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The Nature of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan’s land is striking. At each step, you will come across what we call unique and inimitable. It is not a rare case when even a long-time inhabitant of Kyrgyzstan finds it difficult to answer the question:
«Where is the highest temperature in Kyrgyzstan?» -«In the south, – many people will answer. – And where else? The north is snow, ice, snow storms; whereas the south entertains us with evergreens, caressing sun, and warm sea shores…»


One day trip will give you the opportunity to feel the charm of all seasons of the year: in the mountains-the charm of tender spring at the foothills, warm summer in the valleys, some coolness of autumn in the subalpine and alpine grasslands, and at last – winter bracing colf at the glaciers…


Due to many sunny and warm days in a year the land of Kyrgyzstan gets much warmth and that is why our repiblic cultivates the heat loving plants-cotton, grapes and unique kinds of apricot. The total quantity of solar radiation is so high that Kyrgyzstan has no «deserving rivals» in the Soviet Union. The greatest amount of precipitation – about 1,000 mm a year–falls on the slopes of the Ferghana range.
There are many glaciers in our republic, the total area of them is etual to the ice fields of the Caucasus, the Alps, the Altai taken together. At the Chatyr-Kul plato the stratum of permafrost reaches 80 m. Not likely the Far North!.. The Khan-Tengri range has one of the largest glaciers in the world-Invlchek which is about 60 km long.


The peaks of the Khan-Tengri range are proudly soaring all in ice at the height of 7.000 m above sea level. Neither birds nor archars ever appear here. Only brave mountaineers dare to climb the ice fortresses of Khan-Tengri.
There are plenty of caves in Kyrgyzstan’s mountains and that is an endless freedom for speleological research. They organized more than 40 expeditions, discovered and studied 75 caves.
There are about 300 big and small lakes in our republic. Among them is the Issyk-Kul Lake-the pearl of the region.


It is one of the largest mountainous lakes of the world.
Among several natural reservoirs situated 1,200 m above sea level it holds the second place in mirror square, ceding only the lake Titikaka in Perv and Bolivia.
But it is the deepest in the world and the largest in terms of volume.
The lake remains ice-free all the year round because during summer time the water in the lake gets warmed thoroughly. Issyk-Kul is famous for its sandy beaches, and picturesque scenery. The health resorts of Issyk-Kul are All-Union famed. Now 3,000 guests per shift have a rest in Cholpon-Ata rest homes alone and in future, the number of them will reach 13 thousand.


The Papanovskoe reservoir which is one of the biggest projects of the 10th five year plan will contain more than a quarter of a milliard cubic metres of water. A 112 metre dam will be errected with the help of an explosion. The operation of the reservoir and other buildings will be carried out through telemechanic system.


The kingdom of animals is very diverse. Our republic is the only place in the world where snow leopard can be found. About 20 kinds of animals are exported to different countries of the world.
In the vivarium of the Frunze zoological base scientists get venom, one gramm of which is more expensive than that of gold.


In Kyrgyzstan one can admire the dance of white herons, meet rare birds-Indian geeze and take part in hunting with a tamed golden eagle, high in the mountains you will see vaks – big long-haired animals with large horns.


The forests abound in capricorns, wild goats, griffons, pheasants, tortoises, all in all 68 kinds of animals, 340 kinds of birds, 25 kinds of reptiles. The rarest of them-12 kinds of mammals and 24 kinds of birds are registered in «The Red Book of the USSR» and taken under the protection of the state.
Among them there are mountain sheep ar-char, Tien-Shan brown bear, red wolf, Central Asian otter, Turkistan lynx steppecat – manul. Aurochses which have already assimilated in the Alpine climate are under protection too. Black storks, steppe eagles, snow griffons, bustards are under wardship. According to the republican government decree maral, fallow-deer, raccoon, varan, Turkistan sheat-fish and about 17 kinds of birds are under protection.


The vegetable kingdom of our mountainous land is diverse indeed. Apple and pear trees, peach trees, almonds, alcha, maples, sweet Chinese dates, black currants, archa and a great amount of trees and bushes covers the valleys and mountains of the re-public. And those who have already visited our republic had the chance to admire not only the achievements in economy, science and culture but also marvelous scenery of the Kyrgyzstan’s land. Jan Drech, President of the International Geographic Union, chairman of the National Committee of geographers of France speaking about his impressions of Kyrgyzstan’s nature said: «Everywhere in the surrounding mountains and towns and particularly in Frunze one can see forest plantations and creation of irrigation reservoirs. As regards the south zone one can say that it is quite remarkable and can be a model for other countries».


No matter how desirable it may be but it is hardly ever possible to get to know
Kyrgyzstan making one or two short travels. Therefore the authors and publishers of this illustrated handbook hope with its aid to meet the demands of curious readers.

(The Nature of Kirghizia, Photobook, V Maksimov, 1981)

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