Kyrgyzstan is a fabulous, fascinating and inviting Central Asian country with its natural beauties. Its tourist potential is huge! It is a fairly developed republic with a rich history, unusual culture and many interesting traditions. Situated at the intersection of the roads of the Great Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan still keeps unique ancient monuments that, combining organically with modern buildings, are able to present a lot of unforgettable impressions to their guests. Excursion tours around Kyrgyzstan are very popular among curious tourists from near and far abroad.

Kyrgyzstan is a veritable "mountain paradise", located between the deserts of Uzbekistan, the steppes of Kazakhstan, the harsh highlands of Tajikistan and the sparsely populated, arid plains of Western China (Xinjiang). Throughout the whole territory of Kyrgyzstan, the two greatest mountain systems of the Earth - the Tien Shan and the Pamir - with the highest peaks of the world level stretched - Victory Peak (7439 m), Lenin Peak (7134 m) and the most beautiful pyramidal peak Khan-Tengri (6995 m). Climbers, climbers, skiers, snowboarders, lovers of mountain trekking (trekking, hiking) and other extremals go to the most beautiful mountain regions of Kyrgyzstan in winter and in summer.

Thanks to its majestic mountains and temperate continental climate, Kyrgyzstan is considered the edge of the world's largest glaciers, huge snowfields, rapid mountain rivers, turquoise highland lakes, enchanting herbs and multicolored alpine meadows and rich in diversity of flora and fauna of fertile valleys.

One of the main Kyrgyz "celebrities" is Lake Issyk-Kul, in resorts and health resorts of which every year comes a huge number of lovers of a languid beach holiday.

Obligatory points of visit in Kyrgyzstan are its main cities - Bishkek and Osh. They are different, but in both there is an atmosphere of good nature, light and warmth.

In recent years, the so-called Jailoo-tourism is developing rapidly in the country - living in nomad yurts deep in the mountains of the Pamir and Tien Shan, in complete isolation from civilization.

Traveling by natural and man-made sights of Kyrgyzstan is accompanied by constant hospitality of local residents, unusual Kyrgyz cuisine, as well as centuries-old traditions and customs of the ancient people.

General information about Kyrgyzstan.

Location. Located in the north-east of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan can be safely called Central Asia Switzerland, because these two countries have much in common. Like European Switzerland, the territory of Kyrgyzstan is more than half located in the mountains, and even its low-lying regions do not fall below 401 meters above sea level. To the very sea, neither one, nor the other state has no way out. Kyrgyzstan stretched from east to west along the chains of the Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai. The highest peak is Pobeda Peak (7439 m). In the mountains everything breathes untouched, pristine beauty, which you will not see on the plains. The northern point of Kyrgyzstan is located on the same latitude as Rome, and the southern point - with the island of Sicily.
Area. If to compare the sizes, the Central Asian country of mountains almost five times more than Switzerland - its area makes 199,9 thousand square kilometers. Here could fit Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands together.
Population. More than five and a half million people live on these lands. Since life in the mountainous regions is rather complicated, most of the population is concentrated in the valleys of Talas, Naryn, Chui and Issyk-Kul basin. The national composition is diverse, but for the most part representatives of different peoples do not live intermixed. For example, Uzbeks, accounting for 14.3%, are located in the south-west of the country; Russians represented by 7.8% live mainly in the north; a small number of Germans live in the Talas region and the Kant area; Dungan (Muslims - Chinese) and Kazakhs - in the Chui Valley; Uighurs - in Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad. The Kyrgyz, naturally, are an ethnic majority, live throughout the country and predominate in most rural areas.
Political structure. According to the Constitution, Kyrgyzstan is a parliamentary republic, that is, the president has fewer powers than the prime minister and parliament. The people elect the president once every six years, after which he can no longer run. 120 members of parliament are approved for five years on party lists, and the head of government, in turn, is determined by the parliament itself.
Administrative-territorial division: According to the administrative division, the country has 7 regions (Batken, Jalal-Abad, Issyk-Kul, Naryn, Osh, Talas and Chui), 40 districts, 22 cities and 429 village administrations. The main cities are Bishkek and Osh.

The capital is the city of Bishkek with a population of 874.4 thousand people, previously the city also bore the names Pishpek and Frunze. Thanks to the orthogonal type of layout, it is remarkably blown by air from the mountains. The constant influx of fresh air favorably distinguishes it from among similar large cities in the region.
The official language is Kyrgyz, but there are many people in the country who speak Uzbek and Tajik. As the main language of interethnic communication is a Russian, which has the status of official.
Monetary unit - som. On the territory of Kyrgyzstan, all calculations are made in soms (1 som = 100 tyiyn). Banks and currency exchange offices can be found in all major cities of the Republic.
Religions. Spiritual wealth is achieved by professing Islam in 75% and Orthodoxy in 20%. Other religions account for only 5% of citizens.
Standard time zone: UTC / GMT +5 hours. Time in the country does not divide into winter and summer and stably equals +5 hours to Greenwich.
Electricity. As in many other CIS countries, in Kyrgyzstan the voltage in the power grid is 220 V with a frequency of 50 Hz. Sockets are mainly used standard, with a double plug. However, in some hotels you can meet with a triple.

Climate of Kyrgyzstan.

The relief and location of the country have caused that you can plunge into different types of climate. It is almost marine, and sharply continental, and subtropical, and temperate. The peculiarity of Kyrgyzstan is the fact that the seasons are very pronounced here, which is not surprising, because the lands nearest to it are rich in deserts.
The average air temperature here is determined not immediately by the whole state, but by climatic zones. So, in winter in the valleys the column of the thermometer rarely falls below -8 degrees, in the highlands and 27 degrees below zero is not the limit. At the same time, in the summer, the mountainous areas practically catch up with the low-lying ones. And in those, and in others, the average air temperature is about 26 degrees. Of course, in the highlands of eternal snows the weather is very different and has all the signs of a subpolar climate. The air temperature on the coast of Issyk-Kul is less contrasting and all year round is tempered (in winter it is about + 2 ° C, in summer + 18-25 ° C).
Guests of the country do not have to complain about the lack of sunny days - here their average is 247 per year! It is possible to catch a cloudy sky in Kyrgyzstan only in winter and early spring. In the rest of the time, the region is bathed in sunlight, which, however, is not so scorching as in neighboring Uzbekistan. A characteristic feature is the dry air over the entire territory of the country. Precipitation in the country is not uniform. For example, the northern slopes of the Ala-Too receive over 1,000 mm per year, while the Western Issyk-Kul region is only 110 mm. The maximum amount of precipitation falls at the beginning of summer and in the autumn-winter period. And by the middle of winter the thickness of the snow cover on the slopes of the mountains can reach up to 1 meter, and in the highlands the snow lies all year round.

How to dress in Kyrgyzstan.

Based on the country's climate data, the preferred clothes in the summer are light shirts, shorts, pants and dresses. It is best if cotton is the main part of the fiber. It allows the body to breathe and not cause excessive sweating. Due to the fact that the air humidity in Kyrgyzstan is low, high temperatures are relatively easy to transfer. To protect the head is ideal for wide-brimmed hats with mandatory ventilation holes.
Do not forget that white clothing less absorbs the sun's heat. People who have eyes with high sensitivity should always have sunglasses with them.
As shoes in the city enough open sandals. From the local culture there are no restrictions to the style and color of clothing. Unless in the religious places is not recommended appearance in outfits that leave open the thighs, calves, shoulders, and for women and neck. When you are invited to the house, you should take off your shoes before entering.
Quite a different matter if you are planning trips to the mountains, especially the highlands. A list of necessary equipment and equipment for expeditions can be found here. In general, it should be borne in mind that in mountainous areas it is much cooler, especially at night, and the weather is extremely changeable.

Cuisine of Kyrgyzstan.

In modern Kyrgyzstan, almost every part of it can meet any dish of Uzbek, Russian, Turkish or Iranian cuisine. The Kyrgyz people, of course, have their own culinary traditions, simply because of the nomadic past, Kyrgyz cuisine is not particularly diverse.
For example, the dishes from the chicken are completely absent from the national menu, because the breeding of these birds required a settled way of life. But all sorts of options for fried and baked lamb are presented here in the range. This was again demanded by the nomadic way of life, because in a hot climate you can only conserve meat by roasting or wilting it.
The most vivid representatives of native Kirghiz cuisine are different varieties of horse meat sausages. The most revered variety is Chuchuk, where a piquant taste is achieved by more fatty meat varieties and smoking. A lot of other snacks and dishes, such as card and karyn, are prepared from horse meat. A very fragrant and satisfying beshbarmak is also very common.
But, as it was said earlier, pilafs, mantas, chuchparas and many other dishes from the cuisines of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkey, as well as Uighur dishes, have long been densely integrated into the culture of the people. A great influence in this kitchen mix was the Great Silk Road, whose merit was in the transfer of not only goods, but also cultural features.
Especially revere in Kyrgyzstan honey. Used with local tortillas, it can sometimes be the main dish for breakfast. Also positive are local residents and to a variety of fruits - they are in the summer-autumn period apparently invisible in all markets of the country. Apples from Issyk-Kul are considered to be among the best in the world! Vegetables are very favorite by the Kirghiz pumpkin.
A large layer in the national Kyrgyz cuisine is occupied by sour milk drinks: koumiss, tan, ayran. They can be bought at any market, in any store and even along mountain roads.
The food of the Kirghiz is carried out mainly on the dasturhan (dastarkhan) - a narrow tablecloth spread on the floor. If you were lucky enough to be invited, and this by virtue of the hospitality of the Kirghiz is very likely, you need to remember several important rules: food should only be taken with your right hand; when sitting down, the legs should not be directed towards the accessorhana, they should be turned over or pulled to the side. To sneezing at the table, the attitude is also negative.

The cost of food in Kyrgyzstan.
The menu in cafes and restaurants in Kyrgyzstan rarely contains high price tags. Food in Kyrgyzstan is quite cheap. For example, lunch usually does not exceed 10 US dollars, and a dense dinner - 20. However, in the capital there are also elite establishments where for a cup of coffee it is necessary to pay more than 10 dollars. As a rule, the restaurants and cafes of Kyrgyzstan offer dishes of national, as well as Uzbek, Uighur, European and other cuisines of the world.

Viza i registratsiya.
Pravitel'stvom Kyrgyzstana prodelana bol'shaya rabota po uproshcheniyu v"yezda v respubliku turistov. Na segodnyashniy den' besprepyatstvenno nakhodit'sya na territorii strany bez oformleniya vizy v Kyrgyzstan mogut grazhdane Rossii, Belorussii, Kazakhstana, Azerbaydzhana, Armenii, Gruzii, Moldovy, Tadzhikistana, Kuby, V'yetnama, Yaponii i KNDR. Grazhdane Rossii mogut v"yezzhat' v Kyrgyzstan po vnutrennemu pasportu.
Bezvizovyy rezhim v"yezda v Kyrgyzstan srokom do 60 dney takzhe deystvuyet dlya grazhdan 45 stran (podrobneye zdes'). Krome togo dlya grazhdan tselogo ryada stran imeyetsya vozmozhnost' polucheniya vizy v uproshchennom poryadke.
Dlya poseshcheniya pogranichnykh rayonov trebuyetsya oformit' spetsial'noye razresheniye.
Pokidaya otel', sleduyet prokontrolirovat', chtoby yego sotrudnikami byli vydany dokumenty, gde ukazan srok prebyvaniya. Eti registratsionnyye karty takzhe potrebuyetsya pred"yavit' sotrudnikam pasportnogo kontrolya na granitse. Ot registratsiina territorii Kyrgyzskoy Respubliki osvobozhdayutsya grazhdane inostrannykh gosudarstv, v otnoshenii kotorykh deystvuyet bezvizovyy rezhim, yesli srok ikh prebyvaniya v Kyrgyzskoy Respublike ne prevyshayet 60 dney (dlya grazhdan Rossiyskoy Federatsii - 30 dney).

Tamozhennyye pravila Kyrgyzstana.
Tamozhennymi pravilami respubliki zapreshchayetsya vvoz i vyvoz oruzhiya, boyepripasov, narkoticheskikh veshchestv i pechatnykh materialov, soderzhashchikh ugrozu konstitutsionnomu stroyu strany. Vne zavisimosti ot grazhdanstva, na territoriyu respubliki mozhno vvezti neogranichennoye kolichestvo denezhnykh sredstv pri uslovii, chto pri vyyezde ikh stanet men'she. Summa propisyvayetsya v tamozhennoy deklaratsii, kotoruyu sleduyet sokhranyat' do vyyezda iz gosudarstva.
Drugiye vvozimyye tsennyye veshchi i apparaturu razresheno vvozit' na summu ne boleye 5 000 dollarov SSHA. Ikh takzhe potrebuyetsya perechislit' v deklaratsii. Yesli na obratnom puti chego-libo iz dannogo spiska uzhe ne budet, to pridetsya uplatit' poshlinu za import.
Sigaret razresheno vvozit' v kolichestve 1 000 shtuk, vina - 2 litra, krepkikh alkogol'nykh napitkov - 1,5 litra. Kosmeticheskiye sredstva dopuskayutsya lish' v tom kolichestve, kotoroye mozhet potrebovat'sya odnomu cheloveku.
Kak pravilo, kuplennyye izdeliya ruchnoy raboty i izgotovlennyye nedavno tovary vyvozit' mozhno besprepyatstvenno. Yestestvenno, v etu kategoriyu ne popadayut predmety, predstavlyayushchiye isklyuchitel'nuyu kul'turnuyu i istoricheskuyu tsennost'.
Yesli osobennosti zdorov'ya predpolagayut priyem lekarstvennykh sredstv, zhelatel'no neobkhodimoye kolichestvo medikamentov privezti s soboy libo zaraneye prokonsul'tirovat'sya s nashimi turoperatorami otnositel'no vozmozhnosti kupit' nuzhnyye lekarstva na territorii Kyrgyzstana.

Valyuta v Kyrgyzstane.

Visa and registration.
The government of Kyrgyzstan has done a lot of work to simplify the entry of tourists into the republic. To date, citizens of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Cuba, Vietnam, Japan and the DPRK can freely enter the territory of the country without obtaining a visa to Kyrgyzstan. Russian citizens can enter Kyrgyzstan by an internal passport.
Visa-free entry into Kyrgyzstan for up to 60 days is also valid for citizens of 45 countries (more details here). In addition, citizens of a number of countries have the opportunity to obtain a visa in a simplified manner.
To visit the border areas, a special permit is required.
Leaving the hotel, you should check that his employees were issued with the documents, where the period of stay is indicated. These registration cards will also need to be presented to passport control officers at the border. From the registration of the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic, citizens of foreign countries are exempted, in respect of whom a visa-free regime applies, if their stay in the Kyrgyz Republic does not exceed 60 days (for citizens of the Russian Federation - 30 days).

Customs regulations of Kyrgyzstan.
The republic's customs rules prohibit the import and export of weapons, ammunition, narcotic substances and printed materials that threaten the country's constitutional order. Regardless of citizenship, an unlimited amount of money can be imported to the territory of the republic, provided that there will be less money when leaving. The amount is prescribed in the customs declaration, which should be retained before departure from the state.
Other imported valuables and equipment are allowed to import for an amount not exceeding 5,000 US dollars. They will also need to be listed in the declaration. If on the way back something from this list is no longer there, then you will have to pay the import duty.
Cigarette allowed to import in quantities of 1,000 pieces, wine - 2 liters, strong alcoholic beverages - 1.5 liters. Cosmetic means are allowed only in the amount that can be required by one person.
As a rule, bought handmade products and recently manufactured goods can be exported without hindrance. Naturally, this category does not include objects that are of exceptional cultural and historical value.
If the health features suggest taking medications, it is desirable to bring the necessary amount of medications with you or consult with our tour operators in advance about the opportunity to buy the necessary medicines in Kyrgyzstan.

Currency in Kyrgyzstan.

Legally, in the territory of Kyrgyzstan, it is allowed to pay only in soms - monetary units of the Kyrgyz Republic, which were put into circulation on May 10, 1993. Currently, the banknote number is represented by the following denominations: 1, 10, 50 tyiyn and 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 soms.
Sometimes, staff from hotels and other private organizations may be invited to pay in foreign currency. This can be done only if the company has an appropriate official permit. In other cases, there may be problems with law enforcement.
However, in order to completely eliminate such misunderstandings from your travel program, you should make an early cash exchange for local currency. This can be done in banks working, as a rule, from 9.00 to 17.00 except on Saturday and Sunday, or at official exchange offices, many of which operate 24 hours a day.
It is worth noting that the rate in different exchangers may vary, and the rate in the capital is always higher than in the province. When exchanging it is desirable to save documents issued by a bank employee or point. Do not be surprised that in some such institutions they can refuse to accept badly worn notes or banknotes of old US dollars.
To change money in the bazaar from outside people is by no means worthwhile - there is a risk of becoming a victim of fraudsters or being detained by law enforcement officers for an illegal currency transaction. The use of foreign plastic cards is available only in some shopping centers, banks and hotels in Bishkek.

Photographing in Kyrgyzstan.
In the republic it is allowed to photograph and shoot almost everything on video. Restrictions are imposed only on airports and military facilities. It is also not advisable to carry out similar actions against strangers without their consent.

Souvenirs of Kyrgyzstan.

Admiring the splendor of the ancient monuments of Kyrgyzstan, its Issyk-Kul and the snow-capped peaks of the mountains, one can forget that memories of this amazing place will want to be preserved for life. Therefore, the choice of souvenirs should be given if not the first, then at least the second place.
In addition to all kinds of carpets and carved wood products, common in almost all Central Asian countries, they produce quite entertaining things from felt. It is connected all with the same nomadic past of the people. Souvenirs in the form of national Kyrgyz yurts in a wide variety are on sale. Particularly distinguished from them are the yurt-warmers for the kettle, which allow to keep the tea hot for the whole evening and are very colorful looking on the table among vases with sweets and biscuits. To ensure that the yurt does not miss its land, it will be nice to bring along a set of pialas decorated with national Kyrgyz ornament. No glass or mug can better convey the whole fragrance and heat contained in the tea.
Also in great demand as souvenirs and gifts use panels, toys and national headdresses from felt. Soft yet felt slippers, being clothed on their feet, warm not only them, but also the soul.