Monday, April 12, 2021


Kyrgyzstan Flag

"Switzerland of Central Asia"

Why visit Kyrgyzstan?
Best known for alpine lakes, hiking, hunting, mountain trails, nomadic culture, sacred places, silk road, and white water rafting.

Kyrgyzstan Mountains. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 

At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Apricot wood three-stringed guitar, embroidery goods, felt hats, felt rug, felt slippers, leather goods, tea bowls, and wooden chess boards.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Beshbarmak (national dish). Boorsok (fried dough). Dimlama (stew). Kaymak (clotted cream). Kuurdak (meat dish). Manty (steam dumplings). Shashlyk (grilled meat). Shorpo (meat soup). Qattama (fried bread). 
  • Local Drink to Try: Chalap (carbonated water). Jarma (cold fizzy). Kymyz (slightly alcoholic drink). Maksym (slightly fizzy). 

Seok Pass (Terskey Alatau Mountain), Kyrgyzstan. Photo Credit: Hans Waehrisch/Pixabay

Fun Facts
  • Epic of Manas (poem) dates back to the 18th Century (1701 – 1800).
  • In 1993, their name officially changed from the Republic of Kyrgyzstan to the Kyrgyz Republic.
  • During 2008 Summer Olympic Games (Beijing) they won both a bronze (Ruslan Tyumenbayev) silver (Kanatbek Begaliev) medal in wrestling. 
  • Tian Shan Mountains covers over 80% of the country.
  • Less than 8% of the land is cultivated.
  • US Armed Forces formerly leased a facility (Bishkek).
  • Embroidered wall hangings (Tush Kyiz) are made by women to  traditionally commemorate their child's marriage.
  • The national flag with the centered yellow sun and forty rays represent the forty tribes before Russia's invasion. The red reflects their openness and peace.
  • Sport horse riding is culturally popular.
  • Every child is required to complete grades from 1st - 9th for a Certificate of Completion. To receive an accredited school Diploma, grades from 10th - 11th must be completed.
  • The National Library of the Kyrgyz Republic (Bishkek) is their oldest (1934) library.
  • The only home to flowers, Aigul (Aigul-Tash Mountain).
  • Merzbacher Lake ("Disappearing Lake") has two pools draining in the summer and winter annually.
  • Plentiful rare edelweiss flowers are found in the Alpine meadows.
  • Has the second largest population of snow leopards in the world.
  • Home to the largest population of petroglyphs (90,000) amongst Central Asia.
  • Lake Issyk-Kul (east) is said to be the burial site of St Matthews.
  • Dungan Mosque was built (1910-1912) without any nails.
  • Their banknotes are printed in France and Malta.
  • Home to the largest walnut forests in the world.

Burana Tower (Chuy Valley), Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Ski Challenge, (March)  Nowruz Festival, (April) Bishkek Jazz Festival, Navroz Spring Festival, (May) Bike Challenge, (July) Agro Fest, National Horse Festival,  (August) Birds of Prey Festival, Eagle Hunting Festival, Kyrgyz Kochu Festival, National Uzbek Cuisine Festival, Shepherds Festival, and (October) Autumn Marathon.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Eastern Orthodox Christmas, Fatherland Defender's Day, International Women's Day, Nooruz Mairamy, Day of the People's April Revolution, International Workers' Day, Constitution Day, Great Patriotic War Against Fascism Victory Day, Independence Day, Days of History and Commemoration of Ancestors, Orozo Ait, and Kurman Ait.

Naryn River (Tian Shan Mountains), Kyrgyzstan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 

Good to Know
  • Considered economically and politically unstable.
  • Substantial rural poverty.
  • Not highly developed.
  • Languages most often spoken include: Kyrgyz, Russian, and Uzbek.
  • Highly mountainous terrain.
  • Power and water outages are common.
  • A developing country.
  • No Kyrgyzstan registered airline may operate in the European Union.
  • Second poorest country amongst Central Asia. 
  • Summers are extremely hot.
  • Local Law bans females under the age of 23 from traveling abroad without a parent or guardian.
  • Cholpon-Ata offers the most popular beach zones.
  • Islam is the dominant religion.
  • While illegal bride kidnapping is known to occur. 
  • Roads tend to be windy and steep. Most roads are impossible during the winter season.
  • You are required to carry your passport (or a certified copy) with you at all times.
  • Public transportation is considered crowded, unreliable, and unsafe.
  • Cash payment is often required before rendering medical care or treatment.
  • Avoid demonstrations and protests.
  • U.S. citizens are often targeted and victims of crime.
  • Individuals are known to impersonate Police Officers.
  • Due to importation fuel is expensive.
  • There's discussions to build a major road from Osh to China.
  • U.S. citizens should limit travel to the Batken province (Oblast).
  • Photographs of food markets, government buildings, military uniforms, or police are prohibited.
  • The Population practices a semi-nomadic lifestyle.
  • There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Violators will be imprisoned.
  • Hefty fines and imprisonment for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs.
  • Discrimination and harassment of LGBTI individuals occurs. 
  • Mountain flowers blossom between April - June.

Toktogul Dam, Jalal-Abad Province, Kyrgyzstan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and one blank stamp page.
  • Tourist VISA not required for visits under 60 days.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $3,000USD.

Subject to droughts, frequent mudslides, rockslides, snow avalanches, and Spring floods.

  • Best Time to Visit: December - March & June - July
  • Coldest Months: November - March
  • Hottest Months: May - September
  • Peak Season: December - March & June - July

Yurt (home), Kyrgyzstan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain, Tian-Shan Silk Roads, and Western Tien-Shan.

Canyon Fairy Tale, Tosor, Kyrgyzstan. Photo Credit: Natalia_Kollegova/Pixabay

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                                                             All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

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