Kyrgyzstan (/kɜrɡɪˈstɑːn/ kur-gi-STAHN; Kyrgyz: Кыргызстан Kyrgyzstan (IPA: [qɯrʁɯsˈstɑn]); Russian: Киргизия or Кыргызстан), officially the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyz:Кыргыз Республикасы Kyrgyz Respublikasy; Russian: Кыргызская Республика Kyrgyzskaya Respublika), formerly known as Kirghizia, is a country located in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Itscapital and largest city is Bishkek.
Kyrgyzstans history spans over 2,000 years, encompassing a variety of cultures and empires. Although geographically isolated by its highly mountainous terrain – which has helped preserve its ancient culture – Kyrgyzstan has historically been at the crossroads of several great civilizations, namely as part of the Silk Road and other commercial and cultural routes. Though long inhabited by a succession of independent tribes and clans, Kyrgyzstan has periodically come under foreign domination due to its strategic location, attaining sovereignty as a nation-state only after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Since independence, Kyrgyzstan has officially been a unitary parliamentary republic, although it continues to endure ethnic conflicts,revolts, economic troubles, transitional governments, and political party conflicts. Kyrgyzstan is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Turkic Council, the TÜRKSOYcommunity and the United Nations.
Ethnic Kyrgyz make up the majority of the countrys 5.7 million people, followed by significant minorities of Uzbeks and Russians. The official language, Kyrgyz, is closely related to the other Turkic languages, although Russian remains widely spoken, a legacy of a century-long policy of Russification. The majority of the population (64 percent) are nondenominational Muslims. In addition to its Turkic origins, Kyrgyz culture bears elements of Persian, Mongolian, and Russian influence.
Population: 2000/4,955,000 - 2050/6,882,000 (113 nation in 2050 population)
Transport in Kyrgyzstan is severely constrained by the countrys alpine topography. Roads have to snake up steep valleys, cross passes of 3,000 m (9,843 ft) altitude and more, and are subject to frequent mud slides and snow avalanches. Winter travel is close to impossible in many of the more remote and high-altitude regions.
Railways: The Kyrgyz Railway is currently responsible for railway development and maintenance in the country. The Chuy Valley in the north and the Fergana Valley in the south were endpoints of the Soviet Unions rail system in Central Asia. Following the emergence of independent post-Soviet states, the rail lines which were built without regard for administrative boundaries have been cut by borders, and traffic is therefore severely curtailed. The small bits of rail lines within Kyrgyzstan, about 370 km of 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in) broad gauge in total, have little economic value in the absence of the former bulk traffic over long distances to and from such centers as Tashkent, Almaty and the cities of Russia.
Highways: With support from the Asian Development Bank, a major road linking the north and southwest from Bishkek to Osh has recently been completed. This considerably eases communication between the two major population centers of the country—the Chuy Valley in the north and the Fergana Valley in the South. An offshoot of this road branches off across a 3,500 meter pass into the Talas Valley in the northwest. Plans are now being formulated to build a major road from Osh into the Peoples Republic of China.
Airports: At the end of the Soviet period there were about 50 airports and airstrips in Kyrgyzstan, many of them built primarily to serve military purposes in this border region so close to China. Only a few of them remain in service today.
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