52 Togolok-Moldo, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Phone: +996 (312) 537777 How to find us
52 Togolok-Moldo, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Phone: +996 (312) 537777 How to find us
Бишкек +82.4°F / +28°C

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Bishkek (in Kyrgyz and Russian: Бишкéк), formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and the largest city in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is also the administrative centre of Chuy Province which surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the province but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.

According to the post-Soviet ideology, the name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a churn used to make fermented mare's milk (kumis), the Kyrgyz national drink, which is rather debatable. Founded in 1825 as a Khokand fortress of "Pishpek" to control local caravan routes and to get tribute from Kyrgyz tribes, on 4 September 1860 the fortress was destroyed by Russian forces led by colonel Zimmermann, with approval of the Kyrgyz. In 1868 a Russian settlement was founded on the fortress's spot, adopting its original name - Pishpek, within the General Governorship of Russian Turkestan and its Semirechye Oblast.

In 1925 the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast was created in Russian Turkestan, promoting Pishpek as its capital. In 1926 the city was given the name Frunze, after the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze, who was born here. In 1936 the city of Frunze became the capital of the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic during the final stages of the national delimitation in the Soviet Union.

In 1991, the Kyrgyz parliament changed the capital's name to Bishkek (without quorum though[citation needed]).

Bishkek is situated at about 800 metres (2,600 ft) altitude just off the northern fringe of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too range, an extension of the Tian Shan mountain range, which rises up to 4,855 metres (15,928 ft) and provides a spectacular backdrop to the city. North of the city, a fertile and gently undulating steppe extends far north into neighbouring Kazakhstan. The Chui River drains most of the area. Bishkek is connected to the Turkestan-Siberia Railway by a spur line.

Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks surrounding interior courtyards and, especially outside the city centre, thousands of smaller privately built houses. It is laid out on a grid pattern, with most streets flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels that water the innumerable trees which provide shade in the hot summers.

Climate

Bishkek has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dsa) averaging 322 clear days annually due to its mountainous location. Average precipitation is around 440 millimetres (17 in) per year. Average daily high temperatures range from 3 °C (37.4 °F) in January to about 31 °C (87.8 °F) during July. The summer months are dominated by dry periods experiencing the occasional thunderstorm which produces strong gusty winds and rare dust storms. The mountains to the south provide a natural boundary to provide protection from much of the damaging weather along with the smaller chain which runs NW to SE. In the winter months, sparse snow storms and frequent heavy fog are the dominating features. When an inversion sets up, the fog can last for days at a time.

Transportation

Mass public transport
There is public transportation available, including buses, electric trolley buses, and public vans (known in Russian as marshrutka). The first bus and trolley bus services in Bishkek were introduced in 1934 and 1951 correspondingly.
Taxi cabs can be found throughout the city.
There is no subway in Bishkek, but the city is considering designing and building a light rail system (Бишкекское лёгкое метро).
Commuter and long-distance buses
There are two main bus stations in Bishkek. The smaller old Eastern Bus Station is primarily the terminal for minibuses to various destinations within or just beyond the eastern suburbs, such as Kant, Tokmok, Kemin, Issyk Ata, or the Korday border crossing.
Long-distance regular bus and minibus services to all parts of the country, as well as to Almaty (the largest city in neighboring Kazakhstan) and Kashgar, China, run mostly from the newer grand Western Bus Station; only a smaller minority of them runs from the Eastern Station.
The Dordoy Bazaar on the north-eastern outskirts of the city also contains makeshift terminals for frequent minibuses to suburban towns in all directions (from Sokuluk in the west to Tokmak in the east) and to some buses taking traders to Kazakhstan and Siberia.
Rail
As of 2007, the Bishkek railway station sees only a few trains a day. It offers a popular three-day train service from Bishkek to Moscow.
There are also long-distance trains that leave for Siberia (Novosibirsk and Novokuznetsk), via Almaty, over the Turksib route, and to Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) in the Urals, via Astana. These services are remarkably slow (over 48 hours to Yekaterinburg), due to long stops at the border and the indirect route (the trains first have to go west for more than a 100 kilometres (62 mi) before they enter the main Turksib line and can continue to the east or north). For example, as of the fall of 2008, train No. 305 Bishkek-Yekaterinburg was scheduled to take 11 hours to reach the Shu junction—a distance of some 269 kilometres (167 mi) by rail, and less than half of that by road.
Air
The city is served by Manas International Airport (IATA code FRU), located approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of the city centre, and readily reachable by taxi.
In 2002, the United States obtained the right to use Manas International Airport as an air base for its military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Russia subsequently (2003) established an air base of its own (Kant Air Base) near Kant some 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Bishkek. It is based at a facility that used to be home to a major Soviet military pilot training school; one of its students, Hosni Mubarak, later became president of Egypt.Экономика

Economy

Bishkek uses the Kyrgyzstan currency, the som. The Som's value fluctuates regularly, but averages around 47 som per U.S. Dollar as of March 2011. The economy in Bishkek is primarily agricultural with the mass amounts of fruits, vegetables and livestock providing a co-existing system of bartering in the outlying regions. The streets of Bishkek are regularly lined with produce vendors in a market style venue. In the major portions of downtown there is a more urban cityscape with banks, stores, markets and malls. The most sought after of the goods are the prevalent hand-crafted artisan pieces; these include statues, carvings, paintings and many nature based sculptures.

Orientation

Though the city is relatively young, the surrounding area has some sites of interest dating from prehistory, the Greco-Buddhist period, the period of Nestorian influence, the era of the Central Asian khanates, and the Soviet period.
Russian Orthodox cathedral of Holy Resurrection.
National Historical Museum
The central part of the city is primarily built on a rectangular grid plan. The city's main street is the east–west Chui Avenue (Chuy Prospekti), named after the region's main river. In the Soviet era, it was called Lenin Avenue. Along, or within a block or two from it, many of the most important government buildings, universities, the Academy of Sciences compound, and so on, are to be found. The westernmost section of the avenue is known as Deng Xiaoping Avenue.
The main north–south axis is Yusup Abdrakhmanov Street, still commonly referred to by its old name, Sovietskaya Street. Its northern and southern sections are called, respectively, Yelebesov and Baityk Batyr Streets. Several major shopping centres are located along it, and in the north it provides access to Dordoy Bazaar.
Erkindik ("Freedom") Boulevard runs from north to south, from the main railroad station (Bishkek II) south of Chui Avenue to the museum quarter and sculpture park just north of Chui Avenue, and further north toward the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the past, it was called Dzerzhinsky Boulevard—named after a Communist revolutionary, Felix Dzerzhinsky—and its northern continuation is still called Dzerzhinsky Street.
An important east–west street is Jibek Jolu ('Silk Road'). It runs parallel to Chui Avenue about a mile north of it, and is part of the main east–west road of Chui Province. Both the Eastern and Western bus terminals are located along Jibek Jolu.
There is a Roman Catholic church located at ul. Vasiljeva 197 (near Rynok Bayat). This is the only Catholic Cathedral in Kyrgyzstan.

Sports

Bishkek is home to Spartak, the biggest football stadium in Kyrgyzstan and the only one eligible to host international matches. Several Bishkek-based football teams play on this pitch, including six-time Kyrgyzstan League champions, Dordoi-Dynamo.
The city is home to the Bandy Federation of Kyrgyzstan which is a member of the IOC recognized Federation of International Bandy.
Alex Kantrowitz (Russian man), originally from Bishkek, is a noted Olympic swimmer for the Czech Republic.
Bishkek host the 2014 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia – Division I.

City centre

  • State Historical Museum, located in Ala-Too Square, the main city square.
  • State Museum of Applied Arts, containing examples of Kyrgyz traditional handicrafts.
  • Frunze House Museum.
  • Statue of Ivan Panfilov stands in the park near the White House.
  • An equestrian statue of Mikhail Frunze still stands in a large park (Boulevard Erkindik) across from the train station.
  • The train station itself was built in 1946 by German prisoners of war and has survived since then without further renovation or repairs; most of those who built it perished and were buried in unmarked pits near the station.
  • The main government building, the White House, is a huge, seven story marble block and the former headquarters of the Communist Party of the Kirghiz SSR
  • At Ala-Too Square, there is an Independence monument where the changing of the guards may be watched.
  • Osh bazaar, west of the downtown area, is a large, picturesque produce market.