THE COUNTRY PROFILE
Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian “mountain paradise” and a country nestled between Fergana valley of Uzbekistan, steppe lands of Kazakhstan, severe highlands of Tajikistan and scarcely populated and arid plains of West China (Xin Jiang). World’s two most great mountain systems stretch out across the whole territory of Kyrgyzstan: Tian-Shan and Pamir, – with world-high class peaks like Peak Pobeda (7439 m), Peak Lenin (7134 m) and, just next to the Peak Pobeda, most beautiful pyramidal Peak Khan-Tengri (6995 m). Due to its majestic mountains and temperate continental climate, Kyrgyzstan has a right to boast its world’s largest glaciers, enormous and extensive high-altitude snow fields, impetuous rivers rapidly rushing down valleys, turquoise crystal-clear high-mountain lakes, charming motley-grass alpine meadows and rich diversity of flora and fauna. Mountains total 93% of the Republic’s territory, and the country’s lowermost point is at more than 350 metres above sea level. Long, wide and high, 88 mountain ridges of the grandiose mountain system – Tian Shan (“Celestial Mountains” in Chinese) – stretch out from China in the East to Kyrgyzstan in the West.
Kyrgyzstan is a multinational, unitary state. Administratively, Kyrgyzstan is subdivided to 7 provinces: Batken, Zhalal-Abat, Naryn, Osh, Talas, Chuy and Issyk-Kul provinces. The Republic comprises 40 administrative districts and 22 cities. The capital of the Republic is Bishkek. The million-population-big city is located in close proximity to the northern foothills of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Range in the central part of the fertile Chuy Valley at the altitude of 700m-900m above sea level. Territory of Bishkek totals 15.7 thousand hectares and makes the city one of the largest towns of the Central Asia and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is founded in 1825 by the Kokand Khan as a fortress that acquired a name of a nearby Kyrgyz village (ayil) – Pishpek. In 1878, already under the Russian administration, Pishpek is given a status of a district’s chief town. In 1924, Pishpek becomes a political-administrative centre of the Kyrgyz Autonomous Province as part of the Rissian Soviet Socialist Federative Republic. Since 1926, the city is renamed in “Frunze” – after the Soviet commander general Mihail Frunze, and since 1991 the city gets back to its historical name of Bishkek.
The Country’s Symbols And Ensignea: flag, national anthem, coat of arms.
Description: The National Flag of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan is a red-colour width (strip) of cloth, in the centre of which a round solar disk with forty evenly diverging rays of golden colour is placed. Within the solar disk, a “tunduk” – an upper part of a Kyrgyz yurt (the nomad”s foldable felt round tent) of red – is depicted.
The monochromic red colour of the Flag symbolizes valour and courage; the gilded Sun bathing in its own rays embodies peace and wealth; the tunduk is a symbol of ancestral home and, in more broad terms – a symbol of the world as a Universe. 40 rays bundled in a circle symbolize unity of the 40 Kyrgyz ancient tribes. Tunduk symbolizes unity of people of different nationalities living in Kyrgyzstan. Red colour of the National Flag is also a colour of the flag of the Kyrgyz legendary hero – noble-minded knight Manas.
The Flag has been approved by the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on 13th March, 1992. Authors: E. AYDARBEKOV, B. ZHAYCHYBEKOV, S. IPTAROV, ZH. MATAEV, T. SYDYKOV
Coat of arms
Description: On the Coat of Arms, the Manas’s own falcon spreading-out its wings is depicted to symbolize the Liberty of the country. Also depicted is notorious “Purl of Kyrgyzstan” – the Issyk-Kul Lake surrounded by high rocky Ala Too mountains. The sun-lit white mountain summits are a matter of genuine pride of Kyrgyz people, the pride for beauty of their native land. The outlines of the mountains resemble that of the white “kolpak” (hat) – traditional Kyrgyz male headdress. The Coat of Arms has been approved on 14th January, 1994 by the Resolution of the Zhogorku Kenesh (parliament) of Kyrgyzstan. Authors: A.ABDRAEV, S.DUBANAEV
Translation to Russian language
click “play” to listen to the National Athem
High mountains, valleys and fields –
That is our native, sacred and dearest land.
Our forefathers lived there amidst Ala-Too Mountains
And they always were reverently preserving our native land.
Onward you go, Kyrgyz people,
On the way of Liberty, onward you go!
Grow you high, my people, and blossom
Your own fortune to create!
Since earliest times, our people have been open for friendship,
Unity and friendship our people in their hearts keep.
The Land of Kyrgyzstan, our homeland,
With rays of concord and harmony you are lighted.
The daydreams and hopes of our forefathers came true.
And the Banner of Liberty raises high into the air.
Our fathers legacy we shall pass on to our next generations
For the sake of welfare of people.
The Anthem has been approved on 18th December, 1992
1st January: New Year
7th January: Orthodox Christmas
8th March: International Women’s Day
21st March: Nooruz (Day of Vernal Equinox)
1st May: International Labour Day
5th May: Constitution Day
9th May: Victory Day
31st August: Independence Day.
National currency: National currency and a sole legal means of payment on the territory of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan is Kyrgyz Som. Foreign currency in Kyrgyzstan can be changed to local currency at commercial banks and multiple currency exchange offices. Credit cards are accepted. Banks work Monday through Friday and are open between 09.00 and 17.00 with Saturday and Sunday as days off. Exchange offices open round-the-clock.
Population: Population of Kyrgyzstan exceeds 5.3 million. More than a half of the population are Kyrgyz (64,9%), Uzbeks make 13,8%, Russians – 12,5%. Also living in the country are Ukrainians, Tatars, Germans, Kazakhs, Uyghurs, Tajiks, Turks, Dingans and other minority nationalities. In the capital Bishkek there live over 1 million people.
Language: The State language of the country is Kyrgyz language that is a language of Turkic family of languages. Russian language has a status of the country’s official language. The majority of the Kyrgyz citizens practice Islam in its Orthodox Sunnite (Hanifit) sense. Other religions are represented by Christians (basically Russian Orthodox).
Geography: Republic of Kyrgyzstan occupies north-eastern part of the Central Asia incorporating central part of Tian Shan and northern part of Pamir-Alay mountain systems. The state border predominantly runs along high-mountain crests, ridges and rivers occasionally going down to the plains of the Chuy, Talas and Fergana valleys.
Total length of the Kyrgyzstan’s state border is 4,503 km, total square area – 199.9 thousand km2. Kyrgyzstan stretches out its limits for 900 km west to east and 400 km north to south.
The complex mountainous terrain and diversity of ecological conditions of the country made for creation and maintenance of the broad range of soils, diversity of vegetation and animal world of Kyrgyzstan. A good quarter of the vegetable world of Kyrgyzstan is endemic (i.e. is indigenous of this area). In the mountains, extensive deciduous and evergreen woods grow including Tian Shan spruce, walnut tree, fir tree, larch tree and juniper tree forests. High mountain valleys are rich in alpine motley grass.
Fauna is varied in accordance with landscape. High mountains provide a habitat for bear, lynx, wolf, badger, ermine, marten, roe deer, ibex and mountain ram. Birds can also be seen and include little bustard, bustard, eagle, vulture, hawk, falcon and such a rare to see bird as “mountain turkey” – uhlar.
The Republic of Kyrgyzstan possesses enormous reserves of fresh water. Seven major rivers’ catch basins collect water from more than 28,000 rivers and natural springs. Three main rivers of Kyrgyzstan are: Naryn (nearly 535 km long), Chu (221 km) and Chatkal (205 km). There are more than 2,000 lakes and artificial reservoirs in Kyrgyzstan. Nearly 90% of them are high-mountain reservoirs or enclosed lakes.
Kyrgyzstan has hot summer, rather cold winter (particularly up in the mountains), greater contrasting seasonal and daily temperatures and very uneven distribution of atmospheric precipitations. Most hot weather is observed in the country’s south in Fergana Valley where summer temperature can easily raise up in excess of 40oC. In the country’s north in Bishkek the July temperatures are mainly below 40oС. Mean January’s temperature may drop down to -15oС (it is warmer in the valley while in the mountains it may be -28oC). Winter in the mountains is very snowy. Annual rainfall may reach 1,500mm in the western part of the country while in the uplands of Tian Shan it is only 200-400 mm, mainly in summer.