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10 facts about Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan attracts by its unique nature and climate, authentic cuisine and hospitable people, in addition, it is a country with ancient unique traditions and rich history. Today we will tell you about the most amazing facts and peculiarities of this land-locked country.

Let us start with the fact that in the first place will be interesting for all Ukrainians, it turns out, heavyweight professional boxer Vitali Klitschko, the current Mayor of the Ukrainian capital, was born in the Kyrgyz village of Belovodskoe.

Few people know that the birthplace of walnuts is not Greece but Kyrgyzstan. One day, returning from a campaign with his army, Alexander the Great decided to make a halt in these lands. Having had a rest, when getting ready for further way, the commander ordered to restock with local fruits, including walnuts. Soon, the troops arrived in Greece, where the nut was presented to the world, and it has since been known as the Greek nut in many parts of the world. Remarkable is the fact that Kyrgyzstan’s walnut forests are among the world’s largest natural forests of this type. They are located in the Arslanbob Valley, and regarded as world nature heritage.

In Kyrgyzstan, there is an active mosque built by China natives, without using a single nail or other metal fasteners. It adorns the town of Karakol, and bears the name of Dungan Mosque. The sacred temple represents the building in the style of multi-storey Chinese pagoda with features typical for mosque, the construction is bonded via cuttings and holes in the logs. Even more unusual is its design owing to the dragon carved on the perimeter, which is characteristic of Qin era. The mythology ornament, traditionally used in the architecture of the Heavenly Empire, complements intricate design.

The national currency of Kyrgyzstan origins from a wider range of geographical locations. Thus, the Kyrgyz Som is printed in France and Malta, banknotes are made from cotton paper, which is produced in the UK and France. To protect the authenticity, various security features are incorporated in the finished product, such as embossed figures, holograms, special iridescent ink. Kyrgyzstan’s steel and brass coins are minted in the neighbouring Kazakhstan. The banknotes are printed in a range of different colours to make them easy to identify.

Among Kyrgyzstan attractions, the trophy belongs to high mountain Issyk-Kul Lake, which is the world's second-largest salt lake. Its size is so immense that, at times, the pond looks like a sea with its sandy beaches and a distant horizon. One day, astronauts, fresh from the flight, set their feet on solid ground and shared a surprising discovery. To their amazement, the brightest object visible from space, was not the stretched Wall of China or the huge Great Pyramids, but vivid blue waters of a giant Issyk Kul Lake, resembling the human eye from a height. There is a legend associated with this cult place. Rumour has it, that behind ghostly veil of water, relics of St. Matthew are kept deep at the bottom of an ancient pond, the author of Scripture and respected Christian saint.

Many countries have their own tower, the symbol distinguishing them from other states. Kyrgyzstan is no exception with its high rising Big Ben, as they call the block tower with an impressive mechanism. It was erected in the capital city of Bishkek and is considered one of the most popular spots in town where the city residents make appointments and dates. It was in Soviet times, when the Armenian Republic presented chimes to Kyrgyz Soviet Republic as a sign of true friendship. A great watch was created by the diamond manufacturing enterprise Kristal and delivered to Bishkek by cargo plane.

Numerous music compositions, poems and stories have been dedicated to panorama of royal Kyrgyz snow-dappled mountains. Peak Pobedy, nestled on the clash between the border of Kyrgyzstan and China, is the highest point of the Tien Shan mountain range, and one of the highest mountains in the world. The path to the top, reaching almost eight thousand meters, has earned a reputation as an incredibly difficult, but a tempting route for climbers. To get to the Peak Pobedy, you need to be physically resilient and spiritually strong. This destination is not the only record-breaker, it can be compared with its compatriots: Khan-Tengri Peak with the height of 7010 meter, and the Lenin Peak which is 7134 meters high.

Kyrgyzstan is a nation defined by its natural beauty: joyously unspoilt mountain meadow sare home to rare species of plants. An admirable red bud with the melodious name aigul (“moonflower” in Kyrgyz) is not found anywhere in the world, except in the hills of the Aigul-Tash Mountain. There is a legend, according to which the moonflower is the result of an unhappy love of beautiful maiden Aigul, who lost to death her loved one, fearless warrior Kozu Ulan. Aigul could not bear the grief of losing her beloved, climbed the highest nearby mountain and jumped off into the abyss. Thus, aigul flowers began to grow from where her drops of blood lay. The big drops of dew inside the bell of the flower are said to be Aigul’s tears. Since then, the moonflower is referred by to the name of the young Aigul, and the locals often come to admire the lush blossom of the rare blooms that for more than a quarter of a century have been listed in the Red Book.

Tamga-Tash are the world-famous stone lumps of Tamga gorge, enticing Buddhist pilgrims and numberless tourists to Kyrgyzstan. Owing to the ancient Buddhist prayers and Tibetan inscriptions carved on the stone surface, natural heritage was recognized as sacred. There is no precise data where these rocks bearing secret signs come from, though scientists struggling with the mystery confirm their connection with the Tibetans, who inhabited the banks of the never-freezing Issyk-Kul Lake a few centuries ago.

Kyrgyzstan could become an ideal scenery for the Snow Queen Tale and the cold kingdom. Static snow covers about eight thousand square kilometres of the total country area, while in the local mountains, there are about eight thousand glaciers, that is more than in the Caucasian mountains and the Alps combined. On the slopes of the Talas and Kyrgyz ranges snow line reaches incredible height of more than three thousand meters. Ice chunks, replenishing diligent rivers and oases, is a valuable source of fresh water for Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Another remarkable fact: in Kyrgyzstan, there is a unique Merzbaсher Lake. There are lakes alike in Iceland, Switzerland and Greenland. It is nested between the northern and southern branches of the Inylchek Glacier. Its mystery lies in the fact that the lake is formed every summer, and in August flows into the Inylchek River. German scientist Gottried Merzbacher discovered mysterious disappearing lake in 1903 during his expedition to Khan-Tengri.

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