Discovery Kyrgyzstan
Discovery Kyrgyzstan travel guide #10/2008

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Welcome to Discovery Kyrgyzstan!

Welcome to Discovery Kyrgyzstan!One journalist has claimed that Kyrgyzstan is “arguably the world's least-known country”. Whereas that may, or may not, have been true when it was written, (he did say “arguably”), time has passed and Kyrgyzstan occasionally makes an appearance in the world’s media. Even so, many people today still get confused about “the Stans” in general, and have only a scant idea about where Kyrgyzstan is, and what can be found here.

The journalist, however, certainly summed up how I felt about the country when I first arrived, (for a 10 day holiday), back in 1994. At that time it was very difficult to find out anything about this once remote corner of Central Asia – one of the small landlocked states to emerge from the former Soviet Union that lies in the heart of the Eurasian continent and once straddled the Great Silk Road. Obviously, in school I had learned about the Great Silk Road, and about historical characters such as Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, but I had, really, no idea of what to expect as I descended steps from the airplane. I would have welcomed a magazine such as Discovery Kyrgyzstan to open a window onto this country of contrasts: its variety of landscapes and wildlife, peoples and cultures, history and traditions.

That is one reason why I was glad to be asked to help with the Discovery magazines – and the name encapsulates the aim of the journals: to help the reader “discover” something new about this remote and relatively unknown region. There is so much to discover. Even though I now live in Bishkek, (the bustling, modern, capital city), I find that almost every day I discover something new.

Kyrgyzstan is a land of contrasts. Even though it is only a small country, within its borders there are a multitude of spectacular landscapes; an abundance of wildlife – much of it very rare and endangered; a multi-ethnic population representing over 80 different nationalities each preserving their only culture, traditions and cuisine – primarily, of course, the nomoadic Kyrgyz; numerous sites of historical interest and importance and a range of possible activities from mountaineering, trekking, rafting, skiing, or even just sitting on a beach, relaxing in the sunshinie. In short, there is something for everyone. We hope that in these pages you, too, will discover something of these various aspects and attractions that Kyrgyzstan has to offer. However, having said that, turning the pages of a magazine can only only offer the reader a limited view of the country – a taste of more to come. We hope to have whetted your appetite to discover yet more. Welcome to Kyrgyzstan!

Welcome to Discovery Kyrgyzstan!

Ian Claytor.

Discovery Kyrgyzstan #9

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