Kyrgyzstan, formally the Kyrgyz Republic, was previously known as Kirghizia. Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked and mountainous country that is bounded on the north by Kazakhstan, on the west by Uzbekistan, on the south by Tajikistan, and on the east by China. Bishkek is the capital and biggest city.
Kyrgyzstan’s documented history stretches over 2,000 years and includes a diverse range of civilizations and empires. Although physically isolated by its rugged terrain – which has aided in the preservation of its old culture – Kyrgyzstan has historically served as a crossroads for many major civilizations, most notably as a stop on the Silk Road and other economic and cultural routes. Though it has long been inhabited by a series of autonomous tribes and clans, Kyrgyzstan has been repeatedly subjugated by foreign powers and gained sovereignty as a nation-state only after the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991.
Kyrgyzstan has remained an officially unified parliamentary republic since independence, despite the fact that it continues to face ethnic tensions, revolts, economic difficulties, transitional administrations, and political party disputes. Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian Economic Union, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Turkic Council, TÜRKSOYcommunity, and United Nations.
The bulk of the country’s 5.7 million inhabitants are ethnic Kyrgyz, followed by substantial minority of Uzbeks and Russians. The official language, Kyrgyz, is closely linked to the other Turkic languages, but Russian continues to be widely used, a remnant of a century-long multicultural policy. The majority (64 percent) of the people are non-denominational Muslims. Apart from its Turkic roots, Kyrgyz culture is influenced by Persian, Mongolian, and Russian influences.