Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute

Hamngatan 4
AX-22100 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland
Tel. +358 18 15570
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kyrgyztan1_webbCafé Bönan receives Kyrgyzstan as a guest country in its multicultural café. Last Friday 27 th of August people could know a little more about that country, where it is located, their political situation, their traditions and their food.

Denis Nazarenko, project manager at the Peace Institute, explained that Kyrgyzstan is a republic with 5.5 million inhabitants that is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. They have two languages, the national is Kyrgyz and the official is Russian. The majority of its population are Kyrgyz (64.9%), but there are also Uzbek (13.8%),  Russian (12.5%), and others (8.8%).

Nazarenko said the majority of the population are nomadic people and the agriculture is an important sector of the economy in Kyrgyzstan. About their tradition, bride kidnapping was a tradition. Even though that is prohibited now, some cases have been reported lately.  Another tradition is the Manaschis, old men who sing the story of Manas which is linked in a way with their history and their way to understand the world.

In April 2010,  there were different protests against government accused by corruption. These protests turned more violent in the middle of the year when Kyrgyz attacked Uzbeks people. The interim government, lead by Roza Otunbayeva, did nothing.

Finally, people could try the Kyrgyz food. Normally the Kyrgyz eat a lot meat in different ways. But that Friday we tried Plov, an Uzbek dish, made with rice, onions, carrots and soya meat (normally lamb or mutton meat is used). Delicious!

More information about the riots in Kyrgyzstan can be found here.