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Saturday 21st October
Kyrgyzstan Facts
The Pamir-Alai and Tien Shan mountain ranges dominate Kyrgyzstan.

Tien Shan means heavenly mountains.

Peak Pobedy (7,439 m) is the highest point in the country.

Kyrgyzstan's Inylchek Glacier is one of the world's largest glaciers.

Issyk Kul Lake is one of the world's largest mountain lakes and is known as the Pearl of Tien Shan.

The name for Lake Issyk Kul means "warm sea" as the lake never freezes even though it is in the mountains.

The Fergana Valley is divided between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Kyrgyzstan is famous for its walnut-fruit forests that are the largest natural walnut forests in the world.

The Kyrgyz are traditionally a nomadic people who are thought to have originally lived in southern Siberia.

"Kyrgyz" is derived from the word for forty, so it is possible that the Kyrgyz people were originally forty families or forty clans.

The Kyrgyz were among those who raided the borders of China causing the need for the Great Wall.

Manas, an epic poem, is one of the world's longest epics. It tells the story of the migration of the Kyrgyz people under the leadership of Manas.

The yurta, a collapsible tent with a wooden frame, is the traditional nomad home.

The city of Osh, in the Fergana Valley, is said to be three thousand years old.

From ancient times the Fergana Valley was known for its legendary horses.

In the tenth century Osh was an important commercial centre on the Silk Road, the trade route between Europe and China.

Akhmed Al Fergani, the famous astronomer from medieval times, was born in the Fergana Valley.

Present-day Kyrgyzstan was part of the Soviet Union. Members of the former USSR were Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Estonia (from WW2), Latvia (from WW2), Lithuania (from WW2) and Moldova (from WW2).

At the end of 1991 the USSR was dissolved and Kyrgyzstan became an independent republic.

The American University in Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek) aims to combine the best of the American and the Soviet systems of higher education. Students from a number of countries attend the university.

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