Kyrgyzstan – PEOPLE'S SCAARC (2023)

Kyrgyzstan’s history spans a variety of cultures and empires. Although geographically isolated by its highly mountainous terrain, Kyrgyzstan has been at the crossroads of several great civilizations as part of the Silk Road along with other commercial routes. Inhabited by a succession of tribes and clans, Kyrgyzstan has periodically fallen under larger domination, for example the Turkic nomads, who trace their ancestry to many Turkic states. It was first established as the Yenisei Kyrgyz Khaganate later in the 13th century. Kyrgyzstan was conquered by the Mongols; it regained independence, but was later invaded by Dzungar Khanate. After the fall of Dzhungars, Kyrgyz and Kipchaks were an integral part of Kokand Khanate. In 1876, Kyrgyzstan became part of the Russian Empire, and in 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was formed to become a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. Following Mikhail Gorbachev’s democratic reforms in the USSR, in 1990 pro-independence candidate Askar Akayev was elected president. On 31 August 1991, Kyrgyzstan declared independence from Moscow and a democratic government was established. Kyrgyzstan attained sovereignty as a nation state after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

After independence, Kyrgyzstan was officially a unitary presidential republic; after the Tulip Revolution it became a unitary parliamentary republic, although it gradually developed an executive president and was governed as a semi-presidential republic before reverting to a presidential system in 2021. Throughout its existence, the country has continued to endure ethnic conflicts, revolts, economic troubles, transitional governments and political conflict.

Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organisation of Turkic States, the Türksoy community and the United Nations. It is a developing country ranked 118th in the Human Development Index, and is the second poorest country in Central Asia. The country’s transitional economy is heavily dependent on deposits of gold, coal and uranium.

Kyrgyz is derived from the Turkic word for “We are forty”, believed to refer to the forty clans of Manas, a legendary hero who united forty regional clans. -Stan is a suffix in Persian meaning “place of”.

The 40-ray sun on the flag of Kyrgyzstan is a reference to those same forty tribes and the graphical element in the sun’s center depicts the wooden crown, called tunduk, of a yurt—a portable dwelling traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The country’s official name is “Kyrgyz Republic”, used in international arenas and foreign relations. In the English-speaking world, the spelling Kyrgyzstan is commonly used, while its former name Kirghizia is rarely used.

Early history:-

The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uyghur Khaganate in 840 AD. From the tenth century the Kyrgyz migrated as far as the Tian Shan range and maintained their dominance over this territory for about 200 years. There is a storytelling tradition of the Epic of Manas, which involves a warrior who unified all of the scattered tribes into a single nation in the 9th century. The trilogy, an element of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, expresses the memory of the nomadic peoples.

In the 12th century, the Kyrgyz dominion had shrunk to the Altay Range and Sayan Mountains as a result of the Mongol expansion. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century, the Kyrgyz migrated south. The Kyrgyz peacefully became a part of the Mongol Empire in 1207.

Silk road caravansarai utilized during the Islamic Golden Age Issyk Kul Lake was a stopover on the Silk Road, a land route for traders, merchants, and other travelers from the Far East to Europe. Kyrgyz tribes were overrun in the 17th century by the Mongols, in the mid-18th century by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty of China, and in the early 19th century by the Uzbek Khanate of Kokand. In 1842, the Kyrgyz tribes broke away from Kokand and united into the Kara-Kyrgyz Khanate , led by Ormon Khan. Following Ormon’s death in 1854, the khanate disintegrated.

In October 1991, Akayev ran unopposed and was elected president of the new independent Republic by direct ballot, receiving 95 percent of the votes cast. Together with the representatives of seven other Republics that same month, he signed the Treaty of the Economic Community. The new leaders of three out of four Soviet Union’s founding republics, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, on 8 December 1991 signed the Belavezha Accords, denouncing the Union Treaty of 1922, declaring that the Union would cease to exist and proclaimed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in its place.

On 21 December 1991, Kyrgyzstan agreed with the other four Central Asian Republics, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan to the Alma-Ata Protocols, formally entering the Commonwealth with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Ukraine. Finally, Kyrgyzstan gained full independence on 25 December 1991. The following day, on 26 December 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. In 1992, Kyrgyzstan joined the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). On 5 May 1993, the official name changed from the Republic of Kyrgyzstan to the Kyrgyz Republic.

In 2005, an uprising known as the “Tulip Revolution”, took place after the parliamentary elections in March 2005, forced President Askar Akayev’s resignation on 4 April 2005. Opposition leaders formed a coalition, and a new government was formed under President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Prime Minister Felix Kulov. The nation’s capital was looted during the protests.

Political stability appeared to be elusive, however, as various groups and factions allegedly linked to organized crime 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.

The climate varies regionally. The low-lying Fergana Valley in the southwest is subtropical and extremely hot in summer, with temperatures reaching 40 °C (104 °F) The northern foothills are temperate and the Tian Shan varies from dry continental to polar climate, depending on elevation. In the coldest areas temperatures are sub-zero for around 40 days in winter, and even some desert areas experience constant snowfall in this period. In the lowlands the temperature ranges from around −6 °C (21 °F) in January to 24 °C (75 °F) in July.

Kyrgyz soldiers conducting mine sweeping exercises The armed forces of Kyrgyzstan were formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union and consist of the Land Forces, Air Forces, internal troops, National Guard, and the border guard. The military works with the US Armed Forces, which leased a facility named the Transit Center at Manas at Manas International Airport near Bishkek until June 2014. In recent years, the armed forces have begun developing better relations with Russia including signing modernization deals worth $1.1bn and participating in more exercises with Russian troops.[89] The Agency of National Security works with the military and serves similar purposes to its Soviet predecessor, the KGB. It oversees an elite counterterrorism special forces unit known as “Alfa”, the same name used by other former Soviet countries, including Russia and Uzbekistan. The police are commanded by the Ministry of the Interior Affairs, along with the border guard.


What is Kyrgyzstan famous for? ›

Kyrgyzstan is home to three Unesco World Heritage sites. One of these is the Tien Shan mountain range. Another is the historic Silk Road, the ancient trade route that connected China with Europe and the Middle East.

Is Kyrgyzstan part of Russia? ›

A Central Asian state bordering China, Kyrgyzstan became independent with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Who is the most famous person in Kyrgyzstan? ›

1. Manas. Manas is a 10th-century legendary hero of the Kyrgyz people. He was a warrior who united Kyrgyzstan and is undoubtedly the most popular folk hero in the country.

What is general information about Kyrgyzstan? ›

Kyrgyzstan or the Kyrgyz Republic is a landlocked country in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south, and the People's Republic of China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.

Is Kyrgyzstan friendly to USA? ›


The United States established diplomatic relations with Kyrgyzstan in 1991 following the nation's independence from the Soviet Union. The United States supports Kyrgyzstan in its development of an inclusive democracy based upon the rule of law and respect for human rights.

What to avoid in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Avoid large crowds and any demonstrations and follow the advice of local authorities. Security is volatile in the Kyrgyz-Uzbek and Kyrgyz-Tajik border areas. This includes the Ferghana Valley. Crime, civil unrest, terrorist activity, clashes and landmines are a risk.

Is it safe to go to Kyrgyzstan? ›

There is a risk of further risk of further violence and border closures at any time. There are also occasional violent incidents on the Kyrgyz/Uzbek and Kyrgyz/Kazakh borders. There is a risk that uncontrolled Kyrgyz/Uzbek border areas may be land-mined. Check in advance which border posts are open.

Is Kyrgyzstan a good place to live? ›

Kyrgyzstan is a country rich in culture and history, making it a rewarding place for foreigners to live. Kyrgyzstan's position at the Central Asian crossroads goes some way in explaining its rich and diverse cultural heritage. The country is also blessed with several beauty spots, which are a real draw for visitors.

What kind of food do they eat in Kyrgyzstan? ›

The Kyrgyz cuisine is very similar to that of the neighboring country Kazakhstan. Mutton, beef, horse meat and various dairy products are the main ingredients. The preparation techniques and main ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation's historically nomadic way of life.

Are Kyrgyzstan people friendly? ›

Kyrgyz people are generally welcoming toward foreigners, and there is little to be concerned about when it comes to serious safety concerns in this Central Asian country.

What is Kyrgyzstan rich in? ›

Kyrgyzstan's major exports include gold, cotton, wool, garments, meat, mercury, uranium, electricity, machinery, and shoes.

What is the racial makeup of Kyrgyzstan? ›

The nation's largest ethnic group are the Kyrgyz, a Turkic people, which comprise 73.2% of the population (2018 census). Other ethnic groups include Russians (5.8%) concentrated in the north and Uzbeks (14.5%) living in the south.

What is a major issue in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Kyrgyzstan has a lot of problems including: Global climate change, ozone layer depletion, desertification, and biodiversity loss are among global environmental issues presently on the agenda in Kyrgyzstan. Global climate change.

Is Kyrgyzstan rich or poor? ›

Is Kyrgyzstan a wealthy country? Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked, mountainous, lower middle income country with an economy dominated by minerals extraction, agriculture, and reliance on remittances from citizens working abroad.
Kyrgyzstan Economy Data.
Currency Name and CodeSom (KWD)
Industrial Growth Rate6%
26 more rows

Does Kyrgyzstan support Russia? ›

Economic cooperation

For all the financial support that the world community has offered, Kyrgyzstan remains economically dependent on Russia, both directly and through Kazakhstan.

Do they speak English in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Kyrgyz is written using an adapted Cyrillic script similar to Russian. Meanwhile, most people can speak Russian, and do so, especially in the north. English is widely spoken by those involved in tourism. Uzbek, Kazakh, Tajik, Korean and various other regional languages and dialects are also spoken.

Is Kyrgyzstan safe for females? ›

Is Kyrgyzstan safe for solo female travellers? Yes, Kyrgzstan is safe for female travelers, locals are always welcoming with smiles. Still, girls and women in Kyrgyzstan had assigned roles. The Kyrgyz society expects us to become good wives, have kids, and stay home to take care of the family and the house.

Is Kyrgyzstan under Russian control? ›

Kyrgyzstan, known under Russian and Soviet rule as Kirgiziya, was conquered by tsarist Russian forces in the 19th century. Formerly a constituent (union) republic of the U.S.S.R. , Kyrgyzstan declared its independence on August 31, 1991.

Can you drink alcohol in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Can I drink alcohol in Kyrgyzstan? Although Kyrgyzstan is a Moslem country, alcohol is readily available in shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels.

What diseases are in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Typhoid Fever and Brucellosis: Typhoid fever and brucellosis are infectious diseases that can spread to others through contaminated food and water. Kyrgyzstan has one of the highest numbers of cases worldwide. Many people who caught these diseases live in the Valley of the Mayluusuu River and in the uranium zone.

Is alcohol illegal in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Kyrgyz President signs law banning swearing, drinking alcohol in public places. President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev has signed amendments to the Code on administrative responsibility, Information Policy Department of the Presidential Administration reported.

Can Americans drive in Kyrgyzstan? ›

To drive legally in Kyrgyzstan you need an International Driver's Permit (IDP) in addition to your license from your home country.

What are the leading causes of death in Kyrgyzstan? ›

The top cause of death and disability in 2019 is Ischemic heart disease, of type Non-communicable diseases, which has decreased by −3.94 percent since 2009. The axis shows the percent change from -38 percent to 30 percent.

Can you drink the water in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Water is drinkable in springs or streams that are located higher and away from livestock.

Can a foreigner buy a house in Kyrgyzstan? ›

There are no restrictions in Kyrgyz legislation on the right of foreign persons to acquire buildings and structures as long as they refer to non-residential assets.

Is Kyrgyzstan friends with Russia? ›

Kyrgyzstan has close relations with other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, particularly Kazakhstan and Russia, given the historical legacy of the Soviet Union.

What is the average income in Kyrgyzstan in USD? ›

What is average wage in Kyrgyzstan? Average Wages in Kyrgyzstan increased to 28826 KGS/Month (332.212 USD/Month) in November 2022. The maximum rate of average wage for employees was 24204 KGS/Month and minimum was 800 KGS/Month. Data published Monthly by National Statistical Committee.

Do they eat pork in Kyrgyzstan? ›

As Muslims, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Dungans do not eat pork, but it can be found at some Chinese and Russian restaurants. Fish is uncommon, apart from the smoked fish that is sold by the roadside near Lake Issyk-Kul.

Is pork allowed in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Pork is easier to get in Kyrgyzstan than other Muslim countries. Even so mutton and other sheep products are the main sources of meat, followed by chicken and beef. All parts of the sheep, including the eyeballs, brains, head and tail, are eaten.

Is McDonald's available in Kyrgyzstan? ›

CountryMcDonald's RestaurantGDP per capita
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How long can Americans stay in Kyrgyzstan? ›

US citizens are permitted to enter Kyrgyzstan for tourism for up to 60 days without a visa. However, a visa is required if you are traveling to Kyrgyzstan for religious or business purposes, and this visa must be obtained in advance of arrival via the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in Washington, DC.

Is Kazakhstan safe for US citizens? ›

Kazakhstan - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Country Summary: Demonstrations, protests, and strikes may occur. These events can develop quickly and without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, communication, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.

Are Christians persecuted in Kyrgyzstan? ›

There have been several new reports of cases of persecution in Kyrgyzstan where citizens converting to Christianity are being targeted because of their newfound faith. These Christians have been experiencing pressure and even physical violence because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Is Kyrgyzstan cheap to live? ›

Family of four estimated monthly costs are 1,378.4$ (120,503.8сом) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 381.1$ (33,319.6сом) without rent. Cost of living in Kyrgyzstan is, on average, 64.7% lower than in United States. Rent in Kyrgyzstan is, on average, 79.6% lower than in United States.

What religion is Kyrgyzstan country? ›

Both ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks are primarily Muslim. Ethnic Russians are primarily adherents of the Russian Orthodox Church or one of several Protestant denominations. Members of the Russian Orthodox Church and other non-Muslim religious groups live mainly in major cities.

What is the average household income in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Kyrgyzstan Monthly Earnings stood at 427 USD in Dec 2022, compared with the previous figure of 342 USD in Nov 2022 See the table below for more data.

What does a Kyrgyz person look like? ›

Genes: they look East Asian

During the Tang Dynasty, they were described with "red hair and green eyes", while those with dark hair and dark eyes descended from the Chinese. The Kyrgyz were fair-skinned, green- or blue-eyed and red-haired people with East Asian features.

Are Kyrgyzstan Muslims? ›

The vast majority of people in Kyrgyzstan are Muslims; as of 2020, 90% of the country's population were followers of Islam. Muslims in Kyrgyzstan are generally of the Sunni branch, mostly of the Hanafi school, which entered the region during the eighth century.

Is Kyrgyzstan a communist? ›

The Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan (Russian: Коммунистическая Партия Киргизстана, romanized: Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Kirgizstana) is a communist party in Kyrgyzstan. KPK was founded on 21 August 1999, following a split in the Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan.

Is Kyrgyzstan a Chinese ally? ›

China is also the main bilateral creditor of Kyrgyzstan. Their economic relationship is highly asymmetrical as "[w]hile for China the bilateral projects in Kyrgyzstan are small, they are significant for Kyrgyzstan".

What is the quality of life in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Our data for each country are based on all entries from all cities in that country.
Quality of Life in Kyrgyzstan.
Purchasing Power Index25.31Very Low
Safety Index46.29Moderate
Health Care Index56.80Moderate
Climate Index58.11Moderate
Cost of Living Index26.43Very Low
5 more rows

What Kyrgyzstan is best for? ›

Top Attractions in Kyrgyzstan
  1. Ala-Archa Gorge. 763. National Parks • Geologic Formations. ...
  2. Issyk-Kul Lake. 553. Bodies of Water. ...
  3. Altyn Arashan. 207. Hot Springs & Geysers. ...
  4. Osh Bazaar. 372. Flea & Street Markets. ...
  5. Song Kol Lake. 185. Bodies of Water. ...
  6. Jeti-Oguz Canyon (Seven Bulls Rocks) 132. ...
  7. Ala Kul Lake. Bodies of Water. ...
  8. Panfilov Park. 210.

Is Kyrgyzstan a corrupt country? ›

In the Corruption Perceptions Index published annually by Transparency International, Kyrgyzstan is among the 50 most corrupt countries in the world. In 2021, Transparency International evaluated Kyrgyzstan in relation to the other countries of the Europe and Central Asia region.

Is Kyrgyzstan a happy country? ›

85% of Kyrgyz residents feel happy.

Is Kyrgyzstan a democracy or dictatorship? ›

Language. USAID has supported Kyrgyzstan's transition from a Soviet republic to an independent democratic state since the fall of communism in the early 1990s. During this time, the country has oscillated between periods of authoritarianism, which ended in two revolutions in 2005 and 2010.

Are there US troops in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Unofficially known as the Ganci Air Base, Transit Center at Manas is a military base run by the United States of America in Kyrgyzstan. It is located near the international airport, close to Bishkek, in the northern part of the country. The military base is operated by the US Air Force.

Is Kyrgyzstan a NATO country? ›

The Kyrgyz Republic has been actively engaged within the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme since 1993.

Who controls Kyrgyzstan? ›

Executive branch
PresidentSadyr Japarov28 January 2021
Chairman of the Cabinet of MinistersAkylbek Japarov12 October 2021

What are the famous products of Kyrgyzstan? ›

Kyrgyzstan's major exports include gold, cotton, wool, garments, meat, mercury, uranium, electricity, machinery, and shoes. Major imports include oil and gas, machinery and equipment, chemicals, and foodstuffs.

What is Kyrgyzstan most famous food? ›

Beschbarmak is the national dish of Kyrgyzstan, although it is also popular in neighboring countries. It consists of horse meat (mutton or beef) cooked for several hours in a broth and served over homemade noodles with parsley. Beschbarmak means "five fingers" in the Kyrgyz language.

What is Kyrgyzstan top export? ›

Kyrgyzstan´s economy is highly dependent on the exports of gold and other precious metals and stones (34 percent of total exports). Other exports include: oil, gas and other mineral products (15 percent of total exports), textiles (12 percent), vegetables (9 percent) and transport equipment (8 percent).

What is the main food of Kyrgyzstan? ›

Traditional Kyrgyz food revolves around mutton, beef and horse meat, as well as various dairy products. The preparation techniques and major ingredients have been strongly influenced by the nation's historically nomadic way of life. Thus, many cooking techniques are conducive to the long-term preservation of food.

What are the risks in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Reconsider travel to the border region with Tajikistan due to intermittent border clashes in the Batken region of Kyrgyzstan. Travelers are at heightened risk of injury or death when visiting or transiting that region. Armed violence may occur with little or no warning.

Does Kyrgyzstan drink alcohol? ›

Alcoholic Drinks in Kyrgyzstan

Public intoxication is prevalent among the local populace, especially during the winter. Vodka is the most commonly consumed alcoholic drink followed by beer, sweet wine and sweet champagne. Koumiss is popular during the mare-milking season in the summer.

Is Kyrgyzstan good for living? ›

Kyrgyzstan is a country rich in culture and history, making it a rewarding place for foreigners to live. Kyrgyzstan's position at the Central Asian crossroads goes some way in explaining its rich and diverse cultural heritage. The country is also blessed with several beauty spots, which are a real draw for visitors.

What do they eat for breakfast in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Kyrgyz start their day with a light breakfast between 7:30am and 8:30am that usually consists cheese, curd, bread, honey, cucumbers and pickled cabbage. Lunch is served between 1:00pm and 2:00pm and usually consists, of bread, pilaf, soup and/or mutton.

What is the national drink of Kyrgyzstan? ›

Maksym, a sour drink made from barley, wheat, millet and corn, is the national drink of modern Kyrgyzstan.

What makes Kyrgyzstan poor? ›

Economic Weakness

With a GDP of $8.5 billion and GDP per capita at $1,323, Kyrgyzstan's economy lacks the natural resources and industrial diversity to thrive in the global economy. While GDP growth is consistently 4%-5% annually, the country's poverty rate has remained relatively stagnant since 2009.

What is the most important industry in Kyrgyzstan? ›

Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, its main products being cotton, tobacco, wool and meat. Industrial exports include gold, mercury, agricultural products and electricity (

What is the main import of Kyrgyzstan? ›

Imports The top imports of Kyrgyzstan are Refined Petroleum ($781M), Non-Knit Women's Coats ($724M), Non-Knit Men's Coats ($556M), Knit Sweaters ($511M), and Non-Knit Women's Suits ($473M), importing mostly from China ($6.47B), Russia ($2.19B), Uzbekistan ($773M), Turkey ($750M), and Kazakhstan ($619M).


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