Kyrgyzstan • a republic in the heart of Central Asia

Dive into the heart of Kyrgyzstan in less than 16 minutes! Journey through Bishkek, witnessing the mesmerizing changing of the guard, marvel at the intricate ancient petroglyphs. Experience an unparalleled eagle hunting expedition, wander amidst the authentic wooden buildings of Karakol, and find tranquility by the serene Issyk Kul Lake. Discover a land of history and tradition, where each stone narrates a piece of the Kyrgyz story. Kyrgyzstan is a mosaic of cultures and landscapes that this video invites you to explore. Embark on a voyage through time, art, and nature, uncovering Central Asia's hidden heritage.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

vimeo chapterA click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Kyrgyzstan. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.

Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

01:16 • Bishkek

01:24 • the statue of Manas

02:19 • the changing of the guard

04:55 • the Burana Tower

06:26 • the petroglyphs of Cholpon-Ata

07:39 • Jeti-Ögüz, resort and sanatorium

09:26 • Karakol, thre market

10:32 • Karakol, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

12:06 • Karakol, the Dungan mosque

13:19 • eagle hunting demonstration


If there is a country in the world with a complicated spelling, it is that of the Kirghiz. The inhabitants are the Kyrgyz (or is it Kirghyz?) and the suffix "stan" means country in this region of the world, Central Asia. So Kyrgyzstan (or Kyrgyzstan, or Kyrghiztan or Kyrgyzstan) is the country of the Kyrgyz, just as Afghanistan is that of the Afghans or Uzbekistan that of the Uzbek ... The official name is the "Kyrgyz Republic".

History of Kyrgyzstan

The country has been inhabited since very ancient times. According to some historians, the first settlers in the region were the Scythians, a former nomadic people of Eurasia who have dominated the steppes of Central Asia since at least the 8th century BC.

With the expansion of neighboring Mongolia in the 12th century, the Kyrgyz migrated south before peacefully entering the Mongol Empire in 1207.

Their territory was located on the Silk Road, and Lake Issyk-Kul was an important stopover on this long road.

The population still experienced various invaders over the centuries, including the Manchu (Chinese) Qing dynasty. The region was the subject of a treaty between Russia and China at the end of the 19th century, according to which Kyrgyzstan was ceded to the empire of the tsar in 1876. This annexation was not to everyone's taste. , and a large part of the inhabitants chose to emigrate to Afghanistan or to settle in the Pamir mountains.

With the coming to power of the Soviets in Russia, an autonomous region was created in the region before it was incorporated into the USSR as the Constituent Republic of the Soviet Union in 1936.

The fall of the USSR led to the independence of Kyrgyzstan in 1991. Independence was not synonymous with individual freedoms and the authoritarian and nepotistic drifts of the country's rulers alternated with periods of social and political unrest in the country. the country.


Kyrgyzstan remains strongly marked by the Russian and Soviet period. The architecture of the cities constantly recalls the influence of Russia. Whether it is that of the tsars with the wooden buildings of Karakol or that of the Soviets with the official monuments of Bischkek.

But Kyrgyzstan is not just about the architecture of its cities. It is also and above all a country of mountains with well-preserved nature. One of the highest altitude lakes in the world is Lake Issyk-Kul.



 - Rysbek Jumabaev (Kirghizsistan)  - Music of Central Asia vol 1 : Tengir-Too -Mountain Music form Kyrgyzstan - Ak Satkyn menem Kulmyrza (Ak Satkyn and Kulmyrza)

 - Rysbek Jumabaev (Kirghizsistan)  - Music of Central Asia vol 1 : Tengir-Too -Mountain Music form Kyrgyzstan - Episode from the Manas: Kökötöidün Ashy (Kökötöy's Memorial Feast)

 - Rysbek Jumabaev (Kirghizsistan)  - Music of Central Asia vol 1 : Tengir-Too -Mountain Music form Kyrgyzstan - Esimde (I Remember)

 - Rysbek Jumabaev (Kirghizsistan)  - Music of Central Asia vol 1 : Tengir-Too -Mountain Music form Kyrgyzstan - Fantasy on the Chhopo Choor (Ocarina)

 - Alihan Samedov (Ouzbekistan)  - Duduk - Track 1

Spoken comments in the film: 

- Manas is an epic hero of the Kyrgyz people.

His epic is the subject of a monumental literary work, counting more than 500,000 verses, and is the longest in the world.

It tells the story of the independence struggle of the Kyrgyz nomads against the Mongols and then against the Chinese.

The soundtrack is one of the episodes of the epic Manas (Kökötöidün Ashy) performed by Rysbek Jumabaev.


- Bishkek is the capital and most populous city of Kyrgyzstan with just over one million inhabitants. Its construction is quite recent since the fort of Pishpek was built in 1850. Bishkek, like many cities of the former republics of the USSR still shows many hints of the Soviet era.


- The Chuy Valley is a large valley with a favorable climate and sufficient water resources. This is what makes it a fertile land and explains why the valley is one of the most populated regions of Kyrgyzstan.


- The Burana tower near the city of Tokmok is the vestige of a minaret which was much more imposing but which was decimated by a succession of earthquakes over the centuries.

This tower is part of an archaeological ensemble that brings together the remains of the city of Balasagun which was destroyed around the 14th century.


- Lake Issyk Kul is a large high altitude lake. Its size places it in second position after the Titicaca. It is also the seventh deepest lake in the world. It is a salt water lake and in area it is the second after the Caspian Sea.


- Karakol is the fourth largest city in Kyrgyzstan, located at the tip of Lake Issyk-Kul. Like Bishkek, its expansion is recent and linked to Russian military activity. The city has about 65,000 inhabitants. Karakol is renowned for its wooden buildings including a mosque and a cathedral.

Kyrgyzsistan, eagle hunter, Bishkek • Kyrgyzstan

What's the weather like in Bishkek?

About the 5 places in this film


Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, is a city with a rich history. Formerly known as Pishpek, it was founded in 1825 as a Russian military fortress. Over time, the city evolved into an important urban center in the region. 

During the 20th century, Bishkek underwent significant transformations, reflecting the political and social changes of the time. Under the influence of the Soviet Union, the city was renamed Frunze in honor of the Bolshevik revolutionary Mikhail Frunze. It was also a major cultural and educational center, with institutions of higher learning and renowned theaters. 

After the independence of Kyrgyzstan in 1991, the city regained its original name, Bishkek. Today it is the political, economic and cultural center of the country, home to government institutions, museums, universities and a vibrant population. 

Bishkek retains remnants of its architectural heritage, blending modern buildings with historic structures. Visitors can discover monuments, parks and lively avenues, witnesses of the city's eventful history. 

Bishkek is a city where past and present collide, creating a unique atmosphere that embodies the history and cultural diversity of Kyrgyzstan.

The Chuy Valley, located in Kyrgyzstan, is a region that has played a vital role in the country's history. The valley takes its name from the Chuy River which crosses it and has been the place of many civilizations and cultures over the centuries. 


Dating back to antiquity, the Chuy Valley has been inhabited by nomadic peoples, notably the Saces, Greeks and Persians. It was also an important crossroads on the Silk Road, facilitating trade between East and West. 


During the medieval period, the valley was the cradle of Kyrgyz civilization and other Turkic groups. Flourishing towns like Balasagun flourished, becoming cultural, political and economic centers. 


During the Soviet era, the Chuy Valley became a place of industrial and agricultural development. Many factories and farms were established, contributing to the national economy. 


Today, the Chuy Valley preserves vestiges of its rich historical past, with archaeological sites, monuments and museums that tell the story of the region. It is a living testimony to the evolution and cultural diversity of Kyrgyzstan.

Karakol, located in Kyrgyzstan, is a city that carries with it a fascinating history. Founded in the 19th century by Russian settlers, it was initially established as a military fortress. Its strategic location on the Silk Road made it an important commercial center and a point of exchange between cultures and civilizations. 


Over time, Karakol has attracted diverse populations, including Dungans, Uyghurs and Tatars, who have enriched the local culture with their presence. The city has witnessed many changes, ranging from the Tsarist era to the Soviet era, which has left varied architectural traces. 


During Soviet times, Karakol was an administrative and industrial center, with the development of industrial complexes and government institutions. The city was also the starting point for scientific expeditions and discoveries in the surrounding mountains, including the Przewalski expedition. 


Today, Karakol retains its historical legacy through its period buildings, museums and characteristic ambience. It is a window into the region's turbulent history and a place where past and present meet, forming a unique and captivating identity.

Lake Issyk Kul, located in Kyrgyzstan, is a strikingly beautiful body of water that holds a rich history. This alpine lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, is surrounded by majestic mountains, offering a breathtaking landscape. 


The name "Issyk Kul" means "hot lake" in Kyrgyz, due to its waters which remain surprisingly warm even in the winter months. This peculiarity attracted the attention of the nomadic peoples of Central Asia, who used the shores of the lake as a place of rest during their travels. 


Over the centuries, Lake Issyk Kul has been the scene of the region's turbulent history. Saces, Greeks, Persians and Mongols have all left their mark on the surrounding lands. 


During the Soviet era, Lake Issyk Kul became a popular destination for vacationers, and sanatoriums were built on its shores. It has also been the site of scientific research and archaeological finds, revealing remnants of ancient civilizations. 


Today, Lake Issyk Kul continues to be a natural gem of immense cultural and historical significance. It embodies the deep history and serene beauty of Kyrgyzstan, a place where visitors can connect with nature and immerse themselves in this region's rich past.

Cholpon-Ata, located in Kyrgyzstan, is a charming seaside town nestled on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul, the second largest alpine lake in the world. Famous for its sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise waters, Cholpon-Ata is a popular destination for holidaymakers seeking relaxation and natural beauty. 


In addition to its seaside attractions, Cholpon-Ata is also home to a rich cultural heritage. The town is famous for its petroglyphs, ancient rock carvings that are found nearby. These prehistoric works of art depict animals, human figures and mysterious symbols, offering a fascinating insight into the life of the ancient civilizations that populated the area.

Statue of Manas in front of the Kyrgyz State Historical Museum, Bishkek • Kyrgyzstan

Statue of Manas in front of the Kyrgyz State Historical Museum

eagle hunting demonstration, Issyk Kul lake, Bishkek • Kyrgyzstan

eagle hunting demonstration, Issyk Kul lake

Petroglyphs in the Chuy Valley, Bishkek • Kyrgyzstan

Petroglyphs in the Chuy Valley

Church of the Holy Trinity, Karakol, Bishkek • Kyrgyzstan

Church of the Holy Trinity, Karakol

Bishkek, Chuy Valley, Issyk Kul lake, Karakol. Kyrgyzstan

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