Alexander, a Russian, sent me this stunning postcard from the beautiful mountainous nation of Kyrgyzstan. I was obviously most pleased by getting this postcard as it’s a major goal of mine to get all the Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union and this is my second one of the five. After reading up on this country of which I knew little more than the name of its capital city, Biskek, I realised that it’s a nation that is no stranger to turmoil and corruption. Islam was brought to the country in the 7th century by Turkish traders before its major expansions began. It was not until the rise of the Mongols that it began to shrink again to more closely resemble what it looks like today. It is a nation that was conquered by the infamous Genghis Khan in 1207. It was absorbed into Russia in 1876 and gained independence on Christmas day 1991, despite overwhelming support by voters not to secede from the Soviet Union. Since then ethnic tensions have been rife between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz and in 2010 riots and ethnic clashes left some 400 000 people displaced either internally or in Uzbekistan. I find it shocking that I never even heard about it though I follow South African media quite closely. It is seen as one of the 20 most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International as well. Despite everything above, I’ve always wanted to see this beautiful country and will maybe someday be fortunate enough to visit it. I’m so glad about the postcard, thank you Alexander!