Kyrgyzstan: Nature and Adventure

Kyrgyzstan is for many people an unknown country that is located far away in the former Soviet Union. But more and more people discover this is still pure and unspoiled land with its rolling grasslands bordered by rugged mountains with snowy peaks and impressive lakes. Bears are still living here, wolves, lynx, the snow leopard and 400 different species of birds. In early spring 40 species of wild tulips are bloom. Nature in Kyrgyzstan is one of the finest and purest in the world.

Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve

The UNESCO Issyk-Kul biosphere reserve is situated, in the calm north of Kyrgyzstan surrounded by the galciers of the Tien-Shan mountain range, In Chinese it means "heavenly mountains", and in the centre like an oasis the Issyk-Kul lake. The reserve reaches a height of more than 7000 meters above sea level and contains important fresh water resources. The Issyk Kul lake is also designated as a Ramsar Wetland . A great difference in the eco systems is represented in the biosphere reserve , varying from deserts and alpine tundra . The Issyk-Kul area has an interesting flora and fauna , numerous threatened animal species find sanctuary in the many uninhabited areas . Marco Polo sheep (Ovis ammon PolII) and the Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica) graze and you still find them wandering in the mountains , and the threatened snow leopard (uncia Uncia) can also be found there. The Kyrgyzstan people have kept their traditional culture and in the summer many families wander with their cattle to the mountain meadows . There are about 500.000 people living in the biosphere reserve (2001) . Tourism plays an important and economical role.

Issyk-Kul lake

Issyk-Kul is in fact 182 by 60 kilometers large and one of the biggest mountain lakes in the world. Issyk-Kul means 'lake with warm water'. The water never freezes because of the snowy mountain peaks surrounding it. It was for a long time a resting place on the silk road, because of its pleasant water temperature. Here live endangered species such as the snow leopard and the Marco-Polo sheep. In the time of the Soviet Union, Issyk-Kul was a health resort for summer holidays. Even now many tourists from Kazakhstan and Russia come to the lake shore in the summer. The Issyk-Kul, near Grigorevka still remains quiet and unspoilt. The shore line is overgrown with magnificent bramble bushes and its water is crystal clear and fresh. Around the lake loom snowy mountain peaks, while you swim in pleasant water.

Bel-Zhan is a foundation in Kyrgyzstan, founded by Jacobiene Ritsema and Ludmila Gromova.
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