88 chains of a powerful mountain system — the Tien Shan — stretch in long chains from west to east. The name of the system in translation means “Heavenly mountains.” Other mountain systems, such as the Chon Alai Range in the south of the country, belong to the Pamir mountain system. The mountains of Kyrgyzstan divide the country into northern and southern regions, connected by one single Bishkek-Osh road. The average length of the mountain ranges of Kyrgyzstan is 100-300 km. The longest ridge (Kakshaal) is 582 km long; the Kyrgyz ridge, which is located south of Bishkek, extends over 454 kilometers. The width of the ranges varies from 10 to 40 kilometers.
Tien Shan mountains
Tien Shan is the longest mountain system in Asia. The ridge is 2800 km long and 800 km wide. On the ridge are 40 peaks more than 6,000 meters high. It lies on the territory of several neighboring states, but most of it is located on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic. Stretching 2,800 kilometers from the Chatkal ridge east of Tashkent to Urumqi (beyond which the Tien Shan borders the Bogdo-Ula ridge), the mountain range is divided into northern, western, eastern, central and inner parts, each of which has a characteristic “Alpine” signs.
The central part of the ridge lies south-east of Lake Issyk-Kul and is known for its two highest peaks – the peaks of Victory and Khan Tengri, adjacent to other mountain ranges that stretch from east to west. The mountain range surrounding a group of glaciers in the upper reaches of the Inylchek River is interesting for two peaks more than 7,000 meters high, 23 peaks more than 6,000 meters high, including 3 inaccessible peaks and 80 peaks with a height of 5,000 to 6,000 meters above sea level with another 14 peaks. The ridge consists of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks.
The first mention of the heavenly mountains appeared in antiquity. According to ancient writings and notes of travelers, expeditions to these places have been carried out since ancient times, but all of them are more like legends than facts. The expedition of the Russian explorer Peter Semenov in the mid-19th century first shed light on the secret of the Heavenly Mountains. Thanks to his research, P. Semenov even received a second surname from the Tsar – Tian-Shansky.