Kyrgyzstan (pronounced /ˈkɜrɡɪstæn/; KUR-gi-stan; Kyrgyz: Кыргызстан, pronounced [qɯrʀɯzˈstɑn]; Russian: Киргизстан [ˈkirɡistan]), officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, it is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. The ethnonym "Kyrgyz", after which the country is named, is thought to originally mean either "forty girls" or "forty tribes", presumably referring to the epic hero Manas who, as legend has it, unified forty tribes against the Mongols. The 40-ray sun on the flag of Kyrgyzstan symbolizes the forty tribes of Manas.
Religion in Kyrgyzstan
Approximately 80% of the population of Kyrgyzstan follow Islam, most of Kyrgyzstan's Muslims belonging to the Sunni sect of Islam. However, for most people in Kyrgyzstan, Islam is considered more of a cultural background than a devout daily practice.
Christians make up about 17% of Kyrgyzstan's population. The majority of ethnic Russians belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, whereas the majority of ethnic Ukrainians belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. There are also ethnic German populations in Kyrgyzstan who are mostly Lutherans, Anabaptists or Catholics.
About 0.35% to 0.40% of the people of Kyrgyzstan are Buddhists. Some Buddhist practices, relics of a time when the faith was more widespread, persist within the wider population in Kyrgyzstan, such as tying prayer flags to sacred trees.
- The Complete ook of Buddha's Lists -- Explained. David N. Snyder, Ph.D., 2006.
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