Skip to main content

Info

Instruction for tourists in Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek (the capital of Kyrgyzstan) is the main point of arrival in Kyrgyzstan, a well-developed and modern city. Here you will find everything you need: café, restaurant, telephone, pharmacy and clinics, swimming pools and sports complexes. Some products are only available in Bishkek, so consider buying gas bottles or climbing rope before going to the mountains.

Kyrgyz law requires that everyone be in possession of their documents (passport, visa or copy thereof) when you visit a city. It is very rare to be checked in villages. In the event of illegal treatment by police officials, you must call your embassy or consulate. Never give your documents to the police representative, show them only. A police officer must be in uniform to control you. You can require an interpreter and a lawyer if you wish.

Respect for cultures and traditions:
As in all Asian countries, there are certain rules to follow, which are generally similar from one country to another.
In Kyrgyzstan, the most important and respected character is given to the Ak-Sakal (translates as Blanche beard), is the title given to the ancestors. Do not refuse the invitation of an Ak-Sakal to return to his yurt, it is an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about the life of nomads. The oldest people are seated in front of the front door of the yurt or a house. There will be tea, jam and butter on the table.

At the beginning or at the end of a meal, you put your hands in front of your face "Omin" (Islamic ritual of blessing of food). The Kyrgyz will be very proud to show his neighbors that you are his guest. You can give small gifts to children, but in general, it is the guest who must leave with a gift.

History of Kazakhstan

Kazakh Khanate Kazakhstan has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age: the region's climate and terrain are best suited for nomads practicing pastoralism. Archaeologists believe that humans first domesticated the horse in the region's vast steppes.

Central Asia was originally inhabited by Indo-Iranians. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians.

The Cumans entered the steppes of modern day Kazakhstan around the early 11th century, where they later joined with the Kipchaks and established the vast Cuman-Kipchak confederation. While ancient cities Taraz (Aulie-Ata) and Hazrat-e Turkestan had long served as important way-stations along the Silk Road connecting East and West, real political consolidation only began with the Mongol invasion of the early 13th century. Under the Mongol Empire, administrative districts were established, and these eventually came under the rule of the emergent Kazakh Khanate (Kazakhstan).

Throughout this period, traditionally nomadic life and a livestock-based economy continued to dominate the steppe. In the 15th century, a distinct Kazakh identity began to emerge among the Turkic tribes, a process which was consolidated by the mid-16th century with the appearance of the Kazakh language, culture, and economy.

Nevertheless, the region was the focus of ever-increasing disputes between the native Kazakh emirs and the neighbouring Persian-speaking peoples to the south. At its height the Khanate would rule parts of Central Asia and control the land previously known as Cumania. The Kazakhs nomads would raid people of Russian territory for slaves until the Russian conquest of Kazakhstan. From the sixteenth through the early nineteenth century, the most powerful nomadic peoples were the Kazakhs and the Oirats.

By the early 17th century, the Kazakh Khanate was struggling with the impact of tribal rivalries, which had effectively divided the population into the Great, Middle and Little (or Small) hordes (jüz). Political disunion, tribal rivalries, and the diminishing importance of overland trade routes between East and West weakened the Kazakh Khanate. Khiva Khanate used this opportunity and annexed Mangyshlak Peninsula. Uzbek rule there lasted two centuries until the Russian arrival.

During the 17th century, Kazakhs fought Oirats, a federation of western Mongol tribes, including Dzungars. The beginning of the 18th century marked the zenith of the Kazakh Khanate. During this period the Little Horde participated in the 1723–1730 war against the Dzungars, following their "Great Disaster" invasion of Kazakh territories. Under the leadership of Abul Khair Khan, the Kazakhs won major victories over the Dzungar at the Bulanty River in 1726, and at the Battle of Anrakay in 1729. Ablai Khan participated in the most significant battles against the Dzungars from the 1720s to the 1750s, for which he was declared a "batyr" ("hero") by the people. Kazakhs were also victims of constant raids carried out by the Volga Kalmyks. Kokand Khanate used weakness of Kazakh jüzs after Dzungar and Kalmyk raids and conquered present Southeastern Kazakhstan including Almaty, formal capital at first quarter of 19th century. Also, Emirate of Bukhara ruled Chimkent before Russian arrival.

Kazakhstan under Russian Empire Rule
In the 19th century, the Russian Empire began to expand into Central Asia. The "Great Game" period is generally regarded as running from approximately 1813 to the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. The tsars effectively ruled over most of the territory belonging to what is now the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Russian Empire introduced a system of administration and built military garrisons and barracks in its effort to establish a presence in Central Asia in the so-called "Great Game" between itself and the British Empire. The first Russian outpost, Orsk, was built in 1735. Russia enforced the Russian language in all schools and governmental organizations. Russian efforts to impose its system aroused the resentment by the Kazakh people, and by the 1860s, most Kazakhs resisted Russia's annexation largely because of the influence it wrought upon the traditional nomadic lifestyle and livestock-based economy, and the associated hunger that was rapidly wiping out some Kazakh tribes. The Kazakh national movement, which began in the late 19th century, sought to preserve the native language and identity by resisting the attempts of the Russian Empire to assimilate and stifle them.

From the 1890s onwards, ever-larger numbers of settlers from the Russian Empire began colonizing the territory of present-day Kazakhstan, in particular the province of Semirechye. The number of settlers rose still further once the Trans-Aral Railway from Orenburg to Tashkent was completed in 1906, and the movement was overseen and encouraged by a specially created Migration Department (Переселенческое Управление) in St. Petersburg. During the 19th century about 400,000 Russians immigrated to Kazakhstan, and about one million Slavs, Germans, Jews, and others immigrated to the region during the first third of the 20th century. Vasile Balabanov was the administrator responsible for the resettlement during much of this time.

The competition for land and water that ensued between the Kazakhs and the newcomers caused great resentment against colonial rule during the final years of Tsarist Russia, with the most serious uprising, the Central Asian Revolt, occurring in 1916. The Kazakhs attacked Russian and Cossack settlers and military garrisons. The revolt resulted in a series of clashes and in brutal massacres committed by both sides. Both sides resisted the communist government until late 1919.

Kazakhstan under Soviet rule
Although there was a brief period of autonomy (Alash Autonomy) during the tumultuous period following the collapse of the Russian Empire the Kazakhs eventually succumbed to Soviet rule. In 1920, the area of present-day Kazakhstan became an autonomous republic within the Soviet Union.

Soviet repression of the traditional elite, along with forced collectivization in the late 1920s–1930s, brought mass hunger and led to unrest (see also: Famine in Kazakhstan of 1932–33). The Kazakh population declined by 38% due to starvation and mass emigration. Estimates today suggest that the population of Kazakhstan would be closer to 28-35 million if there had been no starvation or migration of Kazakhs. During the 1930s, many renowned Kazakh writers, thinkers, poets, politicians and historians were killed on Stalin's orders, both as part of the repression and as a methodical pattern of suppressing Kazakh identity and culture. Soviet rule took hold, and a Communist apparatus steadily worked to fully integrate Kazakhstan into the Soviet system. In 1936 Kazakhstan became a Soviet republic. Kazakhstan experienced population inflows of millions exiled from other parts of the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s; many of the deportation victims were deported to Siberia or Kazakhstan merely due to their ethnic heritage or beliefs. For example, after the German invasion in June 1941, approximately 400,000 Volga Germans were transported from Ukraine to Kazakhstan.

Deportees were interned in some of the biggest Soviet labor camps, including ALZHIR camp outside Astana, which was reserved for the wives of men considered "enemies of the people". The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic contributed five national divisions to the Soviet Union's World War II effort. In 1947, two years after the end of the war, the Semipalatinsk Test Site, the USSR's main nuclear weapon test site, was founded near the city of Semey.

World War II led to an increase in industrialisation and mineral extraction in support of the war effort. At the time of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's death, however, Kazakhstan still had an overwhelmingly agriculturally based economy. In 1953, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev initiated the ambitious "Virgin Lands" program to turn the traditional pasture lands of Kazakhstan into a major grain-producing region for the Soviet Union. The Virgin Lands policy brought mixed results. However, along with later modernizations under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, it accelerated the development of the agricultural sector, which remains the source of livelihood for a large percentage of Kazakhstan's population. By 1959, Kazakhs made up 30% of the population. Ethnic Russians accounted for 43%.

Growing tensions within Soviet society led to a demand for political and economic reforms, which came to a head in the 1980s. A factor that contributed to this immensely was Lavrentii Beria's decision to test a nuclear bomb on the territory of Kazakh SSR in Semey in 1949. This had a catastrophic ecological and biological consequences that were felt generations later, and Kazakh anger toward the Soviet system escalated.

In December 1986, mass demonstrations by young ethnic Kazakhs, later called Jeltoqsan riot, took place in Almaty to protest the replacement of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR Dinmukhamed Konayev with Gennady Kolbin from the Russian SFSR. Governmental troops suppressed the unrest, several people were killed and many demonstrators were jailed. In the waning days of Soviet rule, discontent continued to grow and found expression under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost.

Independence
On 16 December 1991, Kazakhstan became the last Soviet republic to declare independence. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became the country's first President, a position he has retained for more than two decades.

Caught up in the groundswell of Soviet republics seeking greater autonomy, Kazakhstan declared its sovereignty as a republic within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in October 1990. Following the August 1991 aborted coup attempt in Moscow and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan declared independence on 16 December 1991.

The capital was moved in 1998 from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, to Astana. (Wikipedia)

History of Kyrgyzstan

The earliest ancestors of the Kirghiz people, who are believed to be of mixed Mongol and Kipchak descent, probably settled until the 10th century around what is now the Tuva region of the Russian Federation. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the Kyrgyz migrated south. They did not emerge as a distinct ethnic group until the 15th century. Various Turkic peoples ruled them until 1685, when they came under the control of the Kalmyks (Oirats, Dzungars). Islam is the predominant religion in the region, and most of the Kyrgyz are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school.

In the early 19th century, the southern territory of today's Kyrgyzstan came under the control of the Khanate of Kokand, and the territory was formally incorporated into the Russian Empire in 1876. The Russian takeover instigated numerous revolts against tsarist authority, and many of the Kyrgyz opted to move to the Pamirs and Afghanistan. In addition, the suppression of the 1916 rebellion in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz to migrate to China.

Soviet power was initially established in the region in 1919, and the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast was created within the Russian SFSR (the term Kara-Kirghiz was used until the mid-1920s by the Russians to distinguish them from the Kazakhs, who were also referred to as Kirghiz). On December 5, 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) was established as a full Union Republic of the USSR.

During the 1920s, Kyrgyzstan developed considerably in cultural, educational, and social life. Literacy was greatly improved, and a standard literary language was introduced. Economic and social development also was notable. Many aspects of the Kyrgyz national culture were retained despite the suppression of nationalist activity under Stalin, and, therefore, tensions with the all-Union authorities were constant.

The early years of glasnost had little effect on the political climate in Kyrgyzstan. However, the Republic's press was permitted to adopt a more liberal stance and to establish a new publication, Literaturny Kirghizstan, by the Union of Writers. Unofficial political groups were forbidden, but several groups that emerged in 1989 to deal with the acute housing crisis were permitted to function.

In June 1990, ethnic tensions between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz surfaced in the Osh Oblast, where Uzbeks form a majority of the population. Violent confrontations ensued, and a state of emergency and curfew were introduced. Order was not restored until August.

The early 1990s brought measurable change to Kyrgyzstan. By then, the Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement (KDM) had developed into a significant political force with support in Parliament. In an upset victory, Askar Akayev, the liberal President of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, was elected to the Presidency in October 1990. The following January, Akayev introduced new government structures and appointed a new government comprised mainly of younger, reform-oriented politicians.

In December 1990 the Supreme Soviet voted to change the republic's name to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. (In 1993, it became the Kyrgyz Republic.) In February 1991, the name of the capital, Frunze, was changed back to its prerevolutionary name of Bishkek. The Kyrgyz language replaced Russian as the official language in September 1991. (Kyrgyz is a member of the Southern Turkic group of languages and was written in the Arabic alphabet until the 20th century. Latin script was introduced and adopted in 1928, and was subsequently replaced by Cyrillic in 1941.) Despite these aesthetic moves toward independence, economic realities seemed to work against secession from the U.S.S.R. In a referendum on the preservation of the U.S.S.R. in March 1991, 88.7% of the voters approved the proposal to retain the U.S.S.R. as a "renewed federation."

On August 19, 1991, when the State Emergency Committee assumed power in Moscow, there was an attempt to depose Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. After the coup had collapsed the following week, Akayev and Vice President German Kuznetsov announced their resignations from the Communist Party Soviet Union (CPSU), and the entire bureau and secretariat resigned. This was followed by the Supreme Soviet vote declaring independence from the USSR on August 31, 1991.

In October 1991, Akayev ran unopposed and was elected president of the new independent Republic by direct ballot, receiving 95% of the votes cast. Together with the representatives of seven other Republics that same month, he signed the Treaty of the New Economic Community. Finally, on December 21, 1991, Kyrgyzstan joined with the other four Central Asian Republics to formally enter the new Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1992, Kyrgyzstan joined the UN and the CSCE.

Current concerns in Kyrgyzstan include: privatization of state-owned enterprises, expansion of democracy and political freedoms, inter-ethnic relations, and terrorism.

Flora and Fauna in Tajikistan

The fauna of Tajikistan is diverse. Animals that live here have adapted to the peculiarities of topography and climate.

It is home to the representatives of typical Nordic animal:

  • a bear,
  • a rabbit,
  • a badger,
  • a weasel,
  • a squirrel,
  • a Siberian ibex.

Many Central Asian and Indo-Tibetan kinds:

  • an Asian leopard,
  • a Himalayan snow cock,
  • a Tibetan Wolf.

Indian animal species found here porcupine, swallow, oriole, Afghan kinds - mouflon, starling-lane, cobra, lizard, mosquitoes, termites.

Natural conditions are favorable for the development of mammals: carnivores, ungulates (70 species) and reptiles (46 species). A lot of different insects (more than 10 thous. Species), more than 350 species of birds. A distinctive feature of Tajikistan - the relative poverty of fish fauna (40 species), which is explained by the relative youth of the rivers and lakes. Some animals, such as: wild boar, hare, fox, badger, rock partridge, duck India have commercial value.

Ichthyologists bred in floodplain lakes trout perch, and in mountain rivers - native species of trout.

The mountainous terrain and climate determine the richness of diversity and originality of the forms of flora of Tajikistan. There are "representatives" of the north and south, east and west.

 Among the plants, along with native species:

  • saxaul,
  • pistachio,
  • juniper,
  • wormwood
  • thistles  

Тhere are Mediterranean plants:

  • hawthorn,
  • walnut,
  • fig,
  • sycamore.

Tajikistan - one of the centers of the initial distribution of such cultural cereals like rye, wheat.

In the mountains and valleys there are more than 5000 types of plants.

Flora and Fauna in Kyrgyzstan

Diversity of flora in Kyrgyzstan is determined by the altitudinal zoning. Slopes, varying by humidity, create different kinds of vegetation. On northern slopes steppes, meadow-steppes, meadows, bushes and forests are wide spread. On southern slopes, because of dry climate there are no zones of forests and alpine meadows; semi-deserts and deserts prevail here.

Flora of Kyrgyzstan numbers more than 3676 plants of lower species and 3786 plants of higher species. 600 types of useful wild growing flora are found in the territory of the Republic.

The most known plants of Kyrgyz Republic are: 

  • Tulips of Greig 
  • Tulips of Kaufmann 
  • Tulips of Kolpakowsky 
  • Edelweiss 
  • Tien-Shan Fir 
  • Fir of Semyonov 
  • Archa

The most widely spread trees are spruce, juniper (archa), and nut- and fruit-tree forests. There are also spruce, maple, poplar-willow, and birch forests and Tien-Shan rowan-trees grow everywhere. There are walnut forests occupying an area of over 600,000 hectares,  in the South-East of Kyrgyzstan in the Fergana and Chatkal ranges at altitudes between 1000 and 2200 meters a. s. l.

In alpine meadows (at an altitude of 3000 meters a. s. l.) edelweiss, dandelion, Alpine Aster, Semenov onion and primroses grow. Edelweiss is not as rare as it is in Europe. At certain times of the year the mountain sides may be covered with poppies or tulips. About 5 km south of the Jety Orguz sanatoria, is Dolina Svetov (Valley of the flowers) a valley opens out which is ablaze with colour from May — when there are multitudes of poppies — throughout early summer.

In the forests, steppes, and meadows it is possible to find many different species of funguses.

The Fauna is various enough and non-uniform by origin. The basis of fauna of region is made with the kinds typical for the central-Asian and Mediterranean regions. Here it is possible to find more than 500 kinds spinal, including 83 kinds of mammals, 368 kinds of birds, 28 kinds of reptiles, 3 kinds of amphibians, 75 kinds of fishes, 3000 kinds of insects. In summer on the Alpine meadows there is a brown bear, are concentrated the most part of a livestock arkhar, it is a lot of marmots, hares and mountain goats. Wolves are found also. Above a snow line on rocky ledges (up to height of 4,4 km) nest some kinds of birds. At height about 4500 m there are mountain goats, from predators - a snow leopard. Rare kinds of animals such as arkhar, the bison, goat, a red deer, a bear, the deer, a lynx, a snow leopard, are brought in the Red book.

Join us on Facebook!

And keep updated with our tour promotions, or follow us on