Key Country Facts
The salt lake in Kyrgyzstan, Tuz Kol, is almost as salty as the Dead Sea, and is said to have healing properties in its salty mud.
About 6 million people live here in Kyrgyzstan and the main languages are Kyrgyz and Russian. The dominant religions are Islam (Sunni Muslim) followed by Christianity, and Russian Orthodox. Its top exports are gold, refined petroleum, dried legumes, planes, helicopters, spacecrafts, and vehicle parts.
Kyrgyzstan does not have many designated tourist attractions, but there is nonetheless no shortage of things to do. Many Kyrgyz people ride on horseback, and travelers have access to guided tours and treks on horseback throughout the country. This is a great way to experience living in a yurt, a small tent that can be seen throughout the country, especially in warmer months from nomadic travels throughout the country.
Horseback riding in Kyrgyzstan as a lifestyle is so popular that natives have games that they will play as a way of showing their superb riding skills in fun sports. Also fascinating is that eagles and wild camels can be found in Kyrgyzstan, and that eagles are still used today as trained hunting birds.
An incredible, historic place to visit is Tash-Rabat, an ancient Silk Road caravanserai close to the Chinese border. This is one of the few unscathed buildings on the Silk Road in the world today, making is a true historic gem.
Kyrgyzstan cannot be visited without exploring its mountains and lakes. Some of the mountains are formed by beautiful, deep red clay with traces of brown, orange, and yellow hues throughout, making the mountains truly spectacular to see.
Many travelers have heard of the Dead Sea in Jordan, but what about the salt lake in Kyrgyzstan? Tuz Kol in Kyrgyzstan is almost as salty as the Dead Sea, and is said to have healing properties in its salty mud. Locals enjoy coming here for the warm, calming waters.
Kyrgyzstan (pronounced Koer-gistan) is made up mostly of mountains and is roughly the same size as South Dakota. It’s a landlocked country that shares a border with Kazakhstan and Uzbek and Tajik and China. It is definitely wealthier and has invested more resources into its infrastructure (roads, etc) than its neighbors to the south (Tajik).
The downtown Bishkek is distinctly modern, however its sad Russian past are still omnipresent throughout—rundown and ransacked, the city of Bishkek’s behemoth cement apartment buildings still tower over the same streets. And how they are still standing is the real mystery.
The Kyrgyz are very proud of their horse riding skills, and after traveling 1.5 hours outside the city, I got to watch “Oodarysh” where the participants wrestle on horseback. The most fascinating though was watching the “polo match” which was one of the highlights of my entire journey. Instead of using a ball, the players use a beheaded goat. The object of the game is to get the goat into the goal and the winners get to keep the goat and eat it for dinner.
This country doesn’t have an army, so still has to answer to big brother Russia.