Kyrgyzstan – where to put the z! (Basic introduction)

When I told everyone back in Germany I was going to Kyrgyzstan, the most common reaction was to pull out their smartphones and look up the country on googlemaps.

“Wow, that’s almost China”.

In smartphone-less contexts I often faced confusion with other countries that are better known, mostly Kazakhstan and – (!) Kurdistan. This seems to be fairly common (I found this confusion on several webpages) and my stories about that even led to the fact that a geographically well-educated person (I still don’t know who it was – so hereby: respect!) drew the outlines of Kurdistan on the map that I had hung up for my farewell party:

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