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  Kyrgyzstan » Kyrgyzstan



Kyrgyz are a Turkic ethnic group found primarily in Kyrgyzstan. Etymology There are several etymological theories on the name “Kyrgyz.” First, the name Kyrgyz may mean “forty girls” (kyrk + kyz), a reference to the Manas epic. This is symbolized by the yellow sun in the center of the flag of Kyrgyzstan, which has 40…


The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia (largely Kazakhstan). They are famous for their self-reliance and military skills, particularly horsemanship. Etymology of Kazak There are many theories on the origin of the word "Kazak". "Qazaq" was included in a 13th century Turkic-Arabian dictionary, where its meaning was given as…


The Uzbeks are a Turkic people of Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and the Xinjian Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. Smaller diaspora populations of Uzbeks from Central Asia are also found in Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, North America…


Fish provide an important source of iodine – otherwise lacking in the Kyrgyz diet – and is a popular form of food. Today, there are some 54 species found in Kyrgyzstan – 38 of them indigenous and 16 introduced. The greatest diversity is found in Issyk Kul and the larger rivers … depending on the…


Joost van der Ven, in his book “Looking at Birds in the Kyrgyz Republic” devotes a special chapter to cranes and the migratory routes that bring three different species to Kyrgyzstan.  These long legged, long necked, migratory birds with powerful wings, live either in marshlands on the steppes where they feed on plants, insects and…


There are several different types of birds of prey (eagles, vultures, hawks, Bustards and so forth) found in the Kyrgyz Republic – the largest is the Golden Eagle – Berkut. The wings of a young Golden Eagle tend to be light coloured with a dark line along the edge – an older eagle will have…


Yaks are large animals, they can reach two metres in height, a relative of cattle. As long ago as 3000 years ago, they were first tamed by man. Domestic yaks tend to be smaller and quieter than wild ones. They don’t need special care and they are able to survive on scanty mountain vegetation.  As…


The wolf has a bad reputation throughout the world. Perhaps part of this in modern times is due to the prevelance of Werewolf stories and films. There are a number of species of wolves found throughout the Republic, and their reputation is no better here than elsewhere – especially as they seen as a distinct…

Marco Polo sheep

Marco Polo’s Sheep (Ovis ammon polii) are a variety of Argali. They are also known as Great Tibetan Sheep, Pamir Argali, and Great Pamir Sheep. They are mainly known for their characteristicly large swirling horns. Some scholars have doubted the accuracy of Marco Polo’s accounts of his journey to Cathay (China) – where he spent…

Snow Leopard

Tigers and cheetahs once roamed through the forests of Kyrgyzstan – but the Snow Leopard is the only example of the “Big Cats” still to be found in Kyrgyzstan.  They are extremely athletic – capable of making huge leaps over ravines – and can bring down prey almost three times their own size.  They can…

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