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Short description of Kyrgyzstan

The origin of the name Kyrgyzstan is not entirely clear. It is thought that the name comes from »kirk kys« (40 girls), or from the Turkish »kyr gizmek« (meadow, nomadish), or from »kirk oguz« (40 tribes) or from »khir oguz« (high tribe).

The Kyrgyz language is generally accepted as Turkish-Altajic and therefor belongs to the north west branch of Turkic languages. The ancestors of the Kyrgyz used the Uyghur alphabet. It was not until 1924 that the Kyrgyz language was written down for the first time, in Arabic script. In 1929 they switched to the Latin alphabet and in 1937 Stalin demanded that in all Soviet states the Cyrillic alphabet was used. Therefore, it is to this day that the Kyrgyz language is written according to the Cyrillic alphabet.

In the small villages and towns Kyrgyz and Russian language arespoken, e.g. Russian at the university, Kyrgyz at home.

The Kyrgyz poeple are Sunnitic Muslims and practice a very tolerant form of Islam. Often schamanistic faith is mixed with the teachings of Islam. As political state Kyrgyzstan is secular: political parties, which hold the Islam as a basis, do not participate in the government.

The Silk Road

There was no official Silk Road, but there were several trade routes directed to the social status and stability of the cities they led to. As early as the 2nd century there was plenty of trade on the routes.

In addition to trade in silk also jewels, furs, animals and alike were traded. Along the Silk Road numerous Caravan Serai's errected.

The Manas

The Manas, the Kyrgyz anthem, was created between the 9th and 11th century. It describes the acts of Manas and his entourage, who fought for the unification and liberation of the Kyrgyz people. The Manasci have disseminated the athem by word of mouth, supported by mimicry and gestures.

The Yurt

They are confined by slats of a fence weaved together like scisors, supported by 40 curved rods which are held together by a circular inlay in the top of the roof (the so-called Tndk also reflected as a national symbol in the Kyrgyz flag). On the outside felt mats are placed on the frame and lines stretched to hold everything together. The tent is usually felt greyish, hence the name "bos ui", gray house. Inside the yurt is lined with colourful carpets. Opposite the entrance normally crates are placed, in which the possession of the family reside, and a tower of blankets. This tower is still found in almost all urban housing in Kyrgyzstan, a high tower is the proud possession of the family. Guests are requested to take place in front of the tower. At important events such as a funeral, yurts are also errected in the cities, the deceased will find their final resting place therein.

© Design by [ Maxim Neroda ] © Photos by [ Peter Klomp ]