Map Page 1119 Area 76,641 square mi (198,500 square km) Population 4,892,808 Capital Bishkek Highest Point 24,407 ft (7,439 m) Lowest Point 433 ft (132 m) GDP per capita $1,600 Primary Natural Resources hydropower, gold, coal, oil.
LANDLOCKED AND MOUNTAINOUS, the Kyrgyz Republic achieved its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Kyrgyzstan features spectacular mountain vistas and incredible natural beauty reminiscent of SWITZERLAND.
Despite its natural beauty and recent attempts to develop a thriving tourist industry, Kyrgyzstan remains mired in poverty.
Additional challenges include implementing democracy, combating ethnic tensions, and thwarting terrorism.
Central Asia's second-smallest country in terms of area, Kyrgyzstan borders KAZAKHSTAN to the north, CHINA to the east, TAJIKISTAN to the south, and UZBEKISTAN to the west.
Kyrgyzstan is dominated by the TIAN SHAN (primarily) and Pamir (in the south) mountain ranges.
The vast majority of the country (roughly 75 percent) is continuously covered by snow and glaciers.
Traversing the Tian Shan remains relatively difficult, as a summer trip from the northern capital of Bishkek to the southern second-largest city of Osh (a distance of 186 mi or 300 km) takes more than 10 hours by automobile.
Kyrgyzstan is also home to numerous alpine lakes, the largest and deepest of which is Lake Issyk-Kul, located near the Kazakh border in the north.
The lake reaches a depth of 2,300 ft (700 m); its clear, sky-blue water and health resorts make the lake a popular tourist destination.
For a country its size, Kyrgyzstan has surprising climatic variability, ranging from polar to dry continental through the mountains, to temperate northern foothills, to subtropical in the southwest.
Kyrgyzstan's most valuable natural resource may be its gold deposits.
The Kyrgyz republic was home to the Soviet Union's largest gold mine (Makmal), which continues to be one of the largest proven gold reserves in the world.
Kyrgyzstan's population is ethnically diverse, including Kyrgyz (64.9 percent), Uzbek (13.8 percent), Russian (12.5 percent), Dungan (1.1 percent), Ukrainian (1 percent), and Uygyr (1 percent) peoples.
Population distribution is concentrated in the Fergana, Talas, and Chu valleys and is centered in the cities of Bishkek (the capital, 2004 population 866,300) and Osh (2004 population 229,700).
Most citizens are adherents to the religion of Islam (75 percent), although a sizable minority of Russian Orthodox (20 percent) exists.
A secular state, Kyrgyzstan has two official languages, Kyrgyz and Russian.
Kyrgyzstan's economy, like that of other poor countries, is dominated by the agricultural sector.
A full 55 percent of the labor force is engaged in farming.
Nomadic herders raise sheep (for both meat and wool), cattle, and yaks.
Other agricultural products include cotton, tobacco, and a variety of vegetables.
Industry, which accounts for just 15 percent of the labor force, is limited to gold, small machinery, textiles, and food processing.
During its first decade of independence, Kyrgyzstan implemented more market-oriented economic reform but experienced slower economic growth than the other former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
Perhaps the most pressing geographical/political issue facing Kyrgyzstan is its complex western boundary with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Three large Tajik exclaves exist entirely within Kyrgyzstan's borders, and a serious boundary dispute continues with Uzbekistan.
Here, seemingly arbitrary boundaries fragment ethnic groups and unite dissimilar peoples.
Kyrgyzstan's relative location has also fostered a growing problem of illegal narcotics traffic.
The country has become a corridor for the movement of opium and heroin produced in AFGHANISTAN and Tajikistan, bound for the European market.
Combating terrorism represents an additional problem confronting Kyrgyzstan.
Radical Islam has penetrated the country, and Osh is considered by many to be the Soviet Central Asian headquarters of Wahhabism.
- China’s glass-bottom bridge appeared to be not as strong as everybody expected
"The glass on the bottom got cracked just underneath the tourists
It is reported that one of the tourists dropped a metal mug on the bridge floor while visiting this new place of interest. It resulted in a glass crack. When this happened all the tourists were immediately evacuated and the bridge itself was closed to the public.
The representatives of the Shiniuzhai geological park, where the bridge is placed state that the accident didn’t threaten the visitors’ security as there was only 1 of the 3 glass layers that got cracked. The glassmaker also agrees that there was nothing to worry about and the glass cracks don’t pose any risk to the tourists. However, it’s hard to believe, but that is not the first material flaw produced by this company. A year ago the glass floor placed at one of the skyscrapers in Chicago got cracked and was supplied by the same company. "
- Tourists from Germany and Poland have stolen a gondola
"Two tourists from Germany and Poland “have borrowed” a gondola while its owner was absent and started their romantic cruise along the Venetian canals. They didn’t manage to go far away as the police arrested them. And now the tourists are facing a sentence: they have already been charged for stealing and creating a hazardous situation on the traffic artery of the city.
The angry owner of the gondola adds more fuel to the fire. Despite the fact that his vessel is undamaged he is on the point of applying to court for compensation for moral damage. He actually may be understood as the price for the cheapest gondola equals to the price for the premium class car. "