Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country with mountainous terrain. It is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and southwest, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.The Kyrgyz Republic stretches about 900 km from east to west and 410 km from north to south, and is situated between 39°N and 43°N degrees latitude. The total area is almost 200 thousand sq. kilometers.Roughly 80% of the population is non-denominational Muslim, with another 15% following Russian Orthodoxy, and the rest following other religions.It has some oil and gas and a developing gold mining sector, but relies on imports for most of its energy needs.
Kyrgyzstan is a rugged Central Asian country along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. The Tian Shan mountains, which surround the old caravan route and dominate the country, are home to snow leopards, lynx and sheep. In the south, the millennia-old city of Osh has a huge, busy bazaar that was once a stop on the Silk Road. Most of the country is mountainous, with the Tian Shan range taking up most of the central part of the country. This makes Kyrgyzstan a spectacularly beautiful place for hiking and relaxing in nature. Even though Kyrgyzstan is far from the ocean, the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul make for an ideal beach vacation. The landlocked climate means that summers can be quite hot, averaging around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the cities, making swimming and mountain escapes necessary, while winter brings snow and cooler temperatures (averaging around freezing), perfect for skiing and other winter sports.