Basic geography

Kyrgyzstan is divided administratively into seven provinces plus the capital, which is treated as a separate unit. It is useful to distinguish three broad regions:

  • The north contains the capital, most of the country's industry, and most of the remaining Russian-speaking population.
  • The mountainous south and southeast, along the borders with Tajikistan and China, are undeveloped. The population is overwhelmingly Kyrgyz.
  • The southwest, along the border with Uzbekistan, includes Kyrgyzstan's section of the Fergana Valley. Here lies Osh, the country's second largest city. About one-third of the region's population belongs to the Uzbek minority.