Kyrgyzstan...

 is a member of the Turkic group
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 of languages and was written in the Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

 until the twentieth century. Latin script
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

 was introduced and adopted in 1928, and was subsequently replaced by Cyrillic script in 1941.

Generally, people understand and speak Russian all over the country, except for some remote mountain areas. Russian is the mother tongue of the majority of Bishkek dwellers, and most business and political affairs are carried out in this language. Until recently, Kyrgyz remained a language spoken at home and was rarely used during meetings or other events. However, most parliamentary meetings today are conducted in Kyrgyz, with simultaneous interpretation available for those not speaking Kyrgyz.

Sports

One of the most popular sports in Kyrgyzstan is football (soccer)
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

. The official governing body is the Football Federation of Kyrgyz Republic
Football Federation of Kyrgyz Republic
The Football Federation of Kyrgyz Republic is the governing body of football in Kyrgyzstan . The organization controls the Kyrgyzstan national football team , Kyrgyzstan national futsal team and sponsors the top league of Kyrgyz football....

, which was founded in 1992 after the split of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. It administers the Kyrgyzstan national football team
Kyrgyzstan national football team
The Kyrgyzstan national football team is the national team of Kyrgyzstan and is controlled by the Football Federation of Kyrgyz Republic.-History:...

.

Wrestling
Wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

 is also a very popular sport in Kyrgyzstan. In 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 2 athletes from Kyrgyzstan won medals in Greco-Roman wrestling
Greco-Roman wrestling
Greco-Roman wrestling is a style of wrestling that is practised worldwide. It was contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every edition of the summer Olympics held since 1908. Two wrestlers are scored for their performance in three two-minute periods, which can...

: Kanatbek Begaliev
Kanatbek Begaliev
Kanatbek Begaliev is a Kyrgyz wrestler who won the silver medal in the Men's Greco-Roman 66 kg at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing....

 (silver) and Ruslan Tiumenbaev (bronze).

Ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 has not been popular in Kyrgyzstan until the first Ice Hockey Championship
Kyrgyzstan Championship (ice hockey)
-External Links:* on eurohockey.com*...

 was organized in 2009. In 2011 Kyrgyzstan men's national ice hockey team
Kyrgyzstan men's national ice hockey team
The Kyrgyzstan men's national ice hockey team is the national ice hockey team of Kyrgyzstan. The team is controlled by the Ice Hockey Federation of the Kyrgyz Republic, a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation.-History:...

 won 2011 Asian Winter Games Premier Division dominating in all 6 games with 6 wins. It was the first major international event that Kyrgyzstan's ice hockey team took part in. The Kyrgyzstan men's hockey team joined the IIHF in July 2011.

The Kyrgyz national bandy
Bandy
Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.The rules of the game have many similarities to those of association football: the game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a football field. Each team has 11 players,...

 team has taken Kyrgyzstan's 1st medal at Asian Winter Games
Asian Winter Games
The Asian Winter Games is a multi-sport event held every four years for members of the Olympic Council of Asia which features winter events. The Japanese Olympic Committee first suggested the idea of holding a winter version of the Asian Games in 1982...

 when they captured the bronze.http://info.astana-almaty2011.kz/en/Comp.mvc/Info/MedalList/BAM400000 Bandy is becoming increasingly popular in the country.http://astana-almaty2011.kz/gis/menu/en/News_Center/article.aspx?flag=1&pagenum=1&id=1269

Culture

  • Manas, an epic poem
  • Komuz
    Komuz
    The komuz or qomuz , Azeri Gopuz, Turkish Kopuz, is an ancient fretless string instrument used in Central Asian music, related to certain other Turkic string instruments and the lute....

    , a three-stringed lute
  • Tush kyiz
    Tush kyiz
    Tush kyiz are large, elaborately embroidered wall hangings, traditionally made in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan by elder women to commemorate the marriage of a son or daughter.Colors and designs are chosen to symbolize Kyrgyz traditions and rural life...

    , large, elaborately embroidered wall hangings
  • Shirdak, flat cushions made in shadow-pairs
  • other textiles, especially made from felt
    Felt
    Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibres. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any colour, and made into any shape or size....

  • Falconry
    Falconry
    Falconry is "the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor". There are two traditional terms used to describe a person involved in falconry: a falconer flies a falcon; an austringer flies a hawk or an eagle...


Traditions

In addition to celebrating the New Year
New Year
The New Year is the day that marks the time of the beginning of a new calendar year, and is the day on which the year count of the specific calendar used is incremented. For many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner....

 each January 1, Kyrgyz observe the traditional New Year festival Nowruz
Nowruz
Nowrūz is the name of the Iranian New Year in Iranian calendars and the corresponding traditional celebrations. Nowruz is also widely referred to as the Persian New Year....

 on the vernal equinox. This spring holiday is celebrated with feasts and festivities such as the horse game Ulak Tartish
Buzkashi
Buzkashi or Kok-boru or Oglak Tartis or Ulak Tartysh is a traditional Central Asian...

.

Illegal, but still practiced, is the tradition of bride kidnapping
Bride kidnapping
Bride kidnapping, also known as marriage by abduction or marriage by capture, is a practice throughout history and around the world in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry...

.

It is debatable whether bride kidnapping is actually traditional. Some of the confusion may stem from the fact that arranged marriage
Arranged marriage
An arranged marriage is a practice in which someone other than the couple getting married makes the selection of the persons to be wed, meanwhile curtailing or avoiding the process of courtship. Such marriages had deep roots in royal and aristocratic families around the world...

s were traditional, and one of the ways to escape an arranged marriage was to arrange a consensual "kidnapping."

Religion

Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 is the dominant religion of Kyrgyzstan: 80% of the population is Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 while 17% follow Russian Orthodoxy
Russian Orthodoxy
Russian Orthodoxy in Christianity may refer to:*Eastern Orthodox Church, the Church descended from the Imperial Church of the Byzantine Empire*Russian Orthodox Church*Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia*Old Believers*True Orthodox Church...

 and 3% other religions. A 2009 Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1990, Donald S...

 report indicates a higher percentage of Muslims, with 86.3% of Kyrgyzstan's population adhering to Islam.

During Soviet times, state atheism
State atheism
State atheism is the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice...

 was encouraged. Today, however, Kyrgyzstan is a secular state
Secular state
A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential...

, although Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 has exerted a growing influence in politics. For instance, there has been an attempt to arrange for officials to travel on hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

(the pilgrimage to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

) under a tax-free arrangement. Kyrgyzstan is an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim nation and adheres to the Hanafi school
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 of thought.

While Islam in Kyrgyzstan
Islam in Kyrgyzstan
The vast majority of people in Kyrgyzstan are Muslims, as 86.3% of the country's population are followers of Islam. Muslims in Kyrgyzstan are of the Sunni branch, which entered the region during the 8th century. However, years of Soviet authority have suppressed long accustomed Islamic thinking to...

 is more of a cultural background than a devout daily practice for many, public figures have expressed support for restoring religious values. For example, human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 ombudsman
Ombudsman
An ombudsman is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between an organization and some internal or external constituency while representing not only but mostly the broad scope of constituent interests...

 Tursunbay Bakir-Ulu noted, "In this era of independence, it is not surprising that there has been a return to spiritual roots not only in Kyrgyzstan, but also in other post-communist republics. It would be immoral to develop a market-based society without an ethical dimension."

Additionally, Bermet Akayeva
Bermet Akayeva
Bermet Askarevna Akayeva is a Kyrgyz politician and former MP. She is the daughter of ousted former President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev...

, the daughter of Askar Akayev
Askar Akayev
Askar Akayevich Akayev served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 1990 until his overthrow in the March 2005 Tulip Revolution....

, the former President of Kyrgyzstan, stated during a July 2007 interview that Islam is increasingly taking root across the nation. She emphasized that many mosques have recently been built, and that the Kyrgyz are increasingly devoting themselves to Islam, which she noted was "not a bad thing in itself. It keeps our society more moral, cleaner." There is a contemporary Sufi order present which gives a somewhat different form of Islam than the orthodox Islam.

The other faiths practiced in Kyrgyzstan include Russian Orthodox
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 and Ukrainian Orthodox
Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Ukrainian Orthodox Church may refer to:*Ukrainian Orthodox Church , established in 1990*Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, established in 1992*Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, established in 1921...

versions of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, practiced primarily by Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 and Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 respectively. A small minority of ethnic Germans are also Christian, mostly Lutheran and Anabaptist
Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

 as well as a Roman Catholic community of approximately 600.

A few Animistic
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 traditions survive, as do influences from Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 such as the tying of prayer flags onto sacred trees, though some view this practice rooted within Sufi Islam. There are also a small number of Bukharian Jews living in Kyrgyzstan, but during the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 most fled to other countries, mainly the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

On 6 November 2008, the Kyrgyzstan parliament unanimously passed a law increasing the minimum number of adherents for recognizing a religion from 10 to 200. It also outlawed "aggressive action aimed at proselytism
Proselytism
Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytize is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος...

", and banned religious activity in schools and all activity by unregistered organizations. It was signed by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Bakiyev
Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev is a politician who served as the second President of Kyrgyzstan, from 2005 to 2010...

 on 12 January 2009.

Flag

The 40-rayed yellow sun in the center of the flag represents 40 warriors of the mythical hero Manas
Epic of Manas
The Epic of Manas is a traditional epic poem claimed by the Kyrgyz people dating to the 18th century, though it is possibly much older. In some earlier versions, however, Manas is identified as Nogay. This opens the possibility of Manas having spoken a dialect of Turki similar to that of the...

. The lines inside the sun represent the crown or tündük (Kyrgyz түндүк) of a yurt
Yurt
A yurt is a portable, bent wood-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a crown or compression wheel usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall...

, a symbol replicated in many facets of Kyrgyz architecture. The red portion of the flag represents peace and openness of Kyrgyzstan.

Education

The school system in Kyrgyzstan includes primary (grades 1 to 4) and secondary (grades 5 to 11 (or sometimes 12)) divisions located within one school. Children are usually accepted to primary schools at the age of 7. It is required that every child finishes 9 grades of school and receives a certificate of completion. Grades 10-11, however, are optional, but it is necessary to complete them in order to graduate and receive a state accredited school diploma. In order to graduate, a student must complete the 11 year school course and pass 4 mandatory state exams in writing, maths, history and a foreign language.

There are 77 public schools in Bishkek (capitol) and more than 200 in the rest of the country. There are 55 higher educational institutions and universities in Kyrgyzstan, out of which 37 are state institutions.

Higher educational institutions in Kyrgyzstan include:
  • International University Of Kyrgyzstan
    International University Of Kyrgyzstan
    The International University of Kyrgyzstan is a university in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.The university was established by decree of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Askar Akayev,№ UP-74, on March 11, 1993, and by the enactment of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, № 113, on March 16, 1993...

  • University of Central Asia
    University of Central Asia
    The University of Central Asia was founded in 2000 by the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and His Highness the Aga Khan...

  • American University of Central Asia
    American University of Central Asia
    The , formerly the Kyrgyz-American University, is a liberal arts University located in Bishkek, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan....

  • Bishkek Humanities University
  • International Ataturk-Alatoo University
    International Ataturk-Alatoo University
    International Atatürk-Alatoo University is a public university in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan-History:...

  • Kyrgyz National University
  • Kyrgyz Technical University
    Kyrgyz Technical University
    The Kyrgyz State Technical University named after Iskhak Razzakov is a university in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan...

  • Kyrgyz State Pedagogical University, formerly Arabaev Kyrgyz State University
  • Kyrgyz Russian Slavonic University
  • Kyrgyz-Russian State University
  • Kyrgyz-Turkish MANAS University
  • Kyrgyz Uzbek University
  • Moskov Institute Of Law And Enterprise
  • Osh State University
    Osh State University
    Osh State University is the largest and the oldest university in southern Kyrgyzstan. Located in the historic city of Osh, it was founded in 1992 as a reorganization of the Osh Pedagogical Institute, which was founded in the early 1950s. 27,000 students, including 1500 international students,...

  • Osh Technological University

Horse riding

The traditional national sports reflect the importance of horse riding in Kyrgyz culture.

Very popular, as in all of Central Asia, is Ulak Tartysh
Buzkashi
Buzkashi or Kok-boru or Oglak Tartis or Ulak Tartysh is a traditional Central Asian...

, a team game resembling a cross between polo
Polo
Polo is a team sport played on horseback in which the objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Sometimes called, "The Sport of Kings", it was highly popularized by the British. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team's goal using a...

 and rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

 in which two teams of riders wrestle for possession of the headless carcass of a goat, which they attempt to deliver across the opposition's goal line, or into the opposition's goal: a big tub or a circle marked on the ground.

Other popular games on horseback include:
  • At Chabysh – a long-distance horse race, sometimes over a distance of more than 50 km
  • Jumby Atmai – a large bar of precious metal (the "jumby") is tied to a pole by a thread and contestants attempt to break the thread by shooting at it, while at a gallop
  • Kyz Kuumai – a man chases a girl in order to win a kiss from her, while she gallops away; if he is not successful she may in turn chase him and attempt to beat him with her "kamchi" (horsewhip)
  • Oodarysh – two contestants wrestle on horseback, each attempting to be the first to throw the other from his horse
  • Tyin Emmei – picking up a coin from the ground at full gallop

Tourism

One of the most popular tourist destination points in Kyrgyzstan is Issyk Kul Lake. Numerous hotels, vacation resorts, boarding houses and sanatorium
Sanatorium
A sanatorium is a medical facility for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis before antibiotics...

s are located along its Northern shore. The most popular beach zones are located in the city of Cholpon-Ata
Cholpon-Ata
Cholpon-Ata is a resort town on the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan with a year-round population of about 12,000. It is the administrative center of the Issyk Kul District of Issyk Kul Province; this district occupies most of the lake's north shore...

 and the settlements nearby, such as Kara-Oi (Dolinka), Bosteri and Korumdy. The number of tourists visiting the lake was more than a million a year in 2006 and 2007. However, due to the economical and political instability in the region, the number has declined in recent years.

For those interested in trekking and camping, every region offers different attractions and challenges. Some of the most popular locations for camping are southern Osh, the area between Naryn City and the Torugart pass, and the mountains and glaciers surrounding Karakol in Issyk-Kul. Local guides and porters can be hired from many different tour companies in Bishkek and in the provincial capitals.

Skiing is still in its infancy as a tourism industry, but there is one fairly cheap and well-equipped base about a half-hour from Bishkek. The ski base of Toguz Bulak is located 45 km from Bishkek, on the way to Issyk Ata valley. In the Karakol Valley National Park, outside Karakol, there is also a ski base with three T-bars and rental equipment available of good quality.

Transport


Transport in Kyrgyzstan is severely constrained by the country's alpine topography. Roads have to snake up steep valleys, cross passes of 3000 metres (9,842.5 ft) altitude and more, and are subject to frequent mud slides and snow avalanches. Winter travel is close to impossible in many of the more remote and high-altitude regions.

Additional problems come from the fact that many roads and railway lines built during the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 period are today intersected by international boundaries, requiring time-consuming border formalities to cross where they are not completely closed. Horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s are still a much-used transport option, especially in more rural areas; Kyrgyzstan's road infrastructure is not extensive, so horses are able to reach locations that motor vehicles cannot, and they do not require expensive, imported fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

.

Airports

At the end of the Soviet period there were about 50 airports and airstrips in Kyrgyzstan, many of them built primarily to serve military purposes in this border region so close to China. Only a few of them remain in service today.
  • Manas International Airport
    Manas International Airport
    Manas International Airport is the main international airport in Kyrgyzstan located 25 km north-northwest of the capital Bishkek.The airport is operational 24 hours and its ILS system is ICAO CAT 2...

     near Bishkek
    Bishkek
    Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

     is the main international airport, with services to Moscow
    Moscow
    Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

    , Tashkent
    Tashkent
    Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

    , Almaty
    Almaty
    Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

    , Beijing
    Beijing
    Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

    , Urumqi
    Ürümqi
    Ürümqi , formerly Tihwa , is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, in the northwest of the country....

    , Istanbul
    Istanbul
    Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

    , Baku
    Baku
    Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

     and Delhi
    Delhi
    Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

    .
  • Osh Airport
    Osh Airport
    Osh Airport is an airport serving Osh, a city in the Osh province of Kyrgyzstan.International arrivals with questions concerning their entry into the country may call the border service's Southern Regional Administration at 7-25-25; 2-34-6 or border unit #2011 at 5-55-09; 3-89-38.- Airlines and...

     is the main air terminal in the south of the country, with daily connections to Bishkek.
  • Jalal-Abad
    Jalal-Abad
    Jalalabat is the administrative and economic centre of Jalal-Abad Province in southwestern Kyrgyzstan, with a population of about 150,000...

     Airport is linked to Bishkek by daily flights. The national flag carrier, Kyrgyzstan, operates flights on An-24 aircraft. During the summer months, a weekly flight links Jalal-Abad with the Issyk-Kul Region.
  • Other facilities built during the Soviet era are either closed down, used only occasionally or restricted to military use (e.g., Kant Air Base
    Kant Air Base
    Kant Air Base is a military air base in Ysyk-Ata District of Chuy Oblast in Kyrgyzstan. It is located just south of the city of Kant, some 20 km east of downtown Bishkek.- History :...

     near Bishkek, which is used by the Russian Air Force
    Russian Air Force
    The Russian Air Force is the air force of Russian Military. It is currently under the command of Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin. The Russian Navy has its own air arm, the Russian Naval Aviation, which is the former Soviet Aviatsiya Voyenno Morskogo Flota , or AV-MF).The Air Force was formed from...

    ).

Banned airline status

This country appears on the European Union's list of prohibited countries for the certification of airlines. This means that no airline which is registered in Kyrgyzstan may operate services of any kind within the European Union, due to safety standards which fail to meet European regulations.

Railways

The Chuy Valley
Chuy Valley
The Chuy Valley is a large valley located in north Tian-Shan. It extends from Boom Gorge in the east to Moyun-Kum desert in the west. It borders Kyrgyz Ala-Too in the south, and Chu-Ili mountains in the north. Through Boom Gorge in the narrow east part Chuy Valley is linked with Issyk-Kul Valley...

 in the north and the Ferghana valley in the south were endpoints of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's rail system in Central Asia. Following the emergence of independent post-Soviet states, the rail lines which were built without regard for administrative boundaries have been cut by borders, and traffic is therefore severely curtailed. The small bits of rail lines within Kyrgyzstan, about 370 km (1,520 mm broad gauge) in total, have little economic value in the absence of the former bulk traffic over long distances to and from such centres as Tashkent
Tashkent
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

, Almaty
Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

, and the cities of Russia.

There are vague plans about extending rail lines from Balykchy
Balykchy
Balykchy is a town with a population about 40,000 people located at the western end of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan, at and an elevation of about 1,900 metres...

 in the north and/or from Osh
Osh
Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

 in the south into China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, but the cost of construction would be enormous.

Rail links with adjacent countries

  • Kazakhstan
    Transport in Kazakhstan
    For transport in the Soviet Union, see Transport in the Soviet Union.- Railways :total:15,300 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial linesbroad gauge:15,300 km of gauge...

     – yes – Bishkek
    Bishkek
    Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

     branch – same gauge
  • Uzbekistan
    Transport in Uzbekistan
    Because of low investment and poor maintenance, Uzbekistan's overland transportation infrastructure has declined significantly in the post-Soviet era. Air transport is the only branch that has received substantial government investment in the early 2000s, as airport modernization projects have been...

     – yes – Osh
    Osh
    Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

     branch – same gauge
  • Tajikistan
    Transport in Tajikistan
    Most of Tajikistan's transportation system was built during the Soviet era, and since that time the system has deteriorated badly because of insufficient investment and maintenance. Neither the Soviet system nor subsequently built infrastructure addressed the topographical division between the...

     – no – same gauge
  • China – no – Break of gauge 1524 mm/1435 mm

Highways

With support from the Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

, a major road linking the north and southwest from Bishkek
Bishkek
Bishkek , formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.The name is thought to...

 to Osh
Osh
Osh is the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located in the Fergana Valley in the south of the country and often referred to as the "capital of the south". The city is at least 3,000 years old, and has served as the administrative center of Osh Province since 1939...

 has recently been completed. This considerably eases communication between the two major population centres of the country—the Chuy Valley
Chuy Valley
The Chuy Valley is a large valley located in north Tian-Shan. It extends from Boom Gorge in the east to Moyun-Kum desert in the west. It borders Kyrgyz Ala-Too in the south, and Chu-Ili mountains in the north. Through Boom Gorge in the narrow east part Chuy Valley is linked with Issyk-Kul Valley...

 in the north and the Fergana Valley
Fergana Valley
The Fergana Valley or Farghana Valley is a region in Central Asia spreading across eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Divided across three subdivisions of the former Soviet Union, the valley is ethnically diverse, and in the early 21st century was the scene of ethnic conflict...

 in the South. An offshoot of this road branches off across a 3,500 meter pass
Mountain pass
A mountain pass is a route through a mountain range or over a ridge. If following the lowest possible route, a pass is locally the highest point on that route...

 into the Talas Valley in the northwest. Plans are now being formulated to build a major road from Osh into China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

.
  • total: 30,300 km (including 140 km of expressways)
  • paved: 22,600 km (includes some all-weather gravel-surfaced roads)
  • unpaved: 7,700 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)

Waterways

Water transport exists only on Issyk Kul Lake, and has drastically shrunk since the end of the Soviet Union.

See also

  • 2010 Kyrgyzstan uprising
  • 2010 South Kyrgyzstan riots
    2010 South Kyrgyzstan riots
    The 2010 South Kyrgyzstan riots were clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, primarily in the cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad, in the aftermath of the ouster of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on April 7. It is part of the larger 2010 Kyrgyzstan crisis. Violence that...

  • Media of Kazakhstan
    Media of Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstani Media are relatively free by Central Asian standards. However, despite press freedom being enshrined in Kazakhstan's constitution, monitors report that privately owned and opposition media are routinely harassed and censored. In 2004 the International Federation of Journalists...

  • Military of Kyrgyzstan
    Military of Kyrgyzstan
    The armed forces of Kyrgyzstan, originally formed from former Soviet forces of the Turkestan Military District stationed in the newly independent state, includes the Army/Land Forces, the Air and Air Defence Forces, the Northern and Southern Groups of Forces, Interior Troops, Agency of National...

  • AKIpress news agency
    AKIpress news agency
    AKIpress news agency is the first independent news agency in the Kyrgyz Republic. It is based in Bishkek, the capital city of the KyrgyzRepublic. The online news website is in Russian, Kyrgyz and English.- History :...

  • The Spektator
    The Spektator
    The Spektator is Kyrgyzstan's only English language magazine.The magazine has been published since October 1, 2008, by Gwladys Street Publishing, a British owned company registered in Kyrgyzstan, and covers social and cultural issues on Kyrgyzstan and the wider Central Asian region...

  • International University of Kyrgyzstan
    International University Of Kyrgyzstan
    The International University of Kyrgyzstan is a university in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.The university was established by decree of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Askar Akayev,№ UP-74, on March 11, 1993, and by the enactment of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, № 113, on March 16, 1993...



Further reading

  • Historical Dictionary of Kyrgyzstan by Rafis Abazov
  • Kyrgyzstan: Central Asia's Island of Democracy? by John Anderson
  • Kyrgyzstan: The Growth and Influence of Islam in the Nations of Asia and Central Asia by Daniel E. Harmon
  • Lonely Planet Guide: Central Asia by Paul Clammer, Michael Kohn and Bradley Mayhew
  • Odyssey Guide: Kyrgyz Republic by Ceri Fairclough, Rowan Stewart and Susie Weldon
  • Politics of Language in the Ex-Soviet Muslim States: Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan by Jacob M. Landau and Barbara Kellner-Heinkele. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press
    University of Michigan Press
    The University of Michigan Press is part of the University of Michigan Library and serves as a primary publishing unit of the University of Michigan, with special responsibility for the creation and promotion of scholarly, educational, and regional books and other materials in digital and print...

    , 2001. ISBN 978-0-472-11226-5
  • Kyrgyzstan: Traditions of Nomads by V. Kadyrov, Rarity Ltd., Bishkek, 2005. ISBN 9967-424-42-7

External links

Government
General information
  • Country Profile from BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

  • Kyrgyzstan at UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • Issik-Kul Lake
  • Kyrgyz Publishing and Bibliography


Maps

Other
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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