National Geographic Society Newsroom

Into Eden

The wildflower meadows of Kyrgyzstan are an overlooked glory of Central Asia. At least to outsiders. In fact, the most democratic of the former Soviet “Stans” celebrates its floral wealth with much the same nationalist pride that less enlightened countries reserve, say, for flippantly sacrificing such natural wonders. According to one botanical website, of the...

The wildflower meadows of Kyrgyzstan are an overlooked glory of Central Asia. At least to outsiders.

In fact, the most democratic of the former Soviet “Stans” celebrates its floral wealth with much the same nationalist pride that less enlightened countries reserve, say, for flippantly sacrificing such natural wonders. According to one botanical website, of the 80 varieties of tulips in the world, 22 can be found in Kyrgyzstan. “Holland is commonly known as the Tulip state,” the site notes testily, “but the original Tulip state is in fact Kyrgyzstan.”

I am walking across the world. I once studied biology.

Read the full story, or explore more content from the Out of Eden Walk at outofedenwalk.org.

About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of the world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Meet the Author

Paul Salopek
Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek’s 21,000-mile Out of Eden Walk is a multiyear experiment in slow journalism. Moving at the beat of his footsteps, Salopek is walking the pathways of the first humans who migrated out of Africa in the Stone Age and made the Earth ours. Along the way he is covering the major stories of our time—from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival—by giving voice to the people who inhabit them every day. His words, as well as his photographs, video, and audio, are creating a global record of human life at the start of a new millennium as told by villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers, and artists who rarely make the news. Join the journey at outofedenwalk.org and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @OutofEdenWalk.