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Geography of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is one of the most mountainous countries in the world – about 92% of its territory lies at altitudes above 1000 m above sea level, and the average height is 2750 m. The country is like a “fork” of the two largest mountain systems, reaching its maximum height (Pobeda Peak, 7439 m) in the vast Tien-Shan mountain site in the eastern part of the country, bordering China and Kazakhstan.

Through the entire northern part of the country, in the latitudinal direction, stretches nearly 600 km chain of mountain ranges of Ala-Toos or Alataus that in Kyrgyz mean “colorful mountains” – Terskey-Ala-Too (4808 m), Kyungey-Ala-Too (4770 m), the Kirghiz ridge (Kyrgyz Alatau , 4855 m), Talas Alatau (4,251 m), Suusamyr-Too (3828 m), Karakolsky ridge (4273 m) and others. They form the northern mountainous frontier of the country, dividing the territory of Kyrgyzstan from the arid deserts and Moyynkum Saryesik-Atyrau. The southern part of the country form a powerful ridges Chon-Alai (Trance-Alay) mountain system, which is the second highest peak in Kyrgyzstan – Lenin Peak (7134 m), and the border with China back Kakshaal-Too.

The central part of Kyrgyzstan formed ridges and spurs of the grand mountains of Tien Shan (“Celestial Mountains”) – Jeti (4896 m), Moldo-Too (4099 m), At-Bashy (4786 m), Borkoldoy, Chatkal (4503 m) and Alai (5259 m) mountain ranges, stretching from west to east over 2400 km (continuing on the territory of China , Tajikistan and Uzbekistan ). Moreover, from the main axis of the Tien Shan to the north and south moves a lot of high ridges (Suusamyr-Too – 3828 m, Ferghana – 4692 m, etc.) and arrays (Ak-Shiyrak, etc.), forming a powerful mountain sites. Between the ridges are large tectonic depressions Susamyr, Srednenarynskoy, Turfan, Hamiyskoy, Ili, Chu, Toktogul and Talas basins, and Lake Issyk-Kul, Chater-Kul, Son-Kul, etc.

In the eastern part of Central Tien-Shan Mountains, within the vast mountain site, clearly expressed in two converging bands of mountain ridges, separated by a sequence of valleys and basins, elongated in the latitudinal direction. In the composition range Kakshaal-Too rises the highest point in the whole range – Peak Pobeda (7439 m). And nearby, in the ridge Tengri-Tag, is another seventhousander – Mount Khan-Tengri (Lord of Heaven “, 7010 m), considered a symbol and a business card of the Tien Shan. The lowest point of the country lies on the banks of the river Kara (Kara-Darya 132 m), thus differences in elevation in the territory of Kyrgyzstan reaches 7300 m.

Mountain areas are covered with a powerful glaciation – there are about 8000 glaciers with a total area of more than 8100 km (4% of the territory), ranging from the dizzying heights up to 2900 m above sea level. The largest glacier of our country is Inylchek (Enilchek, North and South), which together with the adjacent ice fields reach an area of 800 square km. For the highlands is characterized by glacial landforms (cirques, ditches, troughs, etc.), the slopes of ravines are covered with numerous dunes, and the bed of the valleys – thick moraine deposits of the glaciers. Wide-spread high-altitude permafrost, which covers the slopes and the bed almost 60% of the high mountain valleys. Also, frequent small alpine lakes and even swampy areas. From the mountains runs more than 12000 rivers and streams that feed as many lakes and rivers of Naryn, Talas , Ili, Chu, and Aksu.

A characteristic feature of the local landscape is the alternation of high mountains and deep intermontane basins, forming a labyrinth. The vegetation in the piedmont plains are mostly desert and semi-desert, in the mountains – mountain steppes and forests, alpine meadows and meadow-steppe. Moreover, in the territory of Kyrgyzstan practically all natural zones of northern hemisphere of the planet – can be found here and thick mountain forests and arid steppes, deserts, including alpine and tundra, floodplain meadows and mountain valley swamps, all of which are often removed from each other at a distance of no more than a couple-three hundred meters. Flora of the country’s population of about 4200 species of higher plants, and fauna – some 500 species of vertebrates, of which 86 – mammals, more than 50 species of fish and about 360 birds. For agriculture, suitable only 7 % of the republic.

Kyrgyzstan Terrain

Kyrgyzstan is the mountainous country. Most of Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous system of the Tien Shan, and only the extreme south-west is in the Pamir-Alayu. High point – Victory Peak, or Dzhengish-Chokusu (7439 m), located in the Tien Shan in the east, on the border with China.

Many of the ranges of the Tien Shan – Talas Alatau, Kyrgyz Ala-Too, Kyungey Ala-Too, Terskey-Ala-Too and others – are predominantly sub latitudinal. Big Fergana mountain range is oriented from northwest to southeast, and the ridge Kakshal-Too – with the south-west to north-east (along the border with China), with a single pass in the Tien Shan Torugart (3752 m). Between the ridges Kyung-Ala-Too and Terskey-Ala-Too is intermontane basin, the bottom of employing a large lake Issyk-Kul, the so-called “Kyrgyz Sea”. To the north of the Kyrgyz Range located submontane Chu depression, mastered and most densely populated part of the republic. Extensive Fergana valley enters the limits of Kyrgyzstan , only the peripheral parts. In the Kyrgyz part of the Pamir-Alai dominated sublatitudinal relief elements – Alai Range, the Alai Valley, Turkestan and Trans-Alay (highest point – Lenin Peak, 7134 m) ranges. In the eastern part of the Trans-Alay Range Pamir highway intersects with the Kyzyl-Art Pass. In the upper tier of the mountain glaciers developed. The snow line is located at altitudes of ca. 3 km to the peripheral ridges and 4,0 – 4,5 km is on the internal ridges. The largest of them are dendritovye (Inylchek length of 59,5 km and North Inylchek – 38,2 km), with a few ice-flows. In addition, widespread valley, cirques and hanging glaciers, as well as characteristic of the Tien Shan glaciers are flat tops. Tien Shan is rich in water resources and is a major supplier of water for the surrounding arid plains.

Climate and Water of Kyrgyzstan


Kyrgyzstan has a continental climate. The western and northern slopes of the mountains receive more precipitation. Precipitation increases with altitude up to 5000 m. At higher altitudes precipitation falls as snow, and even in summer frosts are possible. Average annual precipitation on the northern slopes of ca. 750 mm in the south-western slopes of the Fergana Range – 950 mm, and the north-east – 230 mm.

Average January temperatures range from -2 ° to -8 °C in the valleys and from -8 ° to -20 ° C in medium-altitude mountains. In high average January temperature – approx. -28 ° C. In many parts of Kyrgyzstan, except the high mountains in winter are often thaw. Summer is hot and dry, with average July temperature in the valleys of 20-27 ° C In the mid 15-17 ° C, while in the high 5 ° C and below.


Within the limits of Kyrgyzstan there are more than 3000 lakes, including the picturesque lake Issyk-Kul – one of the deepest in the world (maximum depth 668 m). Large rivers – Chu, Naryn and Talas – originate in the highlands. Chu occurs in the north, and flows 145 km on the border territory between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The Naryn River, merging with the district. Kara Darya, forming the Syr Darya, which flows eastward into the Fergana Valley. Talas drains the north-eastern Kyrgyzstan.

Plant and animal life in Kyrgyzstan

Flora of Kyrgyzstan’s very diverse, not less than 1 / 4 of all species are endemic. For the Tien Shan is characterized by a forest belt of the Tien Shan spruce, which replaced the above thickets of juniper and subalpine meadows. In the northern mountains framing the Fergana valley in places preserved forest nut (walnut). In high prevalent sub-alpine and alpine meadows used for many years under the summer pastures for sheep. At the highest levels of the relief is widely developed subnival zone with rubble heaps and snowfields. Herbaceous plants there have been very few, are common mosses and lichens.

In the foothills of distributed ephemeral desert, semi-deserts and dry steppes above shifting shrubs and woodlands.

In the highlands inhabited by ibex “teke”, mountain sheep “argali”, snow leopard, stone marten, red wolf, gray and red mountain marmots. In the forest mountain belt distributed deer, wolf, weasel, wild boar, lynx, brown bear, fox, marten. For steppe highland areas and the adjacent plains are characterized numerous species of rodents, including yellow, gopher, great coney, red-tailed gerbils, various reptiles, from ungulates – gazelle, birds – partridge, bustard, etc.

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