Kyrgyzstan is divided into seven regions (sing. oblast (область), administered by appointed governors. The capital, Bishkek, is administratively an independent city (shaar) with a status equal to a region.
Map of the administrative divisions of Kyrgyzstan
The regions, and capital city, are as follows:
Each region comprises a number of districts (raion), administered by government-appointed officials (akim). Rural communities (ay?l okmotu), consisting of up to twenty small settlements, have their own elected mayors and councils.
Chui region is located in north part of the Kyrgyz Republic uniting Chui and Chong-Kemin valleys, foothills of Kyrgyzskiy, Zaililiyskiy and Kungey mountain ranges. Located at the altitude of 550-2895 meters. Borders with Kazakhstan on its northern side. From any place in the valley you can see fascinating snow-covered peaks of Kyrgyz Ala-Too range. In spring foothills are shining with different colors of poppies and other flowers blossoming giving hills its' name "Ala-Too" - variegated (colorful) mountains.
Most of the territory of the valley is well irrigated by mountain streams and used for agriculture. Good soil makes Canabis Indica (Marijuana) grow wild to a size of tree here.
Many historical sites are accumulated here as the valley has a good mild climate and one of the main ways of the Great Silk Road was crossing it. There is plenty of room for archeological research but regular tourists will also find satisfaction of their historical curiosity by visiting ruins of ancient Balasagun, Nevaket and Ak-Beshim.
A number of valleys of Kyrgyz mountain range with their easy accessibility from Bishkek make this area very comfortable for hiking and trekking.
Taking Southern part of Kyrgyzstan bordering China and Uzbekistan Osh region is laying on the crossroad of cultures, climates, relief and civilizations. It is the most inhabited region of the country with rich historical and cultural inheritance which results in orientally wise community traditions, farming secrets, picturesque architecture, rich history and delicious cuisine.
First people existed here about 500 thousand years ago what is proofed by stone tools which were discovered in Sol-Unkur cave. Led, copper and mercury were mined here already in first millennium. Later, during various periods Osh Region was a part of large and powerful states: Davan, Kushan and Karakhanid Khannate which uncounted hundreds of cities with extended culture. A number of historical sights are spread through the area and most of them are real treasure for history lovers.
Southern part of the region is taken by Pamir-Alay mountains - excellent trekking and mountaineering area. The world's easiest-to-climb peak over 7000 meters (23000 ft) is located here and still called Lenin peak.
Major non-industrial income of the region is cotton grown on the huge territories and some silk, fruit and vegetables.
The unique historical museum located in natural cave of Sulaiman-Too mountain in Osh that everybody just has to visit. Along with spectacular interior it has a good collection of ancient exhibits.
Issyk-Kul region is a recreational center of Kyrgyzstan with a concentration of natural, historical and cultural sights along with nice resorts and a beautiful mountain lake Issyk-Kul. The lake is surrounded by high mountains which are also a natural relief borders with Kazakhstan in the North and China in South.
Central Tien-Shan Mountains, Terskey Ala-Too and Ak-Shiyrak have an abundance of trekking and mountaineering routes and a number of still unclimbed summits. Highest point of Kyrgyzstan and the farthest northern 7000 meters summit - Pobeda peak of 7439 meters (24400 ft) belongs to this region. One of the most beautiful tops of the world Khan-Tengri peak of 6995 meters (22950 ft) situated here too. Colorful, flowering and easy-to-access valleys of Kungey and Terskey ranges contain natural hot mineral water springs and have excellent trekking, hiking or horseback trekking opportunities.
Many ancient cities existed here along the Great Silk Road before the Mongolian invasion and their ruins still contain many secrets. Stone inscriptions up to 6 thousand years old are spread around the region and can be easily viewed in Cholpon-Ata Open Air Museum of Petroglyphs.
And ofcourse in the center of the Issyk-Kul valley the real treasure of Kyrgyzstan and the whole world wonderful lake Issyk-Kul. This lake is set on 1600 meters (5250 ft) over sea level. Despite the height the lake never freezes and contains some salinity (~2%) very equal to human plasma that keeps the water very clear and comfortable for swimming. Local people believe in curative possibilities of the water and you will believe it when you meet this healthy people.
In autumn villages are full of fruit trees pointing their branches to the ground under influence of colorful and juicy apples, apricots and cherry. Local fruit is famous far around as it grew in completely unpolluted region.
To the southeast of Bishkek, among the Tian Shan Mountains, in the highlands of Kyrgyzstan lies the province of Naryn. An amazing territory of wild beauty with snow-capped peaks, picturesque valleys, gorges and an abundance of wildlife. Bordering China in the south, Naryn region being the largest in Kyrgyzstan and probably the economically poorest part of the country.
Naryn region is not a small place - let's say it is larger than Switzerland. Perhaps more than anywhere else, this feels exactly "Silk Road" country with its huge open spaces, wild hills, lakes, and the magnificent mountains.
Despite its large geographical size, the population of this oblast is only about 250,000 - nearly all of them original Kyrgyz people, most are desperately poor without so much of the Russian influence seen elsewhere. It is therefore said that this is Kyrgyzstan at its most "authentic".
The climate is sharply continental, and in fact this is the coldest part of Kyrgyzstan, Ak-Sai valley- The north pole of Central Asia located in this province on the way to Torugart pass. Winter lasts for 6-8 months here and the temperature might easily decrease till -50 C but in the spring and summer the mountainsides are covered with wild flowers.
Despite the cold winters and strong winds, the Central Tian Shan has been inhabited since ancient times. This is indicated by ancient buildings (Tash-Rabat) or their remains (Koshoi Korgon) found during archeological expeditions. Also one of the main brunches of the Great Silk Road crossed Naryn region to China over Torugart and San-Tash passes.
Jalalabat region takes 33647 sq km in the south-west of Kyrgyzstan. It is a land of mountain lakes, walnut forests, and mineral waters. World largest natural growing walnut woods called Arslanbob cover big part of the region.
The living of the people of the region based on growing wheat, fruit, vegetables, maize, nuts, tobacco and silk-worm cocoons, few light-industry plants, hydroelectric stations and minerals, natural gas, coal, metals and oil mining.
The real pearl of the region is Sary-Chelek nature reserve with a beautiful alpine lake surrounded with wild fruit orchards and peaks. There are unlimited trekking possibilities in the area that face a problem of a lack of infrastructure.
Other attractive fact about Jalal-Abad region is it's numerous mineral water springs. A few soviet-time resorts offer special mineral water treatment programs for people with various chronic deseases. Also number of companies succeed in trading botteled mineral water around the country and abroad.
Administrative center: Jalalabat town
Talas region of Kyrgyzstan was described in ancient Kyrgyz epos Manas and the main historical monuments related to the epos are located here: Mausoleum of Manas of 14 century is a part of "Manas-Ordo" monumental complex located in Tash-Aryk village. In 1995 this complex was a scene of main celebration festival dedicated to 1000th anniversary of the great epos. Over 30 historical monuments connected to Manas are spread around the region.
The virgin nature of Talas region is rich with outstanding outdoor activity possibilities such as: hiking, trekking, climbing and horseback tours. Number of valleys with rocky mountains, green forests and tear-clear rushing mountain rivers full of rainbow trout attract tourists from all over the world: Besh-Tash valley, Ken-Kol valley, Ur-Maral, Kara-Koyun and Kumushtak.
The famous Kyrgyz writer Chinghiz Aitmatov whose books "Jamilya", "The White Steamship", "White cloud of Chenghiz Khan" are loved by millions of people all over the world was born on the land of Talas in a small village near the mountain called Manas.
Batken region is located in the very south-west corner of Kyrgyzstan almost completely enclosed by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan borders. There are still many territories that both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan pretend to own and it built a very coplicated border system when some small uzbek lands are enclaved on kyrgyz territory. The largest being the Soh enclave which belongs to Uzbekistan. Border with Tajikistan here lies on the top of Alay mountains and well protected by military professionals. The administrative center is the town of Batken.
There is not much information about this region. It used to be the part of Osh region before it was split on two regions in 1999. The region is the proud owner of some of the most technically difficult peaks of Central Asia located in Ak-Suu and Karavshin valleys. As most of the peaks are close to state border you might be required to obtain permits and procedure can take a time so you should start preparing yesterday. There are also a number of sites of history and antiquity scattered throughout the region.