Kyrgyz is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, it is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. The ethnonym "Kyrgyz", after which the country is named, is thought to originally mean either "forty girls" or "forty tribes", presumably referring to the epic hero Manas who, as legend has it, unified forty tribes against the Khitans. The 40-ray sun on the flag of Kyrgyzstan symbolizes the forty tribes of Manas.
The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uyghur Khanate in 840 A.D. Then Kyrgyz quickly moved as far as the Tian Shan range and maintained their dominance over this territory for about 200 years. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century, the Kyrgyz migrated south. The Kyrgyz were conquered by Genghis Khan’s son Jöchi in 1207. Chinese and Muslim sources of the 7th–12th centuries AD describe the early Kyrgyz as red-haired with white skin and blue eyes, features that were interpreted as suggestive of Slavic origins.
Because of the processes of migration, conquest, intermarriage, and assimilation, many of the Kyrgyz peoples that now inhabit Central and Southwest Asia are of mixed origins, often stemming from fragments of many different tribes, though they speak closely related languages. Soviet power was initially established in the region in 1919, and the Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Oblast was created within the Russian SFSR (the term Kara-Kirghiz was used until the mid-1920s by the Russians to distinguish them from the Kazakhs, who were also referred to as Kirghiz). On December 5, 1936, the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic was established as a full republic of the Soviet Union.
During the 1920s, Kyrgyzstan developed considerably in cultural, educational and social life. Literacy was greatly improved, and a standard literary language was introduced by imposing Russian on the populace. Economic and social development also was notable. Many aspects of the Kyrgyz national culture were retained despite the suppression of nationalist activity under Stalin.
The early 1990s brought considerable change to Kyrgyzstan. By then, the Kyrgyzstan Democratic Movement (KDM) had developed into a significant political force with support in Parliament. In an upset victory, Askar Akayev, the liberal President of the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, was elected to the Presidency in October 1990. The following January, Akayev introduced new government structures and appointed a new government composed mainly of younger, reform-oriented politicians. In December 1990, the Supreme Soviet voted to change the republic's name to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. (In 1993, it became the Kyrgyz Republic). Despite these aesthetic moves toward independence, economic realities seemed to work against secession from the Soviet Union. In a referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union in March 1991, 88.7% of the voters approved the proposal to retain the Soviet Union as a "renewed federation."
On August 19, 1991, when the State Emergency Committee assumed power in Moscow, there was an attempt to depose Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. After the coup collapsed the following week, the entire bureau and secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union resigned. This was followed by the Supreme Soviet vote declaring independence from the Soviet Union on August 31, 1991.
Explore the Kyrgyzstan countryside at its best, by trekking or horse riding into the mountains and pastures. Lake Issyk Kul is the second largest mountain lake in the world behind Lake Titicaca in South America, and one of Kyrgyzstan mian attractions. It is also the site of an ancient metropolis 2500 years ago, and archaeological excavations are ongoing. The Altyn Arashan (Golden Spa) valley males great rekking and leads up to a "hot spring" complex with steaming hot pool. The secret Ala Kol lake is at an altitude of 3532m. The lake's colour changes according to the time of day, the season and the weather – the waters can seem violet, dark blue or even pink.