kaart kirgizi nl kl

Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a former Soviet Republic. The country declared its independence in 1991. It is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, China to the east, Tajikistan to the south and Uzbekistan to the west. It is a mountainous and landlocked country. Kyrgyzstan is roughly five times the size of the Netherlands and has a registered population of over 6 million people, the majority of which live in the countryside. The most densely populated area is in the north, in and around the capital city of Bishkek [over 1 million people].

The Tian Shan mountain range dominates the country with its many high peaks, glaciers and mountain lakes. Because of this breathtaking natural beauty, Kyrgyzstan is sometimes called the "Switzerland of Central Asia".

Issyk Kul 01The picture shows the Issyk-Kul (= warm lake) in the northern part of the Tian Shan mountains in Eastern Kyrgyzstan. Issyk-Kul is an isolated lake with no outlet to the sea or other lakes. It´s over 1600 m above sea level, 182 km long and 60 km wide, and is important on a global level because of its biodiversity of flora and fauna.

Kyrgyzstan has a continental climate, which means temperatures can rise to around 40°C in the summer and drop to -25°C in the winter.

The originally nomadic population consists of 74% Kyrgyz, 15% Uzbeks, 5% Russians and the remaining 6% include Dungan, Uyghurs, Tajiks and Turks. Approximately 90% are Muslim, 7% Christian and the remaining 3% are Jewish, Buddhist or Baha'i. 

Economic situation

Kyrgyzstan is a lower-middle-income country. About 25% of the population live below the poverty line. The economy is dominated by mineral extraction and agriculture, and depends on the transfer of funds from citizens working abroad.

Katoen 2Cotton, wool and meat are the main agricultural products, although only cotton is exported. Other exports include gold, mercury, uranium, natural gas and sometimes electricity.

The country has been trying to attract foreign investors in order to expand its export base, including for the construction of hydropower plants. However, a difficult investment climate and an ongoing legal battle with a Canadian company over the joint ownership of the country's largest gold mine are deterring potential investors. Money transfers from Kyrgyz migrant workers, mainly residing in Russia and Kazakhstan, make up more than a quarter of Kyrgyzstan's Gross Domestic Product.

After gaining independence in 1991, Kyrgyzstan quickly carried out market reforms, such as improving the regulatory system and implementing land reform. In 1998, Kyrgyzstan became the first country of the Commonwealth of Independent States to be admitted to the World Trade Organisation. The government privatised many of its ownership shares in state-owned companies. Despite these reforms, the country suffered a severe production decline in the 1990s and has experienced slow growth again in recent years as the global financial crisis and decreasing oil prices diminished the economies of Central Asia.

EEU kaart 02In 2015, Kyrgyzstan joined the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan), but slowing economies in Russia and China, and low commodity prices continue to hinder economic growth.

The Kyrgyz government remains dependent on foreign donations to finance its annual budget deficit [around 55% of the GDP]. Persistent concerns for the Kyrgyz Republic include the process of democratisation, persistent corruption, a history of tense and sometimes violent inter-ethnic relations, vulnerabilities in border security and possible terrorist threats


Explanation of the name Kyrgyzstan

The country´s name is a combination of the Turkish words "kyrg" (= forty) and "-yz" (= tribes) with the Persian suffix "-stan" (= land). The meaning "Land of forty tribes" refers to the forty tribes united by the legendary Kyrgyz hero MANAS.

Kirgizië 01 vlagFlag

The rectangular flag has a red field with a yellow sun in the middle with forty rays representing the forty Kyrgyz tribes. In the centre of the sun there is a red ring crossed by two sets of three lines, a stylised representation of a "tunduk", the crown of a traditional Kyrgyz yurt. Red symbolises courage and bravery, the sun symbolises peace and prosperity.



Biljet KGS 100Currency

Kyrgyzstan´s currency is the Kyrgyz Som (KGS or C). You can change money anywhere, 24 hours a day. Cash dispensers can be found everywhere in the big cities and are increasingly being used in the provincial towns.




Manas is a traditional epic poem of the Kyrgyz people, and also the name of the great hero of the poem, which has almost half a million lines. It is a patriotic work about the exploitation of Manas and his descendants and followers, who fought against the Uyghurs in the 9th century to preserve their Kyrgyz independenceManas voordracht op komyz

Parts of this epic poem are often recited at Kyrgyz celebrations as a melodic song, accompanied by the sounds of a three-string komuz, a traditional Kyrgyz musical instrument.



No visa is required if you stay in the country less than 60 days.

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The Netherlands

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