Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic since 1993, became an independent nation for the first time 22 years ago, when the country's Supreme Soviet, the main governing body, voted for independence from the Soviet Union.
On Aug. 31, the landlocked Central Asian country celebrated its independence with events in and around Bishkek.
At the Hippodrome, an outdoor stadium in the suburb of the capital, Independence Day celebrations centered around traditional Kyrgyz horse games, including ulak tartysh (also known as kok-boru, buzkashi, or “blue wolf”) and kyz-kumay (“kiss the girl”). Young riders showed their skills in large races as the crowd filled the stadium, standing along the walls and gathering around the edges of the track.
Back in the city center at Ala-Too Square, the celebrations continued with traditional dances and songs representing several of the ethnic communities that make up Kyrgyzstan’s population.
Christina Donnelly is a freelance photographer based in Bishkek.