WELCOME TO KYRGYZSTAN

Kyrgyzstan – is a country located in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.
The official language, Kyrgyz, is closely related to the other Turkic languages; however, the country is under a strong cultural influence from Russia and is rather Russified. The majority of the population (64%) are nondenominational Muslims.
Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Turkic Council, the TÜRKSOY community and the United Nations.
The official language, Kyrgyz, is closely related to the other Turkic languages; however, the country is under a strong cultural influence from Russia and is rather Russified. The majority of the population (64%) are nondenominational Muslims.

Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Turkic Council, the TÜRKSOY community and the United Nations.

ETYMOLOGY

“Kyrgyz” is believed to have been derived from the Turkic word for “forty”, in reference to the forty clans of Manas, a legendary hero who united forty regional clans against the Uyghurs. Literally it means We are forty. At the time, in the early 9th century AD, the Uyghurs dominated much of Central Asia (including Kyrgyzstan), Mongolia, and parts of Russia and China.

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

TOURISM

One of the most popular tourist destination points in Kyrgyzstan is Issyk Kul Lake. Numerous hotels, vacation resorts, boarding houses and sanatoriums are located along its Northern shore. The most popular beach zones are in the city of Cholpon-Ata 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 attractions and challenges. Some of the most popular locations for camping are southern Osh, the area between Naryn City and the юрты-у-озера-Daniel-KorzhonovTorugart pass, and the mountains and glaciers surrounding Karakol in Issyk-Kul.Local guides and porters can be hired from many 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 45 km (28 mi) 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.