Kyrgyz Republic is located in northeast of Middle Asia, occupying a part of Tyan-Shan and northern of the range Pamiro-Alay. The borders pass basically on natural boundaries - edges of high mountain and rivers, only by places they fall on plains of Chuy, Talas and Fergana valley. From three parties: from north, west and south, it borders on republics of former Soviet union: by Republic of Kazakhstan (extent of border of 1113 kms.), Republic of Uzbekistan (extent of border of 1374 kms.) and Republic of Tadjikistan (extent of border of 972 kms.), and from east and south-east - with the China (extent of border of 1049 kms.). General length of borders of Kyrgyzstan - 4503 kms., area - 199.9 thousand km.2
The territory of Kyrgyz Republic stretches from west to east on 900 kms., from north to the south on 410 kms. and lays approximately between 39° and 43° of northern breadth. Average height of territory is 2750 m. above a sea level, greatest height - 7439 m. (Peak of Pobeda), least - 394 m. (in a southwest of republic). A relief of Kyrgyzstan is mainly mountain. The republic is rich by ores of non-ferrous and less-comon metals, coal and other minerals.
The climatic conditions of Kyrgyzstan are determined by its geographical situation. The main part of his territory is located within a zone of temperate climate and only southern part belongs to the subtropical zone. Location in the very center of the greatest continent Eurasia, a distance from oceans and seas, and nearness of the deserts - such are the factors in consequence of which the climate is determined as continental and dry. The seasons are high-contrasted to each other. Because of the considerable difference in the relief and existence of large Lake Issyk-Kul, climate changes from continental till sea. A year has 247 sunny days on average.
The temperature is changing in lowlands: from -4C -6C in January till +16C + 24C in July. In highlands from -14 -27C in January till +8 +12C in July. It's common to have heavy snowfalls in winter. Average temperatures in valleys: of January are -1C till -8C; of July since +15C till +27C. The coldest month is January. Annual precipitation is about 180 mm in east and 1000 mm in southwest.
Air temperatures on coast of Issyk-Kul Lake are less contrasting and temperate during the whole year. Stable summer season starts in May. Spring and summer are the best time to visit a country. In spring a short term flowering period of steppes and mountain slopes let your trip to be more colorful. In fall (the harvest period) markets are stacked by fruits and vegetables. At the same time July and August are the best months to visit mountain regions.
Cold rains start in September and soon snow will cover passes. Skiing season is effective since November till April.
Flora and fauna
Almost all flora of Kyrgyzstan is endemic (it doesn't grow anywhere else). There Tyan-Shan fur-tree, walnut, fur, and juniper in the mountain woods. Highlands are rich with Alpine meadows. It is covered with woods about 350 thousand hectares, including the coniferous woods (53%) in Kyrgyzstan. There are the largest relic nut and fruit forests in the world here. Kyrgyz Republic has the forestries of a Tyan-Shan fur-tree, Semenov's fur, long-standing fur, pistachio-tree and almond-tree which are unique with their beauty and healing power. There are a lot of large bushes of sea-buckthorn, numerous berry bushes of barberry, wild black currant, honeysuckle, dog rose, variety of medicinal herbs (about 200 kinds) in republic.
There are more than 80 kinds of mammals, more than 330 kinds of birds, about 30 kinds of reptiles and amphibian in republic. The distribution of animals on areas of republic has pronounced high-altitude zoning. As a rule, the certain kinds of reptiles, birds, mammals are typical to each high-altitude zone and natural landscape, but there are also kinds which are widespread everywhere. The mountain goats, wild boar, roes, hares have rather high number among the trade animals. They can be met in all places of mountainous territory.
Aquatic fauna of Kyrgyzstan is rather representative and has more than 50 kinds of fishes, including 12 food fish (trout, white-fish, pike perch,sazan).
A lot of representatives of Kyrgyzstan's fauna are included in the Red book. Red wolf, snow leopard, marmot of Menzibir and grey giant lizard were included in the Red book of the International Union of Nature Protection. 28 kinds of animals and 15 kinds of plants meeting in territory of republic are included in the Red book USSR. 42 kinds of animals and 65 kinds of plants are included in to the republican Red book. In the mountains live bear, lynx, wolf, badger, weasel, marten, roe, Marco Polo sheep, ibex. From birds it is possible to see little buzzards, eagle, griffin, hawk, golden eagle and rare mountain turkeys - ular (Kyrgyz). You can meet tens of migrant birds - wild gooses, ducks, hoopers on the coast of Lake Issyk-Kul and plains.
Kyrgyz Republic is a mountain country, with 94.2 % of its territory is higher than 1000 m. above sea level, and 40.8 % is higher than 3000 m. Average height above a sea level is 2750 m., with a maximum height of 7439 m. and lowest height - 394 m. Vast differences of elevation, complex and difficult relief, long geological development and other factors have caused a variety of natural conditions and a rich natural resources. There are all climate, native and geographic zones typical to the northern hemisphere, except for tropical in the territory of the republic. The highest elevations in Kyrgyzstan are found on the eastern border. Here, in the mountainous boundary with China and Kazakhstan, are the highest points by in the Tien-Shan mountain system - Pobeda Peak (7439 m.) and Khan Tengry (6995 m.). From here the mountain range is to the west and southwest, creating the detached parallel circuits extending, approximately 300-400 kms. In the same direction there is also decrease of elevation from 7000 to 2000-1000 m. The highest and most powerful ranges, reaching 4500-7000 m. of absolute height, are located in border parts of Tien-Shan. Kokshaal-Too in the southeast, Alay and Turkestan in the southwest, Talas and Kyrgyz ranges in the northwest and north, Kungey Ala-Too in the northeast. The highest Chon-Alay range (Zaalayskiy) is located on extreme southern border of republic with Tadjikistan, where the second highest peak of Kyrgyzstan, Lenin Peak is located at an altitude of 7134 m.
There are 1923 lakes with a total surface area 6836 sq. km in Kyrgyzstan. The majority of the lakes are small. Only 16 lakes have a size of more than 1 sq. km. 84% of Kyrgyz lakes are located in a mountain zone, at elevations of 3000-4000 m. above a sea level. It is possible to divide all lakes based upon their origin and morphological features into 4 groups: tectonic (lakes formed as a result of earthquakes), glacial (lakes formed as a result of activity of glaciers), blockaged (lakes were formed by blockages of river valleys by mountain landslides and landslips.) and hydrogenous (lakes formed by underground waters). The most common in Kyrgyzstan are glacial lakes located in a mountain zone.
Lake of Mertsbakher
The lake is located on the junction of glaciers the Northern and Southern Inilchek along up their width. This icy lake of Mertsbakher is named in honour of the well-known German traveller, who discovered it in 1903. It has about 4 km long and 1 km wide with a depth of roughly 40 up to 80 meters.
Lake Chatyr-Kul is the highest among the large lakes of Tien-Shan, located at an altitude of 3530 meters above a sea level. Water in this lake is a beautiful pale-yellow and green colour. It is a closed lake and the main inflow is the river Kek-Aygyr with a length of 45 km. This river is replenished by thawing glaciers and snow.
Lake a Son-Kul is the largest natural freshwater reservoir of the Kyrgyzstan republic. Small rivers, flowing down from natural mountain streams fill this lake. The vegetation on coast of lake is consists of meadows and steppe views, which pass into the alpine meadows.
Lake Sary-Chelek is one of the most beautiful high-mountainous lakes. Tens streams flow down into it from gorges. Abrupt and more often almost steep coast leave in dark depth of lake, reaching 234 meters.
Issyk-Kul lake means "hot lake" and the name is justified, as despite frosts and freezing temperatures, this lake doesn't freeze in the winter. Issyk-Kul Lake transparency is exceeded only by Baikal. The lake is looked through the depth about 20 meters. Issyk-Kul lake is not simple lake in the usual sense. It is one of the most significant natural reservoirs on the planet. It has a length of 177 kms and a maximum width of 60 kms, with a depth of 702 meters and a total surface area of 6332 sq.km. More than 80 small rivers carry their water into the lake, but none flow out. As a consequence, the water in Issyk-Kul is salty. Due to a combination of mountain and sea climates at its shores there is no heat and humidity in the summer, and nights are always cool. In the summer water on shoal and in gulfs gets warm from 25 up to 28 degrees, and on abyss - up to 20 degrees.