Kyrgyzstan Geography

Geography in Kyrgyzstan

The mountainous landlocked state of Kyrgyzstan has an area of approx. 200,000 km² and borders on China in the southeast, Kazakhstan in the north, Tajikistan in the southwest and Uzbekistan in the northwest. The Kyrgyz territory also includes the four Uzbek enclaves Soʻx, Shohimardon, Chong-Kara and Jangail, as well as the two Tajik enclaves Qairaghotsch and Woruch.

Kyrgyzstan is located in the high mountains of Tianshan and reaches the highest altitude with the 7439 m high Dschengisch Tschokusu. Over 90% of the territory is above 1500 meters above sea level, 94% of the land area is mountainous and agriculture is only possible on 20% of the area. The southern end of the country is formed by the Alai mountain range, where it merges into the Pamir Mountains.

About 30% of the surface is covered by glaciers or eternal snow fields. The largest of the more than 3000 rivers in Kyrgyzstan is the Naryn. Other rivers with a length of over 200 km are the Karadarja, the Tschüi, the Talas, the Saryjas and the Kysyl-Suu. Some of the Kyrgyz rivers feed the large Central Asian Syr Darya River, while other rivers flow to Xinjiang or Tajikistan.

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Flora and fauna in Kyrgyzstan

Up to an altitude of 1500 m, the land consists of steppe, which, however, has been made arable through extensive irrigation systems. From 1500 m, alpine meadows and pastures dominate, which reach up to the snow fields and glaciers. The forests are located at altitudes of 1500 to 4000 m above sea level. NN and are home to about 120 tree and shrub species. With only 4% forest area, Kyrgyzstan is one of the least forested countries in Asia, but the Jalalabat area is home to the largest walnut forest in the world.

Siberian deer, brown bear, marten, wild boar, wolf and lynx live in the forests. In the high areas there are the extremely rare Pallas cats, snow leopards, Siberian ibex and the giant Tianshan wild sheep. The snow leopard population has plummeted recently due to massive poaching. Three species of marmots are widespread in the high meadows. Since the collapse of Soviet mass grazing after independence, wolves have also increased again.

The higher areas of Kyrgyzstan are mainly home to birds of prey, such as the black kite, griffon vulture and various eagles and hawks. The bee-eater can be seen throughout the country in summer.

Flora in Kyrgyzstan

National parks and nature conservation in Kyrgyzstan

In Kyrgyzstan, a lot of attention is paid to nature conservation. There are 8 national parks and various other protected areas, such as two biosphere protection reserves. A protected area in which the high mountain fauna of the country is protected is the Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve, which is located south of the Issyk-Kul.

In cooperation with the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU), the Gruppa Bars was set up, a group that has been given extensive rights and police powers by the state and is responsible for protecting snow leopards from poachers.

Cities and regions in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is divided into seven regions and the two cities of Bishkek and Osh, which do not belong to any region. Bishkek is the capital and at the same time the political, economic and cultural center of Kyrgyzstan. The city emerged from a caravan station on the Silk Road and has been renamed several times over the years. Today it has about 900,000 residents.

The biggest cities in Kyrgyzstan are:

City Residents
Bishkek 900,000
Osh 200,000
Jalal-Abad 75,700
Karakol 70,171
Tokmok 63,047

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