Kyrgyzstan is one of the last few unpolluted places on our planet that along with its beautiful alpine scenery has preserved its nomadic traditions, rich heritage and cultural continuity that date back many thousand of years. The ecological wealth and diversity and the cultural heritage of Kyrgyzstan are suited to Understanding man's relationship with nature. Living in a mainly mountainous country, Kyrgyz people have always moved great distances according to a way of life requiring seasonal migrations. The Naryn River, Kyrgyzstan's largest river, originates in the mountains in the northeast and flows westward through the middle of the country. Naryn then enters the Ferghana Valley and crosses into Uzbekistan, where it joins with another river to form the Syr Darya, one of Central Asia's principal rivers.Chu River, in northern Kyrgyzstan, flows northward into southern Kazakhstan. Issyk-Kul, the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan and one of the largest mountain lakes in the world, is located at an altitude of 1,607 m (5,273 ft) above sea level in the northeastern portion of the country. Kyrgyzstan's mountain lakes are an annual refuge for thousands of migrating birds, including the mountain goose and other rare species. Kyrgyzstan's landscape, blessed and bedeviled by a dramatic range of weather conditions and altitudes, supports an astoundingly rich diversity of plant and animal life. Forests occupy 4% of the country's land area. Coniferous trees such as the Tian-Shan white spruce grow along lower valleys and on north-facing mountain slopes. Many rare animal species inhabit the woodlands, including the Tian-Shan bear, the red wolf and the snow leopard, which are protected by government decree. King of the mountains, the graceful, swift snow leopard - packed with muscle and sporting a long tail for balance - is finely honed to survive in snowbound peaks. Other animals in Kyrgyzstan include deer, mountain goats and mountain sheep.
Marco Polo sheep, their horns comically coiled, tread the high mountains along with the world's largest ibex whose horns can reach 60 inches. The Tien brown bear and grey wolves patrol the valleys near Bishkek and Karakol. But the visitor is most likely to see marmots - bundles of fur with shrill shrieks - and, if you're lucky, the giant (Menzbier) marmot which lives only in the Tien Shan. Kyrgyzstan is renowned for its botanical diversity, with some 400 species exclusive to this country. Varieties of tulip, orchid and wild onion are unusually abundant and alpine plants, such as edelweiss are the trekker's constant companion. The rare aigul flower grows in the Alai Range. The south boasts globally important forests - including rare types of walnut and pistachio – testament to the untouched wildness of this extraordinary land.