Kyrgyzstan, - officially the Kyrgyz Republic - is an independent state with its own constitution since 31 August 1991. Now it is one of the democratic republics of Central Asia. The president - the head of the state and the parliament - are elected directly for a five year term.
Territory: 199,900 sq.km, stretching 925 km from east to west and 453 km from north to south, its altitude varying from 401 m to 7.439m; the average elevation - 2.750m, 90% - over 1.000m, 36% - over 3.000m.
Climate: Kyrgyzstan has a continental climate with a great difference in local temperatures. In general it is sunny, in some areas more than 2.900 hours of sun a year. In January the average temperature in Bishkek is around zero, at the Issyk-Kull lake it usually stays above zero. In February, March the snow disappears but high in the mountains, there can be snow until the beginning of May. It rains mostly in early spring. In the summer, in Bishkek it can be warm, even hot. Temperatures above 35 degrees are no exception. In the mountains the temperature stays more moderate. Depending on the altitude even in the summer it can drop to zero degrees.
Population: 6,0 million
Religion: Muslim (75%), Russian Orthodox (20%) and others (5%).
Nature and landscape: There is a great variety in landscapes. High mountains with glaciers, alpine pastures, semi- desert and fruitful river valleys, all are present. A great many Kaska Suu's, meaning "silver rivers" can be discovered in the mountains. You will find valleys with forests and naked, bare hills. Due to these different landscapes, you will find a great diversity of plants and animals. There are about 400 plants which only occur in this area, like some special kind of tulips and crocuses. More than 300 species of birds, 30 kinds of reptiles and amphibians and over 10.000 different insects live here.
In the mountains live wild goats, ibex and marco-polo sheep. About 60 % of the snow-leopard population is living in Kyrgyzstan. The chance that you will see one is, however, extremely small. In the Tian-Shan you can also find brown bears and wolves. The most common mountain animal however is the marmot.
Neighbouring countries: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan (all are ex-USSR) and China.