kyrgyzstan Flag

20 Fascinating Facts About Kyrgyzstan

20 Fascinating Facts About Kyrgyzstan


1. Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Asia. A landlocked country is surrounded by land and doesn’t have access to the open sea. Presently, there are 45 landlocked countries in the world along with five partially recognized nations.

2. During the 8th century, Arab invaders conquered what is now Kyrgyzstan and introduced Islam. Kyrgyzstan remains a predominately Muslim country with around 90% of its population Sunni Muslim.

3. The historic Silk Road, the ancient trading route that connected China with Europe and the Middle East, runs through Kyrgyzstan. Silk Road sites comprise one of the country’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

4. Kyrgyzstan became part of Russia in 1876 and then later the USSR until the country gained complete independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

5. In 1936 the country became a constituent republic within the USSR known as the Kirgiz Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR).

6. Kyrgyz is believed to descend from the word kyrk (40) – a reference to the 40 clans of Manas.

40 Clan of Manas

7. The flag of Kyrgyzstan is mainly red – which partly descends from the USSR’s Soviet Red Banner. However, it also stems from the flag carried by the national hero, Manas the Noble. In the center of the flag is a yellow sun with 40 rays – a reference to the 40 clans of Manas. There is also a sun with an emblem of two crossed sets of three lines. This symbolizes a yurt – a traditional Kyrgyz home.

8. The Kyrgyz epic poem, Epic of Manas, is 20 times longer than Homer’s Odyssey. The poem is about the formation of the Kyrgyz people. There are Manas statues found in practically every city in Kyrgyzstan.

9. The poem has even been inscribed by UNESCO on a List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Inscribed as part of a trilogy of poems, UNESCO describes the Manas as part of ‘the historical memory of the Kyrgyz people and survives thanks to a community of epic tellers.’

10. If Scrabble allowed place names (proper nouns are not permitted), Kyrgyzstan would be worth 30 points (along with Kazakhstan). Of all the one-word countries, only Mozambique scores higher (34).

11. Kyrgyzstan is a sparsely populated country. There are only 33 people per square km of land area.

12. What it lacks in people, it makes up for in natural beauty. The country is home to nearly 2,000 lakes.

13. It is also very mountainous with 94% of the country located 1,000m above sea level with an average elevation of 2,750m.

14. Bread is considered holy in Kyrgyzstan and it should never be wasted, thrown away, or placed upside down on the table.

krygzstan Bread

15. Known as Kymys, fermented mare’s (horse) milk is Kyrgyzstan’s national drink.

16. The world’s largest walnut forest is in Kyrgyzstan. In the small town of Arslanbob workers live in the forest for months at a time harvesting walnuts.

17. Kyrgyzstan currency is the som. Quite unusually, one of the coins in circulation comes is a denomination of three: the 3 som coin.

18. The traditional Kyrgyz way of life is based on nomadic livestock-herding.

19. Traditional shepherd shelters, yurts (boz-uy in Kyrgyz), are still widely used in Kyrgyzstan. The circular tent-like homes are made of kiyiz (multilayered felt) stretched around a kerege (collapsible wooden frame).

shepherd shelters, yurts

20. Kyrgyzstan created and hosted the first three World Nomad Games. Known as the ‘Olympics for nomads’ the games were designed to celebrate and preserve the culture of nomadic civilization.




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