Kyrgyzstan - At a glance


Kyrgyzstan at a glance

Official name Kyrgyz Republic

Location Landlocked in central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, China to the east and southeast, Uzbekistan to the west and Tajikistan to the southwest

Size/area 198,500km² (about the same as England, Wales and Scotland combined or Nebraska, USA)

Climate Dry continental to polar (Tien Shan); subtropical in the southwest (Fergana Valley); temperate in northern foothill zone

Status Republic headed by president, government headed by prime minister

Independence Declared from Soviet Union on 31 August 1991

Population Approximately 5.6 million (2012); Kyrgyz 69%, Uzbeks 14%, Russians 9%, others 8%

Life expectancy Male 66 years, female 74.2 years

Capital Bishkek, estimated population about 1 million

Other main towns Osh, Naryn, Jalal-Abad, Karakol, Talas

Economy Livestock, agriculture, mining, hydroelectric energy, recycled metal, tourism

GDP US$2,363 million, equivalent to US$438 per capita per annum

Languages Offi cial languages are Kyrgyz and Russian; also Uzbek, Uyghur, Dungan and others

Religion Sunni Islam, Orthodox Christian, animistic beliefs

Ethnic diversity Kyrgyz dominate in the north with Russians, other Slavs and Dungans forming sizeable minorities; many Uzbeks in the south form the majority in some regions

Currency Kyrgyz som; for up-to-date rates, go to www.xe.com

International telephone code 996

Time GMT+5

Electrical voltage 220V, 50Hz, standard two-pin round-prong plug

Flag Red with a yellow tunduk (yurt roof piece) in centre surrounded by a 40-rayed sun

Coat of arms Rising sun over mountain and lake within the wings of a spread eagle

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Kyrgyzstan articles

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Eagle hunting in Kyrgyzstan

A tradition which goes back hundreds of years, eagle hunting is a dying practice of Kyrgyz life.

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The strange tale of the Shaitan Mazar UFO

Lawrence Mitchell investigates one of the country’s strangest encounters.

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Issyk-Kul legends

Author Laurence Mitchell recounts the mythical tales of this mammoth alpine lake.

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