10 Interesting Facts About Kyrgyzstan

1. Ever seen a three pound coin or a three dollar bill? Kyrgyzstan is one of the few countries in the world to have used this denomination.

2. Kyrgyzstan is one of the world’s least-crowded countries. Spread across nearly 200,000 square kilometres, there are just over five and a half million residents, which averages just 33 people for each square kilometre of land. Unlike other sparsely populated places like Australia, where most residents are concentrated in the cities, only 36% of Kyrgyzstan’s population reside in urban locations.

3. Kyrgyzstan produced one of the longest poems in history. Epic of Manas is perhaps the most famous part of Kyrgyz culture. Consisting of a whopping 500,000 lines, this epic poem about the life of the warrior Manas, is 20 times longer than The Odyssey.

4. Manas, a warrior who united Kyrgyzstan, is undoubtedly the most popular folk hero in the country. You see this name everywhere. There are streets, statues, universities, radio stations, national parks, and many other things that are named after him. Even Kyrgyzstan’s main airport is Manas International Airport.

5. A strange fact is that bread is considered holy in Kyrgyzstan and it should never be wasted, thrown away or placed it upside down on the table.

6. Kyrgyzstan’s national drink is Kymys, which is fermented horse milk. Also, horse meat is a delicacy of local cuisine.

7. Kyrgyzstan created and hosted the first three World Nomad Games. Known as the ‘Olympics for nomads’ the games were designed to celebrate and preserve the culture of nomadic civilisation. Horses are very symbolic of the nomadic culture of Kyrgyzstan. So much so that during summer, horse games take place in Kyrgyzstan which, played mainly by men, depict ‘spectacular skills and manliness’.

8. One of the most fascinating facts about Kyrgyzstan is that the art of eagle hunting is still practised. The tradition of hunting with eagles is believed to go back hundreds of years in Kyrgyzstan, possibly to the 12th and 13th centuries.

9. Did you know that in Kyrgyzstan, tourists can negotiate with any car on the road? Yes, they are all potential taxis, if the price is right.

10. Incredibly, The Burana Tower in northern Kyrgyzstan, which was built as a lookout tower in the 10th century, still stands today. Initially, the tower had a height of 45 metres but unfortunately due to earthquakes it now stands at 25 metres.