Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west and southwest, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. Its capital is Bishkek.
Kyrgyzstan's recorded history spans over 2,000 years, encompassing a variety of cultures and empires. Although geographically isolated by its highly mountainous terrain, which has helped preserve its ancient culture, Kyrgyzstan has been at the crossroads of several great civilizations as part of the Silk Road and other commercial and cultural routes.
The list of Kyrgyz properties inscribed on the World Heritage List includes: Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor (2014), Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain (2009) and Western Tien-Shan (2016, Saimaly-Tash Petroglyphs.
The culture of Kyrgyzstan has a wide mix of ethnic groups and cultures, with the Kyrgyz being the majority group. Kyrgyz was not written until the twentieth century. The Kyrgyz oral tradition included several epics about mythical warriors, including Manas, Jayin-Bayis, Kurmanbek, and Er Tabildi.
In present time a famous Kyrgyz writer Chinghiz Aitmatov is well known. Craftsmanship accounts for nearly half of Kyrgyzstan's yearly production. Artisans make saddles, carpets such as shirdaks and alakiis, embroidered hangings called tushkiis, and are skilled at goldsmithing.
Kyrgyz women produce a wide range of textiles, mostly from felt made from the wool of local sheep.
Kyrgyz clothing reflects the lifestyle and regions of Kyrgyzstan, with designs and materials drawn from nomadic life. Wool, felt, leather, skins, and coarse cloth are the main materials used for Kyrgyz clothing, with ornamentation taken from tribal traditions and nature. Colors and designs are chosen to symbolize Kyrgyz traditions and rural life. Flowers, plants, animals, stylized horns, national designs, and emblems of Kyrgyz life are often found in these ornate and colorful embroideries.
Traditional crafts are taught in school, and the graphic arts are well developed. In most cases artisans create objects to be sold either as souvenirs to tourists or as heirlooms for people's homes. Some are displayed in the National Gallery or in museums abroad. Most of these are done in wool or silk, including the wool carpets called shirdaks and alakiis, embroidered wall hangings called tush-kiis, and small animal or human figures. Wood, horn, leather, and clay are also used.
Kyrgyz music is nomadic and rural, and is closely related to Turkmen and Kazakh folk forms. Kyrgyz folk music is characterized by the use of long, sustained pitches.