Why Kyrgyzstan?

Country Specific Resources.

Kyrgyzstan is a country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions. This enigmatic country is located in the heart of Central Asia's Tien-shan mountain range. More than 90% covered with mountains, Kyrgyzstan has a population of over 5 million and is home to more than 80 nationalities.

In the late 19th century, Kyrgyzstan became part of the Russian empire. In 1934, Kyrgyzstan (then the Kyrgyz Soviet Republic) was fully integrated into the Soviet Union, thus continuing the process of ‘Russification.’ Even after twenty years of independence the residual effects of this influence are still present. Both Russian and Kyrgyz are spoken in this sovereign state, and Soviet beliefs and customs are still felt. With its mixture of cultural values, spoken languages, Soviet influence, and Islamic and Nomadic traditions, Kyrgyzstan is truly a dynamic and fascinating country.  As its citizens strive simultaneously to revitalize old nomadic traditions and to move towards democracy and a free market economy, Kyrgyzstan offers students a unique opportunity to study a world in flux.

The capital city, Bishkek, is located in the North of the country near the Kazakh border. With a population of over 1 million people, it is a cosmopolitan center containing numerous universities, art venues, cafes, shops, and parks. It is not surprising that people call Bishkek the greenest city in Central Asia; trees and flowers can be found on every corner. Bishkek is also known as Central Asia's most livable city, deriving its distinctiveness from its highly strategic location, where peoples from east and west have been exchanging goods and ideas for millennia. 

AUCA is situated in downtown Bishkek across the street from the House of Parliament, where the recently established democracy of the Kyrgyz Republic is gradually taking root. Bishkek is a metropolitan capital on the surface that offers a deeper glimpse into the all Central Asian cultures: Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Russian, Tajik, Turkmen and Uighur that thrive within it.

Kyrgyzstan through Program Participants' Eyes

Check out the blogs of students currently participating in the AUCA-Bard program.

Chane Corp:

John Lomicky:

Also visit the AUCA-Bard flickr to see some of our favorite student pictures.

Kyrgyzstan in the News

Catch up on current events in Kyrgyzstan with the following regional news sources.

Eurasia Net
Coverage of the Central Asian region that has both depth of reporting and breadth of subject matter, from the role of Kyrgystan in Central Asia's drug war to the growth of the Kyrgyz rap scene.

New York Times Country Page: Kyrgyzstan
Infrequently updated, the NY Times page for Kyrgyzstan is better used as a archival source of recent historical events. Also valuable are the external links embedded in the page uder the headings "Kyrgyzstan Navigator" and "Other Resources," leading to trend data for an array of subjects, from business climate and forecasts, to UN assessments of health and education, to the current local weather report.

The Times of Central Asia
A great source for up-to-date regional headlines, with many stories exploring the dynamics of relations between Central Asian states.

The website of a state-run media. Closely follows the daily actions of the Kyrgyz government, from high-profile meetings held by Kyrgyzs officials, to the announcements and speeches of Kyrgyz leaders.

AKIPress and
Private Kyrgyz news agencies with English-language pages, focusing on local events as well as international news. Categories of coverage include politics, society, economy and others.

Delo No
Although the English language version of the site is infrequently updated, its pieces have variety. For Russian language speakers, the Russian version is up-to-date with interesting takes on national news stories.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty's Central Asia news section is a great resource for news about Kyrgyzstan and surrounding countries. 

NewEurasia presents news and analysis from "citizen media" in Central Asia. Available in both English and Russian.

Blogs from Bishkek

See what travelers are saying about their experiences in Kyrgyzstan and their impressions of the country.

Keen on Kyrgyzstan
Written by Dennis Keen, a Fulbright Fellowship recipient studying the cultural practice of eagle hunting.

Ivory Pomegranate
Kirstin is a young American expat currently living and starting a business in Kyrgyzstan.

A Jaunt in the Kyrgyz Republic
The blog of a TEFL teacher in Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek Blog
Max Walker's blog from his eight months teaching English in Bishkek.

Kurt in K-Stan
Kurt did a Fulbright research project on multilingual education in Kyrgyzstan.

Official Resources on Traveling to Kyrgyzstan

Get the official government word on travel to Kyrgyzstan.

U.S. Department of State: Country Specific Information
Includes an overall descirption of the country and information about safety and security.

Embassy of the United States - Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
Website of the US embassy in Bishkek, with great information about the support available for US citizens in Bishkek.

CDC Health Information for Travelers to Kyrgyzstan
Gives information on current public health issues in Kyrgyzstan, as well as immunization recommendations for travelers.

CIA World Factbook - Kyrgyzstan
General summary of country data (geography, demographics, government, economy, etc).

Travel Guides

Tourist information for the Kyrgyz Republic.

Lonely Planet Page
"Places in Kyrgyzstan, Things to do, Tips and Articles, Forum"

World Travel Guide: Kyrgyzstan
"Introducing Kyrgyzstan, Before You Go, While You're There"

The New York Times Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide
Articles related to travel in Kyrgyzstan.

Central Asian Studies Listservs

Listserves are a great recource for announcements and updates on what is happening in the field of Central Asian studies.

Follow the link to find subscription instructions.

The Post-Soviet Post
"Stanford’s Post-Soviet Post provides an academically informed source of information to general Western audiences about the most recent developments in the social, economic, political, and cultural life of the countries in the post-Soviet region."