Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan, the country’s main city, its major political, economic and cultural center. The city stretched at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level, in the heart of the Chui Valley in the foothills of the majestic Kyrgyz Range. Bishkek area is about 160 square kilometers and the population is approaching to a million people.
The composition of the population is extremely heterogeneous and the «motley» in numerical terms it looks like this: Kyrgyz people 52.1% -397 thousand, Russians — 33.2% — 253 thousand, Ukrainians-16 thousand — 2.1%, Tatars-16 thousand which is 2.1%, Uzbeks — 13 thousand, Uighurs — 13 thousand, Koreans — 13 thousand, Kazakhs — 12 thousand, Germans — 5 thousand, Dungans — 4 thousand, Turks — 3 thousand, Azerbaijanians — 3 thousand, other nationalities — 14 thousand. The official state language is Kyrgyz language; although in the city with such national composition almost all speak Russian, which has the status of a language of interethnic communication.
Bishkek city is sunny, like the rest of Kyrgyzstan, which is caused by extreme continental climate. Here there are 322 clear days per year, and average air temperature does not fall below + 10.2 C. The coldest month is January (- 4C), and the hottest — July (+ 25C).
History of the city starts from the VII century, when this place was founded by Jule settlement, better known as the Blacksmith Castle.
In 1825, on its ruins, Kokand citadel Pishpek was founded, which housed the largest in the Chui Valley military garrison. With the defeat of the Kokand Khanate by the Russian imperial army, the fortress several times was conquered and came from hands to hands, in the end, it was completely destroyed, and there was a picket guard of Cossacks established on its place in 1864. A little later the bazaar began to gather on a convenient place and in 1868 it grew to the size of the settlement, which inherited the name Pishpek. In April 1878 the administrative center of the county moved in Pishpek, and the village received city status.
After the October Revolution of 1917 the rapid development of the city has begun, and Pishpek renamed into Frunze in honor of its famous native — an outstanding Soviet military chief Mikhail Frunze.
In 1936, the city became the capital of the Kyrgyz SSR, which it was and lasted until the landmark 1991 when there was a collapse of the Soviet Union and Kyrgyzstan, as well as all the other republics, declared about its independence.
On February 1, 1991 by decision of the Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan, the city was renamed into Bishkek.
On the origin of the name of the city there are a lot of rumors and speculations, and there are several official versions. According to one of them the city was named in honor of the Bishkek-Baatyr — the mythical hero who lived here in the XVIII century, on the other, the name comes from Kyrgyz word which notates the tools for churning and kumys – mare’s milk (which is really very symbolic, especially about the mare’s milk).
But probable the most possible of all, it is just playing of the tunes of the words Pishpek and Bishkek. Actually, there are no differences for anybody the most importantly is that the name has turned a beautiful and very sonorous.
Bishkek today is a young and very beautiful city, its development has an orthogonal structure (cross streets only at right angles), which enables and provides opportunity of precise architectural planning of new areas and the better aeration of the existing districts.
Of course, the age of the city is not so old and one should not expect to find «serious» historical sites, but in the territory of Bishkek city there were preserved the excavations of the ancient sites of «Jule» and ruins of the «Pishpek Fortress,» which could in any way to make the lovers of antiquity to be happy and not to be worry about that aspect.
But to take in general there are a lot of places which one can visit in the city, of course!
A favorite spot for hiking for Bishkek citizens and guests is the center of the city that focuses on the main museums, galleries, parks, squares, plazas, shops and restaurants and cafes.
On the planted on with centuries-old, shady trees, wide street of the Soviets, there are Kyrgyz State Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Moldybaev and State Art Museum and Library named after Chernyshevsky.
And it is very close from here to the «Old Square», with the Historical Museum which was located on it.
Nearby there was split absolutely stunning an oak park. Dense trees, even on the hottest day here do not let the brightest rays of the sun, which creates truly heavenly coolness. Curious squirrels scurrying from tree to tree, watch passers-by in anticipation of goodies.
But the main interest of this place is of course, sculptures. Performed in the metal, stone, wood, they are singly and in groups along the park paths — this is real modern open-air museum.
A little bit away to the side from the Oak Park there is a «Bishkek Opening Day» adjacent to it, which is called Erkindik. That is a real art gallery, which brought in its collection of outstanding works of contemporary artists, craftsmen and artisans of Kyrgyzstan.
Literally behind the gallery the main square of the country — Ala-Tao begins that is a very remarkable place, here is the Government House located. Along the perimeter of the area bordered by fountains, and a huge platform for public events, festivals, a disco was built in the center of it.
Well and of course, it is impossible to pass away the national — Ethnographic corner of the capital, the tourist complex «Kyrgyz Ayyily.» This is a real «piece» of the past. Here, under the national hero Manas — «Manas Ayyily» were set the national yurts, in which everyone can not only relax but also to get acquainted with the lifestyles and everyday life of nomads, to try a fresh mare’s milk, to take part in folk games. And also get a lot of useful information about tourism opportunities of the country and the routes which have already been developed.
It is naturally that Bishkek like any self-respecting Oriental city can boast of luxury bazaar, by the way, there are four of them in the city. Fruits and vegetables, products of national crafts, handicrafts and souvenirs, as well as completely different products from around the world — this is an incomplete list of things that for sure you will be able to find out in this place.
All the suburbs of the capital are situated within the charming Chui valley, they are also full of attractions and interesting natural-territorial complexes, such as the unforgettable beauty of the gorge of Chunkurchak in the upper reaches of Alamedin; the Botanical State Park of Chon-Aryk which locates in the Valley of Besh-Kyungey; the most picturesque natural gorges of: Kara-Balta, Aspara, Dzhilamish and of course Kegety, with its magnificent by beauty a waterfall.
And of course there are a lot of historical monuments located directly in the Chui Valley.
Here are just some of them: Krasnorechensk settlement of the XII century, which is located 38 kilometers away from the city and has kept the ruins of the Zoroastrian buildings; the ruins of the ancient city of Balasagun (Kuz Ordu of the XI century); also there are called the historical-cultural zone of «Buran» which is 50 kilometers away from the capital, where there is the main attraction of it is the famous tower of «Buran», with the height of 21 meters; the settlement of Ak-Beshim, with the ruins of the capital city of Suyab which was once a long time ago the capital of the Western Turkic Kaganate and the State of the Karluks in the XIII-XV centuries; a complex of the Christian churches, cemeteries and burial mounds. There are also very attractive the ruins of the citadel Chumysh of the IX-X centuries and the rock paintings found in its vicinity; the settlement of Tourt-Kul and the Issyk-Ata petroglyphs depicting the Buddha; the historical and cultural monuments of Shamshi, Ak-Suu, and Chon-Kemin, recognized as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nowhere in Central Asia, will you not see such a lot of them. The most famous of them is Ak-Suu, mineral waters, which is located 80 kilometers away from the village Belovodskoye, in the outskirts of Bishkek city, and its water in their mineral composition is very similar to the water in the mine of the thermal waters of the Siberian balneology resort «Dara-Suna».
As well as that the geothermal wells of Shabyr, Kamyshanovsk, Lugovoe, submitted with hydrogen sulphide peloids, and a whole range of the 130 mineral springs in the resort of Issyk-Ata, which hydropathic «practice» dates back to the II century A.D., are also not in the last place in the list.
Just only 25 kilometers away from the capital, surrounded by juniper forests and alpine meadows there is a ski resort of «Chon-Tash», which is located on the shores of mountain river with the same name, there one can see plateaus of Kairak, the waterfall of Koguchken-Sugata, the glaciers in the valley of Ken-Tor, the most beautiful tracts of the Kara-Bulak, Ooru -Say, Tash-Bashat, Norus Bir-Bulak (Raspberry Gorge) and Toguz-Bulak.
You should believe that this list could go on for very long, Kyrgyzstan is the country of mountains, and beautiful places here are thousand of thousands, so if you are interested, will have to come here and deal with others on the site. Especially because people here are waiting for you!