(Kyrgyz Republic, Кыргыз Республикасы, Kyrgyz Respublikasy, Kirgiz Respublikasi)
• Location: Central Asia
• Capital: Bishkek
• Language(s): Kyrgyz, Russian
• Population: 5,534,243
• Total Area: 199,900 sq km
• Currency: Som
• Curious Alcohol Fact: The most popular alcoholic drink in the country is made from horse milk!
• Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 5.08 liters
• Most Popular Drink(s): Kymyz (fermented mare milk)
The Kyrgyz Republic can be described as a typical Central Asian state. It is vast, landlocked and is surrounded by some other ‘–stan’ countries. The name of the country can be translated to mean ‘the indomitable’ and is a reflection of the courageous nature of the Kyrgyz who have had to fight away invaders over the centuries. The nation shares borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China. The capital city is Bishkek (formerly called Pishkek and Frunze), and the second city is named Osh. Formerly a constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Kyrgyzstan became an independent nation in 1991.
As can be deciphered from the name of the country itself, the largest ethnic group in the country are the Kyrgyz and they make up almost 70% of the population. Apart from the Kyrgyz, there are other ethnic groups, and these include the Russians who make up around 10% of the country’s population, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Tajiks, Tatars and the Ukrainians. On the whole, when the ethnic groups are counted, they will reach about 80. The majority of the citizens settle in the rural areas, and only around 30% can be described as urban settlers. Like in the neighboring Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz also live a nomadic life and construct the yurt, a tent that is unique to Central Asia. Agriculture and animal husbandry are some of the most important activities in the country.
Places To Visit
The nation has a lot to offer the visitors and tourists after spectacular sights. One place that attracts hordes of tourists from around the world is the tranquil and incredibly beautiful Issyk Kul Lake. This lake is the largest in the country and also ranks as one of the highest mountain lakes in the world. You can also take time out to visit the Fergana Valley where you can see the typical Kyrgyz settlements and appreciate the people’s ways of life.
Since a majority of the people lead a nomadic life, it is not surprising that most of the meals revolve around meat and milk. Beshbarmak is the most popular dish in the country and most tourists ensure that they have a bite before flying out of Bishkek. The most enthralling thing with the meal is that you eat it without any form of cutlery, you make use of your fingers! Beshbarmak is made from noodles, mutton and spices. Another meal that you must try is kurdak, which is made from mutton, onions and various spices. While eating these foods, you will not know when you will start licking your fingers!
In the country, there is a drink called kymyz and is made from horse milk that has been fermented. Instead of fanciful beers, kymyz is the most widely consumed alcoholic drink in the Central Asian nation.
Sports in Kyrgyzstan
By far, the most popular sport in the country is football and there is even a national team. Apart from football, other popular sports in the country include wrestling and ice hockey.
Interesting Things About Kyrgyzstan
• The flag of the country shows a sun with 40 rays, said to depict the 40 tribes that founded the country.
• Kyrgyzstan was once part of the Soviet Union.
• Russia is an official language in the country.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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