About Kyrgyzstan [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Kyrgyzstan; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.


Central Asia, west of China


Dry continental to polar in high Tien Shan Mountains; subtropical in southwest (Fergana Valley); temperate in northern foothill zone


Peaks of Tien Shan and associated valleys and basins encompass entire nation


lowest point: Kara-Daryya (Karadar'ya) 132 m
highest point: Jengish Chokusu (Pik Pobedy) 7,439 m

Geo Notes

Landlocked; entirely mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range; 94% of the country is 1,000 m above sea level with an average elevation of 2,750 m; many tall peaks, glaciers, and high-altitude lakes

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: Kyrgyz Republic
conventional short form: Kyrgyzstan
local long form: Kyrgyz Respublikasy
local short form: Kyrgyzstan
former: Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic

Capital City

name: Bishkek
geographic coordinates: 42 52 N, 74 36 E
time difference: UTC+6

Administrative Divisions

7 provinces (oblastlar, singular - oblasty) and 1 city* (shaar); Batken Oblasty, Bishkek Shaary*, Chuy Oblasty (Bishkek), Jalal-Abad Oblasty, Naryn Oblasty, Osh Oblasty, Talas Oblasty, Ysyk-Kol Oblasty (Karakol)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Natuaral Hazards


Environmental 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

Life Expectancy

total population: 69.74 years
male: 65.74 years
female: 73.94 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.053 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

Kyrgyz 64.7% (official), Uzbek 13.6%, Russian 12.5% (official), Dungun 1%, other 8.2% (1999 census)

Religions Practiced

Muslim 75%, Russian Orthodox 20%, other 5%

Legal System

Based on French and Russian laws; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National Holiday

Independence Day, 31 August (1991)

Illicit Drugs

Limited illicit cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy for CIS markets; limited government eradication of illicit crops; transit point for Southwest Asian narcotics bound for Russia and the rest of Europe; major consumer of opiates

Telephone System

general assessment: telecommunications infrastructure is being upgraded; loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are being used to install a digital network, digital radio-relay stations, and fiber-optic links
domestic: fixed-line penetration remains low and concentrated in urban areas; multiple mobile-cellular service providers with growing coverage; mobile-cellular subscribership exceeded 80 per 100 persons in 2009
international: country code - 996; connections with other CIS countries by landline or microwave radio relay and with other countries by leased connections with Moscow international gateway switch and by satellite; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intersputnik, 1 Intelsat); connected internationally by the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line

Broadcast Media

State-run television broadcaster operates 2 nationwide networks and 6 regional stations; roughly 20 private TV stations operating with most rebroadcasting other channels; state-run radio broadcaster operates 2 networks; about 20 private radio stations operating (2007)


A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, most of Kyrgyzstan was formally annexed to Russia in 1876. The Kyrgyz staged a major revolt against the Tsarist Empire in 1916 in which almost one-sixth of the Kyrgyz population was killed. Kyrgyzstan became a Soviet republic in 1936 and achieved independence in 1991 when the USSR dissolved. Nationwide demonstrations in the spring of 2005 resulted in the ouster of President Askar AKAEV, who had run the country since 1990. Subsequent presidential elections in July 2005 were won overwhelmingly by former prime minister Kurmanbek BAKIEV. Over the next few years, the new president manipulated the parliament to accrue new powers for himself. In July 2009, after months of harassment against his opponents and media critics, BAKIEV won re-election in a presidential campaign that the international community deemed flawed. In April 2010, nationwide protests led to the resignation and expulsion of BAKIEV. He was replaced by President Roza OTUNBAEVA who will serve as president until 31 December 2011 according to a presidential decree issued 19 May 2010. Presidential elections are scheduled to be held in October 2011. Continuing concerns include: endemic corruption, poor interethnic relations, and terrorism.

Economy Overview

Kyrgyzstan is a poor, mountainous country with a dominant agricultural sector. Cotton, tobacco, wool, and meat are the main agricultural products, although only tobacco and cotton are exported in any quantity. Industrial exports include gold, mercury, uranium, natural gas, and electricity. Following independence, Kyrgyzstan was progressive in carrying out market reforms such as an improved regulatory system and land reform. Kyrgyzstan was the first Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country to be accepted into the World Trade Organization. Much of the government's stock in enterprises has been sold. Drops in production had been severe after the breakup of the Soviet Union in December 1991 but by mid-1995 production began to recover and exports began to increase. The economy is heavily weighted toward gold export and a drop in output at the main Kumtor gold mine can sparks a decline in GDP. The government made steady strides in controlling its substantial fiscal deficit, nearly closing the gap between revenues and expenditures in 2006, before boosting expenditures more than 20% in 2007-08. The government and international financial institutions have been engaged in a comprehensive medium-term poverty reduction and economic growth strategy. In 2005, Bishkek agreed to pursue much needed tax reform and in 2006 became eligible for the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. Progress fighting corruption, further restructuring of domestic industry, and success in attracting foreign investment are keys to future growth. GDP grew about 8% annually in 2007-08, partly due to higher gold prices internationally, but GDP fell 1% in 2009, because of declines in remittances and investment following the global financial crisis and because of lower gold production.

National Anthem

name: "Kyrgyz Respublikasynyn Mamlekettik Gimni" (National Anthem of the Kyrgyz Republic)
lyrics/music: Djamil SADYKOV and Eshmambet KULUEV/Nasyr DAVLESOV and Kalyi MOLDOBASANOV
note: adopted 1992

Kyrgyzstan location map

total: 199,951 sq km
land: 191,801 sq km
water: 8,150 sq km

Kyrgyzstan flag

5,508,626 (July 2010 est.)


noun: Kyrgyzstani(s)
adjective: Kyrgyzstani

Ethnic Groups

Kyrgyz 64.9%, Uzbek 13.8%, Russian 12.5%, Dungan 1.1%, Ukrainian 1%, Uighur 1%, other 5.7% (1999 census)


Less than 0.1% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

31 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

Government Type


Voting Rights

18 years of age; universal

Internet Users

850,000 (2008)

Internet Hosts

97,976 (2010)

Internet Country Code


Number Airports

28 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 18
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
under 914 m: 3 (2010)


total: 470 km
broad gauge: 470 km 1.520-m gauge (2008)


total: 18,500 km
paved: 16,909 km (includes 140 km of expressways)
unpaved: 1,591 km (2003)

Inland Waterways

600 km (2008)

Ports & Terminals

Balykchy (Ysyk-Kol or Rybach'ye)

National Budget

revenues: $1.297 billion
expenditures: $1.365 billion (2009 est.)

Account Balance

$184 million (2009 est.)
-$680.3 million (2008 est.)

Exchange Rates

soms (KGS) per US dollar - 43.069 (2009), 36.108 (2008), 37.746 (2007), 40.149 (2006), 41.012 (2005)

Inflation Rate

6.9% (2009 est.)
24.5% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Small machinery, textiles, food processing, cement, shoes, sawn logs, refrigerators, furniture, electric motors, gold, rare earth metals

Agricultural Products

Tobacco, cotton, potatoes, vegetables, grapes, fruits and berries; sheep, goats, cattle, wool

Labor Force

2.344 million (2007)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 48%
industry: 12.5%
services: 39.5% (2005 est.)

Unemployment Rate

18% (2004 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$12.09 billion (2009 est.)
$11.82 billion (2008 est.)
$10.9 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$2,200 (2009 est.)
$2,200 (2008 est.)
$2,100 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 25.9% (2004)

Family Income Gini

30.3 (2003)
29 (2001)

Below Poverty

40% (2004 est.)