Kyrgyzstan <<kihr GEEZ stan>> is a country in central Asia. It lies in the high Tian Shan and Alay mountains. Peak Pobedy, the highest mountain, rises 24,406 feet (7,439 meters), close to the border with China. Bishkek is the capital city and main industrial center.
Most of the country’s people live in the lower plains and mountain valleys. Summers are warm and dry there, and winters are less cold than in the mountains. In the north is a large lake called Issyk-Kul.
About two-thirds of the people of Kyrgyzstan are Kyrgyz. The others are Russians, Uzbeks, Dungan (ethnic Chinese Muslims), and Ukrainians. The Kyrgyz and Uzbeks are Muslims. Most of the other people are Christians.
The Kyrgyz are farmers and herders. Some live in villages, and others are nomads who wander from place to place for at least part of the year. The nomads carry their tentlike homes, called yurts, with them.They herd sheep, cattle, and goats.
Beginning in the 1200′s, Kyrgyzstan was ruled for hundreds of years by central Asian peoples called the Mongols. During the 1800′s, the region became part of the Russian Empire. Kyrgyzstan was part of the Soviet Union from 1924 until 1991.In 1991, Kyrgyzstan became an independent country.
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