Posted on February 23, 2017
Several former Soviet republics celebrate a holiday about the armed forces or defense of country today, February 23. This includes Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan (see below), several other Soviet republics, and today's focus, Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan is one of the former-Soviet nations I hear least about. It's a landlocked nation (which means it has no border on an ocean or a sea connected to an ocean), and it is very mountainous. The relative isolation created from these two factors is complicated by the fact that, from ancient times, this land was at the crossroads of early civilizations and was on the "Silk Road" and other trade routes.
Isolation means that Kyrgyzstan's ancient culture has been, to some extent, preserved. But being a crossroads means that it has a long history of being dominated by foreign powers.
And all of that means that visitors to Kyrgyzstan discover a wide variety of foods and languages and cultures - especially heavy with Persian, Mongolian, and Russian influences.
One common language is Russian, but Kyrgyz, a Turkic language, is the national language.
One Kyrgyz dish is laghman, which has thick wheat noodles, peppers and other vegetables, and a spicy vinegar sauce.
Bread is considered sacred in Kyrgyz culture; common types include naan (flat bread common in India and other Central Asian nations), thick Russian breads, and fried bread. Bread is often eaten dipped in jam or butter or honey, or even suspended in tea! Another dip for bread is like Turkish kaymak, a dairy product that is a lot like clotted cream.
|Isn't this bread oven surprising? I read that the dough|
hangs on the sides as it bakes into loaves of yummy,
Some Kyrgyz live in yurts.
Most Kyrgyz are Muslim, although earlier religious practices still coexist with Islam.
Check out this earlier post on Kyrgyzstan. And check out more beautiful photos of this little-known nation here.
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