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Kyrgyzstan Information - Page 2
Kyrgyzstan has been inhabited since the Stone Age. From early times various tribes, including the Scythian-Saka, inhabited the region. The nomadic Kyrgyz, thought to come from southern Siberia, gradually arrived in "Kyrgyzstan", possibly from the tenth century onwards.

Over the centuries, "Kyrgyzstan" has been invaded by a number of empires. These have included Arab, Mongol, Kalmuk, Manchu, Uzbek and Russian.

In the second half of the nineteenth century present-day Kyrgyzstan was annexed by the Russian Empire and eventually became part of Russian Turkestan.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed in 1922 and between 1924 and 1925 the USSR reorganised its Central Asian territory. "Kyrgyzstan" became the autonomous region of Kara-Kyrgyz, and later "Kyrgyz". In 1926 it was transformed into the Kyrgyz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and in 1936 was upgraded to the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic of the USSR. (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).

Following the Second World War (1939-1945), a "Cold War" existed between the USSR and the West. This situation continued until Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985 introducing extensive political and economic reforms (Perestroika) and calling for a greater openness (Glasnost) between nations.

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

Since becoming independent the Kyrgyz Republic has carried out a number of economic reforms. These have included new financial legislation and the development of the private sector.

In 2008 agriculture accounted for just under a third of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and industry earned around a fifth (GDP).

Agricultural produce includes potatoes, vegetables, grapes, fruits, berries and tobacco. Kyrgyzstan is particularly famous for walnuts. Cotton is grown and silk is produced. Goats, sheep and horses are reared.

Mining is a significant industry. Kyrgyzstan has deposits of coal, gold and metals. Other industries include small machinery, cement, electric motors, refrigerators, sawn logs, furniture, shoes, textiles and food processing.

Tourism is a priority for development with emphasis on eco-tourism, historical tours and sports. (2008)

Petroglyphs of Saymaly-Tash are the earliest human inscriptions to be found in Kyrgyzstan. A UNESCO expedition reported the existence of almost ten thousand petroglyphs, painted and carved stones on Mount Sulaiman in the Fergana Mountain Range. The petroglyphs date from the Iron Age up until the Middle Ages and show hunting scenes, ritual dances and animals.

A record of Kyrgyz history and culture has been preserved through the oral tradition of the epic poem. Music and the oral literary tradition are combined by "akyns" who still perform songs of traditional epic poems and take part in competitions.

"Manas" is the most famous epic and consists of around five hundred thousand lines of poetry. Written down in the 1920s the story tells of the migration of the Kyrgyz people under the leadership of Manas.

Cultural institutions in Kyrgyz include the Philharmonic Hall and the Opera and Ballet Theatre in Bishkek.

Horse racing and games played on horseback are traditional sports. Falconry has also been a sport in Kyrgyzstan for centuries.

Other popular sports in Kyrgyzstan include athletics, martial arts and football.

The mountainous terrain provides opportunities for a variety of sports such as climbing and skiing.

Muslim and Russian Orthodox holy days are observed. Other days celebrated in Kyrgyzstan include New Year's Day (l January), Women's Day (8 March), Nooruz (21 March), Labour Day (1 May), Constitution Day (5 May), World War II Victory Day (9 May) and Independence Day - from the Soviet Union (31 August).

News from Kyrgyzstan can be found in Newslink.

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