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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Kyrgyzstan

Geography

Kyrgyz Geography - Tian Shan Mountains
Tian Shan Mountains

Kyrgyzstan is a small, oddly shaped landlocked country in Central Asia. It borders Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south, China to the east, and Kazakhstan to the north.

Kyrgyzstan is a very mountainous country, peaking in the east with the Tian Shan Mountains. In addition to these mountains, various other ranges move across the country, meaning most life is in the mountain valleys. In the country's northeast is Lake Isyk-Kol, which sustains life and in the southwest is the Fergana Valley, the most accessible and livable part of the country, where much of the population lives.

Weather

Kyrgyz Geography - Tian Shan Mountains
Tian Shan Mountains

Kyrgyzstan is a small country, but the massive mountains and low lying valleys create significant variations, particularly given the extreme continental weather patterns. Winters are cold and snowy with averages between about 25° F (-4° C) in the city of Osh to -20° F (-30° C) in many mountain valleys. Summers warm up and many low-lying areas average about 80° F (27° C) during the summer months of June to August. The mountains are obviously cooler, but unless you reach extremely high altitudes, this variation isn't too extreme. Springs and falls (autumns) tend to range between these extremes with rainfall and snow occurring sporadically throughout the year, but primarily during these seasons.

Wildlife

Kyrgyz Geography - Wild Horses
Wild horses

Kyrgyzstan has a number of animals although many have to be adaptable to high altitudes. There are a large number mammals, including the alpine marmot, rams, mountain goats, and others who like the mountains, including bears and hares. There are also wolves, deer, and numerous smaller mammals, like rodents at lower elevations. The sea life is limited in the land-locked country, but in the lakes and rivers there are numerous fish including carp, trout, bream, and the more unusual chebachok and sazan.

The bird life is more diverse, with many of the species only migrating through the country. Among both the visitors and locals, some of the more common birds include goose, pigeon, partridge, pheasant, heron, eagle, and owls. The number of amphibians and reptiles are more limited with most of those present being lizards, snakes, and turtles.

This page was last updated: March, 2013