Home to stunning mountain scenery, including toothy-edged, snow-covered peaks, and lush river valleys, some adventure travelers feel that Kyrgyzstan is one of the most beautiful spots on the planet.
The majority of the modern citizens in Kyrgyzstan are descendants of nomadic Turkic peoples that roamed Central Asia for centuries, and, to this day, most prefer to live in the rural areas.
Primarily a resting stop for traders, merchants, and other travelers from Asia to Europe, Kyrgyzstan was a semi-peaceful place of various tribes until the 17th century when Mongol Oirats invaded the region.
In the late 1800s, following the Mongols, this beautiful land was literally absorbed into Russia, and subsequently controlled by the USSR for almost 75 years.
Under Russian rule Kyrgyzstan was established as the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic, and its cultural, educational and social life evolved significantly. However, tensions with all-Union authorities persisted as Kyrgyzstan fought to hold onto their own culture amidst the suppression of nationalist activity.
Revolts began to flare in 1989 against the Soviet government as Russia began to push native Kyrgyz citizens out of major cities so that settlers from Russia and various other Soviet republics could move in.
When the former Soviet Union finally collapsed in 1991, Kyrgyzstan emerged as an independent state and began to embrace the western world with serious internal reforms and democratic principles.
For many decades the country's economy depended on Russian economic influence, and the loss of that assistance required some new thinking. Today the economy of Kyrgyzstan still revolves around agriculture; however, modern manufacturing methods and tourism are slowly on the increase.