Bishkek (in Kyrgyz and Russian: Бишкек), formerly
Pishpek and Frunze, is the
capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.Bishkek is also the administrative centre of
surrounds the city, even though the city itself is not part of the
province but rather a province-level unit of
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. Founded in 1825 as the Kyrgyz-Khokand fortress of
""Bishkek", then, in 1862, named as the Russian fortress
(крепость Пишпек), between 1926 and 1991 it was
known as Frunze
(Фрунзе), after the Bolshevik
military leader Mikhail Frunze
. The historic name of the city
was restored by the Kyrgyz parliament in 1991.
at , is situated at about altitude just off the northern fringe of
the Kyrgyz Ala-Too range, an extension of
Shan mountain range, which rises up to and provides a
spectacular backdrop to the city. North of the city, a
fertile and gently undulating steppe extends far north into
The Chui River
drains most of the area. Bishkek is connected to the Turkestan-Siberia Railway by a spur.
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.
a caravan rest stop (possibly founded by the Sogdians) on one of the branches of the Silk Road through the Tien Shan range, the location was fortified in 1825 by the
Uzbek khan of
Kokhand with a mud fort.
The Kyrgyz legend says that the place was a burial site of the hero
Bishkek, the local Kyrgyz war lord who fought for the Kyrgyz
independence in the 18th century.
the fort was conquered and razed when Tsarist Russia annexed the area.
The site became a Russian
garrison and was redeveloped and named "Pishpek" from 1877 onward
by the Russian government, which encouraged the settlement of
Russian peasants by giving them fertile black
farms to develop. In 1926, the city became the capital of
the newly established Kirghiz ASSR
and was renamed "Frunze" after Mikhail
who was born in Bishkek and played key roles during the 1905
and 1917 revolutions
and during the
Russian civil war
of the early
The early 1990s were tumultuous. In June 1990, a state of emergency
was declared following severe riots in southern Kyrgyzstan which
threatened to spread to the capital. The city was renamed Bishkek
on 5 February 1991 and Kyrgyzstan achieved independence later that
year during the breakup of the Soviet
. Before independence, Bishkek was a "Russified" city, the
majority of its population being ethnic Russians
. In 2004, Russians made up
approximately 20% of the city's population.
Today, Bishkek is a rapidly modernizing city, with many restaurants
and cafes and lots of second-hand European and Japanese cars and
minibuses crowding its streets. At the same time Bishkek still
preserves its former Soviet feel, with Soviet-period buildings and
gardens prevailing over newer structures.
Bishkek is also the country's financial centre, with all of the
country's 21 commercial banks featuring offices in the city. During
the Soviet era, the city was home to a large number of industrial
plants, but most have been shut down or operate today on a much
reduced scale. One of today's Bishkek's largest employment
centres is Dordoy
Bazaar, which is one the major entrepôts for Chinese goods imported into
States obtained the right to use the nearby Manas
International Airport as an air base for its military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
(2003) established an air base of its own (Kant Air
Base) near Kant some 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
Bishkek has a continental, semi-arid
climate averaging 322 clear days annually due to its mountainous
location. Average precipitation is per year. Average daily
temperatures range from in January to about 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
Bishkek uses the Kyrgystan currency, the som
. The som's value fluctuates regularly,
but averages around 43 som per U.S. Dollar as of September 2009.
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 a regular city scape which
provide home to 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
The Bishkek White House, seat of the
Kyrgyzstan government, president and parliament.
Local government is administered by the Bishkek Mayor's Office.
until his resignation in August 2005, following which his deputy
took over the
mayorship. Nogoev was in turn removed from his position in October
2007 through a decree of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
and replaced by
businessman and former first deputy prime minister Daniar Usenov
. In July 2008 former head of the
Kyrgyz Railways Nariman Tuleyev
The city is home to the Bandy
Kyrgyzstan which is a member of the IOC recognized Federation of
International Bandy. It plans to send a team to the Asian Winter Games
Sights and attractions
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
, and the Soviet period.
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
), named after the region's main river
. In the Soviet era, it was called
Avenue. Along, or within a block or two
from it, many of the most important government buildings,
universities, the Academy of Sciences compound, etc., are to be
found. The westernmost section of the avenue is known as Deng Xiaoping
The main north-south axis is Yusup
Street, is still (2007) 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 north-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 Communist
revolutionary, Felix Dzerzhinsky
northern continuation is still called Dzerzhinksy 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.
- State Historical Museum, located in Ala-Too Square, the main city square
- State Museum of Applied Arts, containing examples of Kyrgyz
- Frunze House Museum
- Statue of Ivan Panfilov stands in
the park near the White
- 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.
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
Bazaar, just inside the bypass highway on the
north-eastern edge of the city, is a major retail and wholesale
Outside the city
- The Ala-Too mountain range, some away, provides a spectacular
backdrop to the city; the Ala
Archa National Park is only a 30-45 minute drive away.
Educational institutions in Bishkek include:
A typical Bishkek passenger van passes
by the East Bus Terminal
The electronic board in the main hall
of Bishkek-2, the main train station, shows Bishkek and Moscow
A diesel loco on an overpass (over the
former Sovietskaya St.) just east of Bishkek-2, Bishkek's main
Mass public transport
There is public transportation available, including buses, electric
, and public vans (known in
Russian as marshrutka
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
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
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
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
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
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 before they
enter the main Turksib
line and can continue
to the east or north). E.g., as of the fall of 2008, train No.
Bishkek-Yekaterinburg was scheduled to take 11 hours to reach the
distance of some by rail, and less than half of that by
is served by Manas International Airport (IATA code FRU),
located approximately northwest of the city centre, and readily
reachable by taxi.
of Bishkek include:
- 282 Гвардейский Краснознаменный мотострелковый полк имени М. В.
Фрунзе в/ч 73809 п/о Подгорное Кой-Таш 
- Residential Real Estate Market in Bishkek,
Kyrgyzstan: Current Conditions and Prospects
University Of Kyrgyzstan
- Arabaev Kyrgyz State University
- Kyrgyz Russian
- Schedule for train No. 305,