26-09-07

Kyrgyzstan...

KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Central Asia, bordering Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The mountainous region of the Tian Shan covers over 80% of the country (Kyrgyzstan is occasionally referred to as "the Switzerland of Central Asia" with the remainder made up of valleys and basins. Lake Issyk-Kul in the north-western Tian Shan is the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan and the second largest mountain lake in the world after Titicaca. The highest peaks are in the Kakshaal-Too range, forming the Chinese border. Peak Jengish Chokusu, at 24,400 feet (7,439 m), is the highest point and is considered by geologists (though not mountaineers) to be the northernmost 23,000 foot (7,000 m) peak in the world. Heavy snowfall in winter leads to spring floods which often cause serious damage downstream. The runoff from the mountains is also used for hydro-electricity.The climate varies regionally. The south-western Fergana Valley is subtropical and extremely hot in summer, with temperatures reaching 40°C (104°F.) The northern foothills are temperate and the Tian Shan varies from dry continental to polar climate, depending on elevation. In the coldest areas temperatures are sub-zero for around 40 days in winter, and even some desert areas experience constant snowfall in this period.Kyrgyzstan has significant deposits of metals including gold and rare earth metals. Due to the country's predominantly mountainous terrain, less than 8% of the land is cultivated, and this is concentrated in the northern lowlands and the fringes of the Fergana Valley.Bishkek in the north is the capital and largest city, with approximately 900,000 inhabitants (as of 2005). The second city is the ancient town of Osh, located in the Fergana Valley near the border with Uzbekistan. The principal river is the Naryn, flowing west through the Fergana Valley into Uzbekistan, where it meets another of Kyrgyzstan's major rivers, the Kara Darya, forming the Syr Darya which eventually flows into the Aral Sea — although the massive extraction of water for irrigating Uzbekistan's cotton fields now causes the river to dry up long before reaching the Sea. The Chu River also briefly flows through Kyrgyzstan before entering Kazakhstan.sharyncanyon_web1charyn2

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