Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, is situated at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level. It has area of 124 square km and the population of approximately 670,000 people. The city was constructed on the site of a fort (called Pishpek) built by the Khan of Kokand in 1825 and destroyed by the Russians in 1862. Russians and Ukrainians began to settle here in the latter decades of the 19th century, planting beets, wheat and potatoes in the fertile valleys. Known briefly as Bishkek (the word bishkek means a churn used to make fermented mare’s milk) after the Soviet takeover, the city was renamed Frunze in 1926, in honour of Mikhail Frunze, the Soviet general who won Central Asia for the Bolsheviks in the Civil War. The city was again renamed Bishkek when Kyrgyzstan declared its independence in 1991.

Sightseeing and excursions

Bishkek City tour 01-Half-day

The State Museum of History. Lenin still stands on his pedestal in former Lenin Square. There is also the State Museum of History with two yurts, a small archaeology exhibit and a beguiling display of Kyrgyz carpets, embroidery and other applied crafts. Highlights of the history section include a giant koumis skin, photographs of Kyrgyz victims of purges of the Stalin era in the 1930s and the exhumation of their mass grave at Chon Tash near Bishkek.

The Osh Bazaar on Kievskaya Str. is the biggest market in Kyrgyzstan. It is a typical eastern bazaar, which is noisy and full of local color.

Kyrgyz State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet is the cultural centre of Kyrgyzstan. The construction of the building had begun before the World War II but it was completed in 1955.

The central department store “ZUM” carries a wide range of local handicrafts, including felt carpets, jewelry, clothing, the traditional men’s ak-kalpak and other hats, and ornate riding gear.

Philharmonic Hall near Manas Square. People come here to see the folk show.