Naryn Oblast

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Naryn Oblast


(from 1932–62, Tien-Shan Oblast), part of the Kirghiz SSR. Formed Dec. 11, 1970. Borders on China on the southeast and south. Area, 50,200 sq km. Population, 203,000 (Jan. 1, 1973). Naryn Oblast is divided into six raions and has one city and two urban-type settlements. The administrative center is Naryn.

Natural features. Naryn Oblast lies in the Inner Tien-Shan, a complex system of ranges separated by broad valleys and basins. The altitude of the terrain increases from west to east. The Kokshaltau Range (maximum elevation, 5,982 m) extends to the southeast; the Fergana Range (maximum elevation, 4,692 m) to the southwest; the eastern part of the Susamyrtau Range (maximum elevation, 4,048 m) and the Dzhumgaltau Range (maximum elevation, 3,947 m) to the northwest; and the western part of the Terskei-Alatau and Dzhetim ranges (elevations exceeding 4,500 m) to the northeast. Among the ranges in the interior are the Dzhamantau (maximum elevation, 4,718 m), the Atbashi (maximum elevation, 4,786 m), the Naryntau, and the Moldo-tau. Typical of the terrain are relatively flat, high areas called syrts (watersheds). There are large intramontane basins and valleys: in the north, the Kochkorka and Dzhumgal; in the center, the Naryn and Atbashi; in the south, the Aksai and Chatyrkel’, which have the highest elevations; and in the west, the Toguz-torou. The lowest points of these basins are 1,000–1,200 to 3,800 m above sea level.

The climate is continental. The winters are severe, and the summers are relatively cool. The average January temperature ranges from —10.PC in Kochkorka to —27.7°C in the Aksai Valley, and the average July temperature, from 2 PC in Kazar-man to 9°C in the Aksai Valley. The average daily temperature range is great. For most of the oblast precipitation is 200–300 mm a year, primarily in the spring and summer. In some valleys, such as the Kochkorka, almost no snow falls during the winter. The growing season is approximately 130 days. The largest glaciated area is in the Kokshaltau Range near Dankov Peak.

Of the rivers, 70 percent belong to the Naryn Basin, 20 percent to the Tarim, and the remainder to the Chu. As it flows through the oblast, the Naryn River is joined by major tributaries: on the right, by the Malyi Naryn and the Kekemeren; and on the left, by the Atbashi and the Alabuka. The source of the Chu River is located in the north, and the sources of the Aksai, Miu-diurium, and Uzengegush, in the south. Most of the rivers are fed by glaciers and snow. The maximum flow, up to 50 percent of the annual flow, occurs from March to June. High water occurs in May and June. The rivers have great waterpower reserves. (A hydroelectric power station with an output of 40 megawatts was opened in 1970 on the Atbashi River.) The tributaries of the Naryn are used primarily for irrigation. The Or-totokoi Reservoir was constructed on the Chu River. The oblast’s major lakes are the freshwater Sonkel’ and the drainless salty Chatyrkel’, which are located at elevations of more than 3,000 m. The Chatyrkel’ mineral springs are well-known.

Mountain-steppe and semidesert vegetation prevail. At the lower altitudes wormwood and wormwood grass desert steppes (semideserts) are common on loamy detritus mountain and valley soils. The upper sections of the mountain slopes are covered with subalpine and alpine Cobresia meadows, and in the northwest subalpine and alpine meadows are found on mountain-meadow soils. The high-mountain areas have sections of mountain tundra. There are cold high-mountain deserts in the east. Groups of shrubs, such as dog rose, barberry, and honeysuckle, are found. In the valleys forests are poplar and willow, and on the mountain slopes, Tien-Shan spruce, juniper, and other trees.

The argali, mountain goat (Capra sibirica), snow leopard, marten, wolf, fox, and marmot (Marmota baibacina) inhabit Naryn Oblast.

Population. The population of Naryn Oblast includes Kirghiz (93.7 percent, according to the 1970 census), Russians (3.6 percent), Uzbeks, Tatars, and Ukrainians. The average density is four inhabitants per sq km (Jan. 1, 1973). The most densely populated areas are the Kochkorka, Dzhumgal, Naryn, and Atbashi basins and valleys. Sixteen percent of the population lives in the cities.

Economy. Agriculture plays the main role in the oblast’s economy. At the end of 1972 there were 41 kolkhozes and eight sovkhozes. Agricultural lands account for 2.6 million hectares (ha) of the land area, including approximately 126,000 ha of plowlands, 24,600 ha of hayfields, and 2,354,000 ha of distant and ordinary pastures (92.1 percent). Naryn Oblast is famous for animal husbandry. Fine-fleece and semifine-fleece sheep are the most important livestock raised on the vast pastures. At the end of 1973, in all categories of farming there were 2,306,100 sheep and goats (approximately 24 percent of the livestock in the republic), 93,300 cattle, and 68,300 horses. The number of regions specializing in raising yaks is increasing.

In 1973, the sown area was 135,400 ha, of which 55 percent was given over to perennial and annual grasses. Cereal crops, primarily spring crops of barley and wheat, cover 60,000 ha. In 1973 the gross grain harvest was 142,500 tons. In 1972, 108,000 ha were irrigated.

Industry is developing. In 1972 the volume of gross industrial output was 8.7 times greater and the number of industrial personnel 2.1 times greater than in 1966. There are deposits of gold, rock salt, and building materials in Naryn Oblast. There are mills, and building materials and consumer goods are produced; agricultural raw materials are processed at meat-packing plants and creameries in Naryn and the village of Chaek. There is an engineering plant in Naryn. The Orgtekhnika instrument plant is located in the settlement of Min-Kush.

Motor transport has been developed. There are 4,400 km of highways (Jan. 1, 1973), including 2,200 km of paved roads. The main roads are the Rybach’e-Naryn-Torugart and Naryn-Kazarman routes.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the academic year 1914—15 there were ten schools (643 students) in the area now occupied by Naryn Oblast. In the academic year 1973–74 there were 148 general education schools of all types (62,300 students) and two secondary specialized schools (approximately 1,100 students). In 1974, 2,100 children were enrolled in 34 preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1974, the oblast had 148 public libraries (827,000 books and magazines). The Tien-Shan Theater of Music and Drama is located in Naryn. There are 125 clubs and 88 motion-picture projectors. Extracurricular institutions include five Pioneer clubs and seven children’s sports schools.

The Tien-Shan Experimental Animal Husbandry Station of the Kirghiz Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services is located in the village of Kazankuigan.

The oblast newspaper Naryn pravdasy (Naryn Pravda; since 1938) is published in Kirghiz. Oblast radio broadcasts are conducted in Kirghiz for 30 minutes. The first programs of All-Union and Republic Radio, as well as the first program of Central Television, are transmitted.

By 1973 there were 2,000 hospital beds (9.8 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 311 physicians (one per 653 inhabitants) in the oblast.


Riazantsev, S. N., and V. F. Pavlenko. Kirgizskaia SSR. Moscow, 1960.
Bassein reki Naryn (Fiziko-geograficheskaia kharakteristika). Frunze, 1960.
Priroda Kirgizii. Frunze, 1962.
Kirgiziia. Moscow, 1970. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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