Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian country that has been through some changes and challenges, and it drafted a new constitution in 2010. Kyrgyz and Russian languages are spoken, and Uzbeks and Germans form sizable minority populations. About 80% of the land is mountainous; Issyk-Kul in the Northeastern realms of the Tian Shan region is the second largest mountain lake after Titicaca in the Andes, and Jengish Chokusu is considered to be the most Northern peak with a height of over 7,000 meters. Despite having a lot of rivers, most areas are not great for agriculture. Luckily metal deposits like gold and rare earth are a source of industry and income. Animal species include the red pika, the relict gopher, the scary-sounding Goitered gazelle, and the Silvery Microtine. Ulak Tartysh and other equestrian games are popular Kazakh pastimes. Cholpon-Ata and other nearby beaches draws tourists, and skiing is a growing attraction in places like Karakol Valley National Park or just outside of Bishkek. You may also enjoy Arslanbob, a woodland oasis and the largest walnut grove on earth. Solomon's Throne is a rocky hill above Osh, an ancient city in the Fergana Valley, and it has historical relevance to Muslim Pilgrims. Wheat, barley, and millet are typical grains, and they are often eaten with sour soups. Meat is very popular, and the Kazakhs really love horsemeat. Paloo is traditionally a mix of mutton or beef with rice, fried shredded carrots, and jiucai (garlic chives), but you can also enjoy shirin paloo, which has dried fruits like prunes and apricots in place of meat. Dumplings are popular--try pumpkin samsa. Have some boorsoq (a fried bread) dipped in honey or tea, or kymyz, the lightly fermented and alcoholic mare's milk drink. It's more fun than shaking hands with everyone you run into in public!

Chuy Province