As with other post-Soviet countries, Kyrgyzstan has been marred by a troubled political situation. Poverty is high, the country remains relatively rural and undeveloped, and tension between different ethnic groups persists. Clashes between the Uzbeks and the Krygs erupted in 2010; this combined with protests over government corruption, created a volatile situation. For a short time it looked as though civil war was likely although the disputes have more recently calmed down, and the country is considered to be safe for travellers once more.
Tourism is indeed often quite welcome, especially in the more rural areas, as the local population benefits from the economic growth it brings. The hilly geography and wild rivers make Kyrgyzstan a beautiful country, and nomadic groups still exist. As part of the Soviet Union, atheism was encouraged and religion repressed, but in the years independence, Sunni Islam has made a strong resurgence and Kyrgyzstan has incorporated both rich Islamic and Russian traditions into its culture.
Chingiz Aitmatov is the most renowned figure in modern Kyrgyz literature who wove Kyrgyzstan's rich oral tradition into contemporary folklore. For insight into being an expat in a strife-ridden country like Kyrgyzstan check out Saffia Farr's Revolution Baby and Anarchy in Kyrgyzstan. Jessica Jacobson gives a thrilling account of travelling to the nooks and crannies of the country in the book Roaming Kyrgyzstan: Beyond the Tourist Track.
The story of five women in a Kyrgyz village who adopt a baby is portrayed in the movie Beshkempir directed by Aktan Abdykalykoc, a screenwriter and director native to Kyrgyzstan.