1. Tea is a way of life
In Kyrgyzstan, tea is a way of life. It's as if no one knows what water is - tea is served with every single meal, usually in small bowls. Traditional Kyrgyz bread is almost always ordered alongside it, making it a staple of the Kyrgyz diet. Tea is so beloved that it's not uncommon to see people drinking it throughout the day, from morning to night.
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2. The Land of Handshaking
In Kyrgyzstan, handshaking is an integral part of the culture. People shake hands almost every time they meet, even if they work in the same place and see each other multiple times a day. It is important to note, however, that it is considered rude to shake hands with women, so visitors should be mindful of this custom.
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3. A Safe Country, But Beware the Lack of Street Lighting
Kyrgyzstan is a safe country, but it's worth noting that there is a distinct lack of street lighting, even in the capital city of Bishkek. After dark, the city is barely lit, making it a disconcerting experience for visitors who are used to well-lit streets. This lack of lighting can be attributed to the country's limited resources, but it's still a surprise to many who visit.
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4. Vibrant Greenery in Bishkek
Kyrgyzstan's capital city, Bishkek, is renowned for its lush greenery, with trees, shrubs, and flowers adorning the streets and parks. It is often referred to as one of the greenest cities in the former Soviet Union, and some even claim it is the greenest city in the world. Everywhere you look, you can find a variety of plants, from towering trees to delicate wildflowers, creating a vibrant and inviting atmosphere.
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5. Kyrgyzstan's Epic Poem is 500,000 Lines Long
Kyrgyzstan is home to the world's longest epic poem, "Manas", which is an incredible 500,000 lines long! This epic poem is an important part of Kyrgyz culture and is often performed in traditional Kyrgyz music and dance. It tells the story of the hero Manas and his descendants, and is believed to have been composed in the 18th century. It is an important part of Kyrgyz identity and is still widely celebrated today.
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6. Akhmed Al Fergani, Medieval Astronomer
Born in the Fergana Valley of Kyrgyzstan, Akhmed Al Fergani was a renowned medieval astronomer who made significant contributions to the field of astronomy. He is credited with the invention of the astrolabe, a device used to measure the altitude of stars, and is also known for his work on the calculation of the solar and lunar eclipses. His work was so influential that it was used by many other astronomers throughout the Middle Ages.
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7. Home to Chingiz Aitmatov, a renowned writer
Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country that is home to the renowned writer Chingiz Aitmatov. Aitmatov is widely celebrated for his works of fiction, which often explore themes of love, loss, and the human condition. His works have been translated into dozens of languages and have been adapted into films, plays, and operas. Aitmatov's influence on Kyrgyzstan's culture and literature is undeniable, and his legacy continues to inspire generations of writers and readers.
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8. Kyrgyzstan's Issyk-kul is a stunning sight
Kyrgyzstan is home to the world's second-largest high-altitude lake, Issyk-kul. Nicknamed the 'Pearl of Tien Shan', Issyk-kul is a stunning sight, with its crystal-clear waters and snow-capped mountains. The lake's name is derived from the Kyrgyz language, meaning "hot lake", a testament to its remarkable ability to remain unfrozen even in the coldest of winters.
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9. Russian an Official Language
Kyrgyzstan stands out among its Central Asian neighbors as the only country in the region to have Russian as one of its official national languages. This is a unique distinction, as the other countries in the region primarily use Turkic languages such as Uzbek, Kazakh, and Turkmen. Kyrgyzstan's decision to make Russian an official language is a reflection of its long history of close ties with Russia, which has been a major political and economic partner since the 19th century.
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10. Kyrgyzstan's Walnut-Fruit Forests: Vital Habitat
Kyrgyzstan is home to one of the largest natural walnut-fruit forests on the planet, boasting an impressive array of trees that span across the country. These forests are a vital part of the country's ecosystem, providing a habitat for a variety of wildlife and a source of food for the local population. The walnuts produced here are renowned for their high quality and are used in a variety of dishes, from traditional Kyrgyz cuisine to international dishes.
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- Turkic states
- Central Asian countries
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- Landlocked countries
- Countries in Asia