Kyrgyzstan's history spans over 2,000 years, encompassing a variety of cultures and empires. Although geographically isolated by its highly mountainous terrain – which has helped preserve its ancient culture – Kyrgyzstan has historically been at the crossroads of several great civilizations, namely as part of the Silk Road and other commercial and cultural routes. Though long inhabited by a succession of independent tribes and clans, Kyrgyzstan has periodically come under foreign domination and attained sovereignty as a nation–state only after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
One of the most popular tourist destination points in Kyrgyzstan is Issyk Kul Lake. Numerous hotels, vacation resorts, boarding houses and sanatoriums are located along its Northern shore. The most popular beach zones are in the city of Cholpon–Ata and the settlements nearby, such as Kara–Oi (Dolinka), Bosteri and Korumdy.
For those interested in trekking and camping, every region offers attractions and challenges. Some of the most popular locations for camping are southern Osh, the area between Naryn City and the Torugart pass, and the mountains and glaciers surrounding Karakol in Issyk–Kul. Local guides and porters can be hired from many tour companies in Bishkek and in the regional capitals.
Skiing is still in its infancy as a tourism industry, but there is one fairly cheap and well–equipped base about a half–hour from Bishkek. The ski base of Toguz Bulak is 45 km from Bishkek, on the way to Issyk Ata valley. In the Karakol Valley National Park, outside Karakol, there is also a ski base with three T–bars and rental equipment available of good quality.