199,900 sq km (77,182 sq
bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. The majestic
Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains) range occupies the greater part of the
area. Its highest peak is Pik Pobedy at 7439m (24,406ft).
Bishkek (called Frunze from 1926 to 1991).
Population: 589,400 (1997).
Republic. Gained independence from the Soviet
Union in 1991. Head of State and Government: President Askar
Akayev since 1990. Prime Minister: Nikolay Tanayev since May
language is Kyrgyz, a Turkic language closely related to Uzbek,
Kazakh, Turkmen and Turkish. Any attempt by a foreigner to speak
Kyrgyz will be greatly appreciated. In deference to the large Russian
population of Kyrgyzstan, Russian is also protected under law. In
1993, the Government undertook to replace the Russian Cyrillic
Alphabet with the Turkish version of the Roman alphabet. Meanwhile,
most people can speak Russian, and do so, especially in the north.
English is widely spoken by those involved in tourism. Uzbek, Kazakh,
Tajik and various other regional languages and dialects are also
The major religion is Islam with the majority
of Kyrgyz being Sunni Muslim with a Russian Orthodox minority.
Time : GMT + 5 (GMT + 6 from second Sunday in April to
Saturday before last Sunday in September).
220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin
continental plugs are standard.
Population : 4,908,000 (official estimate 2001).
Country code : 996 (312 for Bishkek).
International calls should be made from a telephone office which will
usually be found attached to a post office; they can also be made from
some hotels by asking at reception. All international
calls from Kyrgyzstan have to go through the operator. Local calls
(within the city) are free of charge if made from private telephones;
hotels sometimes levy a small charge. Direct-dial calls within the CIS
are obtained by dialling 8 and waiting for another dial tone and then
dialling the city code followed by the number.
Mobile telephone :
GSM 900 network in use.
The main provider is Bitel Ltd (website:
Services are available in main hotels for residents only.
Services are available from post offices in
ISPs include ElCat
www.elcat.kg), Asiainfo (website :
Ltd (website :
Intra Net (website:
are two Internet cafes on ul Sovetskaya in Bishkek, amongst others.
Letters to and from Western Europe and the USA can take anything
between 2 weeks and 2 months. Stamped envelopes can be bought from
post offices. Mail to recipients within Kyrgyzstan should be addressed
in the following order: country, postcode, city, street, house number
and lastly the personís name. Visitors can also use post offices
located within some major hotels. Post office hours: Mon-Fri
The Times of Central Asia, the Kyrgyzstan Chronicle and Zaman
Kyrgyzstan are published weekly in English. The main dailies are
published in Bishkek and include Bishkek Shamy and Kyrgyz Tuusu (both
in Kyrgyz), and Vechernii Bishkek and Slovo Kyrgyzstana (in Russian).
BBC World Service (website
and Voice of America (website :
can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most
up-to-date can be found online.