Kyrgyzstans capital Bishkek is a city of around 800,000
inhabitants an attractive and green city with wide avenues, cosmopolitan and
pleasant place to stay, set in the foot hills of Ala-Too mountains. In 1825
the Khan of Kokand established a clay fort here called Pishpek. Then following
the Russian Revolution, the town was renamed Frunze in 1926, after the Great
Russian outstanding statesman and military leader Mikhail Frunze, who helped
to keep Tsarist Central Asia in the hands of Bolsheviks. In 1991, obtained
independence from Soviet Union the city reverted to its original Kyrgyz form
of its old Kazakh name Bishkek. Pishpek or Bishkek is the butter churn for
mixing Kymys (national beverage made of fermented mares milk.)
Most attractions in the city are exSoviet monuments,
places to see include the city's main square called Ala Too with monument of
Freedom (formerly Lenin Square), the State History Museum and statue of Lenin
behind it, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Frunze House Museum - the famous
general's place of birth. Open-air sculpture museum, Russian Orthodox Church.
A must visit location is Osh Bazaar - an amazing large market offering everything
from fresh meat through cigarettes to local crafts and fake western clothes.
Remember that there is a usual risk in large busy place of pickpockets, beggars
and bag slashers.
Bishkek is a wide, gridded former Soviet city. The great Alatau
range is always to the south; Kazakhstan is to the north. The city is easy to
navigate, but keep in mind that tourist maps and people tend to regard the beacon
of the mountains as "up." Also, when asking directions, confirm "right"
and "left" with a motion of your hand because - strangely - they are
Orient yourself with the main boulevards of Chui, Manas, Sovietskaya
and Jybek Jolu. They are the most important roads in Bishkek. Not that most
street names have been changed following departure of the Soviet Union, and
some people still refer to Manas as Belinskaya and Erkindik as Derjinskaya.
Major landmarks include the central square (Alatau Square), TsUM,
Osh bazaar, Philharmonia and "Mossovet" (the intersection of Moscovskaya
Aliases: Pishpek, Frunze, Bischkek, city, capital.
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