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Fast facts about the country


A rugged nation in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan shares the snowcapped Tian Shan with China. Some 80 percent of the land is mountainous. In their mountain fastness, the nomadic Kyrgyz, a Turkic-speaking people with loose ties to Islam, bred horses, cattle, and yaks for centuries. The Kyrgyz came under tsarist Russian rule during the 19th century, and thousands of Slavic farmers migrated into the region. Kyrgyzstan gained independence in 1991. Kyrgyz make up two thirds of the population, and there are large Uzbek and Russian minorities. Raising livestock still remains the main agricultural activity today.

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
Population: Approximately 5,284,000 (2007 estimate); Kyrgyz 69,5%, Uzbeks 14.5%, Russians 9%, others 7%
Ethnic diversity: Kyrgyz dominate in the north with Russians, other Slavs and Dungans forming sizeable minorities; many Uzbeks in the south, forming the majority in some regions
Capital: Bishkek; estimated around 1 million
Other main towns: Osh, Naryn, Jalal-Abad, Karakol, Talas
Area: 199,900 square kilometers (about the same as England, Wales and Scotland combined or Nebraska, USA)
Languages: Official languages are Kyrgyz and Russian; also Uzbek, Uyghur, Dungan and others
Religion: Sunni Islam, Orthodox Christian, animistic beliefs
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
Currency: Kyrgyzstani som
Life Expectancy: 69
GDP per Capita: U.S. $2,900
Literacy Percent: 97 %
Economy: Livestock, agriculture, mining, hydroelectric energy, recycled metal, tourism
International telephone code: 996
Time: GMT4-5
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