Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kyrgyz Republic

The Kyrgyz Republic is more commonly known as Kyrgyzstan.  This mostly mountainous, landlocked country is located in Central Asia and borders China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.  Kyrgyzstan is a little smaller than South Dakota and is home to about 5.7 million people.  The capital is Bishkek.

Kyrgyzstan has a proud nomadic tradition.  Most of the land was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1876.  In 1916 there was a major revolt and roughly 16% of the population was killed.  In 1936 it became a Soviet republic.  The country became independent in 1991 when the USSR broke apart.

Kyrgyzstan is a poor country that depends mostly on agriculture and minerals extraction.  Tobacco and cotton are its chief products.  But the country is rich is scenery.  The  Tien Shan mountains and abundant valleys are popular with hikers.

Kyrgyz alphabet
The official languages are Kyrgyz and Russian.  About 75% of the population is Muslim while roughly 20% are Russian Orthodox.

In 2010 there were violent protests which overthrew the government that had been in power since independence.

Until 2014 Kyrgyzstan was the only country in the world to host both U.S. and Russian military bases at the same time.  After more than 12 years, the U.S. left Manas Air Base which handled cargo in and out of Afghanistan.

The Som is the official currency.  One Som is about 1.5¢.

In May 2015 the country will officially join the Eurasian Economic Union.

I found a video out on YouTube that covers a serious problem in the country.  Apparently about half of all Kyrgyz marriages are a result of bride kidnapping.  Although it is illegal it is a common way to get a bride.

© Russia Today

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