Bishkek

Bishkek is the capital of the Kyrgyzstan republic, located in the Chui Valley, at the edge of the Tien Shan mountain range. This great city is usually the arrival and departure point of all the tours, and people typically stay there only for a very short time.

History

At the beginning, the city was just a crossing point on the Silk Road. In 1825, a fort was built to control the local caravan routes and to house Kyrgyz tribes. In 1860, the fortress was destroyed by the Russian forces, and in 1868, a Russian colony was founded at the fortress’ location known as Pichpek. In 1925, the independent region Kara-Kyrgyz was created in Russian Turkestan. In 1926, the city was named Frounze, then became the capital of the socialist republic -Soviet Kyrgyz- in 1936. It is only in 1992 that the Parliament Kirgiz changed the name of the capital into Bishkek after the dislocation of the Soviet Union and the ascent of Kyrgyzstan to the status of sovereign state.

Bishkek nowadays

Bishkek is a big city generally used for short stays. The Soviet influence is very obvious in its architecture with buildings made of massive concrete blocks and very large and long straight-line avenues. Government buildings as well as monuments commemorating the Great War are the best witnesses of the former Russian occupation.

Aside from that, the city does have singular curiosities that will keep you busy upon your arrival. It has indeed some large museums including the historical museum and the museum of the fine arts which can be interesting to visit before the conquest of Kyrgyz nomadic lands.

In the evening, various performances are offered to you such as ballet, drama, Kyrgyz theatres and Russian opera. For those who are keen on classical music, visit the Philharmony State Concert Hall.

If you're not afraid to immerse yourself in the crowd, go to the famous Osh Bazaar. This large market is an opportunity to take your first steps in real Kyrgyz life and immerse yourself in the culture of the country. Smiles and a friendly reigning atmosphere will give you a first impression of how welcoming local people can be. That being said, be careful of pickpockets who prey on Western tourists.

Climate

Bichkek has a cold moderate climate in winter and hot in summer. In the winter, snow falls heavily, and can reach the 36-centimeter mark. Rainfall is fairly abundant in the spring and autumn but in summertime, it is replaced with a dry climate alongside high temperatures.The average temperature in wintertime is around -2°C while averaging 33°C in the summer.

How to get there?

Bishkek has an airport situated approximately 25 km from the city. Manas International airport, the country's main airport, is served by flights from Mongolia, Turkey, Russia, China,Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Bishkek has two main bus stations.The east bus station is the terminal for minibuses from various locations around the city. However, long-distance buses connect all parts of the country. There is also a semiweekly (twice per week) train service from Bishkek to Moscow. The train has 2-and 4-sleeper cabs and a restaurant car.