Kyrgyzstan Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Kyrgyzstan > Map Economy History

Facts About Kyrgyzstan

Background: A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, Kyrgyzstan was annexed by Russia in 1864; it achieved independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Current concerns include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and political freedoms, inter-ethnic relations, and terrorism.
Government type: republic
Capital: Bishkek
Currency: 1 Kyrgyzstani som (KGS) = 100 tyiyn

Geography of Kyrgyzstan

Location: Central Asia, west of China
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 75 00 E
Area:
total: 198,500 sq km
land: 191,300 sq km
water: 7,200 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 3,878 km
border countries: China 858 km, Kazakhstan 1,051 km, Tajikistan 870 km, Uzbekistan 1,099 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: dry continental to polar in high Tien Shan; subtropical in southwest (Fergana Valley); temperate in northern foothill zone
Terrain: peaks of Tien Shan and associated valleys and basins encompass entire nation
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Kara-Darya 132 m
highest point: Jengish Chokusu (Pik Pobedy) 7,439 m
Natural resources: abundant hydropower; significant deposits of gold and rare earth metals; locally exploitable coal, oil, and natural gas; other deposits of nepheline, mercury, bismuth, lead, and zinc
Land use:
arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 44%
forests and woodland: 4%
other: 45% (1993 est.)
note: Kyrgyzstan has the world's largest natural growth walnut forest
Irrigated land: 9,000 sq km (1993 est.)
Environment - current issues: water pollution; many people get their water directly from contaminated streams and wells; as a result, water-borne diseases are prevalent; increasing soil salinity from faulty irrigation practices.
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: landlocked; entirely mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range; many tall peaks, glaciers, and high-altitude lakes

People of Kyrgyzstan

The earliest descendents of the Kyrgyz people, who are believed to be of mixed Mongol, Turkic, and Kypchak descent, probably settled until the 10th century around what is now the Tyva region of the Russian Federation. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the Kyrgyz migrated south. They did not emerge as a distinct ethnic group until the 15th century. Various Turkic peoples ruled them until 1685, when they came under the control of the Mongol Oirots. Islam is the predominant religion in the region, and most of the Kyrgyz are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school.

Population: 5,146,281 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  35.03%
15-64 years:  58.83% 
65 years and over:  6.14%
Population growth rate: 1.44% 
Birth rate: 26.18 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 9.13 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -2.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 76.5 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  63.46 years
male:  59.2 years
female:  67.94 years 
Total fertility rate: 3.19 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Kyrgyzstani(s)
adjective: Kyrgyzstani
Ethnic groups: Kirghiz 52.4%, Russian 18%, Uzbek 12.9%, Ukrainian 2.5%, German 2.4%, other 11.8%
Religions: Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%
Languages: Kirghiz (Kyrgyz) - official language, Russian - official language
note: in May 2000, the Kyrgyzstani legislature made Russian an official language, equal in status to Kirghiz
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 99%
female: 96% (1989 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Kyrgyzstan > Map Economy History