City of Bishkek

The capital, Bishkek, is situated in the Chui valley in the north of the country, between the Talas valley in the west and the eastern Issyk-Kul region. It was founded in 1878 and originally was called Pishpek, which is the name of the wooden paddle with which the Kyrgyz make their kymyz (kumiss - fermented mare's milk), the national drink. Later, during the Soviet Union period, it was named Frunze after the famous Russian General Mikhail Frunze. At the time of Independence in 1991, it was renamed Bishkek.

 
   

The city has been influenced by the Russians from the beginning, and actually more or less built by them. Most of the buildings you see today are built in a typically Soviet architectural style, and the trees in the parks, boulevards and alleys are watered by a system of canals built by Russians. Those boulevards and parks make this a pleasant city to live in, as they provide total shade in summer, when temperatures may reach 40 degrees Celsius (105 F), and the open canal system also helps to keep the summer bearable. Bishkek is known to be one of the greenest cities in Central Asia as a result of this planning.

Bishkek cannot claim to be one of the major cities of the world, like London, Paris or New York. It is, however, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan and does have a number of important and interesting buildings, monuments, parks, museums, galleries, theatres and other places worth seeing or visiting. This is not meant to be an exhaustive guide to the city but simply a brief introduction to the city and its history.

   

Like Kyrgyzstan generally, the climate is Continental - which means hot summers and cold winters. The average annual temperature is -1°C. The atmosphere is generally dry with rainfall occurring mostly in spring. There is an average of 322 days of sunshine per year. There are two rivers flowing through the city - The Alamedin and Ala-Archa - both tributaries of the River Chui. Also, the Grand Chui Canal flows through the city. The city is said to be the greenest in Central Asia with more trees per head of population than any other.

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