Talas is a small town in northwestern Kyrgyzstan, located in a long valley between two imposing mountain ranges. Its geographical location is and its population is 32,538 (as of 1999). It is the administrative headquarters of Talas province. The town was founded by East Slavic settlers in 1877.
Its economy traditionally oriented towards the ancient city of Taraz (once named Talas and Dzhambul) in present day Kazakhstan, the Talas valley has suffered severely from the imposition of rigid border controls by Kazakhstan following the demise of the Soviet Union, as transport and trade links to the rest of Kyrgyzstan are now constrained by the formidable mountains separating it from the Chui Valley and Bishkek. The only motorable road to Bishkek and the rest of the country rises to a height of more than 3500 m above sea level before descending in many turns to the Chui Valley and Bishkek.