“Stirrer for whipping koumiss” – this is how the name of the city of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, its modern and historical center, is translated. The Green City is what the Kyrgyz call it, not only because of the abundance of centuries-old oaks and poplars that shade the busy boulevards with a dense shadow, but also because of the young spirit and optimism of the Kyrgyz capital in the air. Founded in the 7th century, Bishkek today is an extremely young and bustling city: there are a lot of bars and discos, next to which traditional teahouses organically coexist, monuments of independence and sculptures of ancient Kyrgyz heroes do not interfere – on the contrary, they complement each other, but on the streets century-old elders in “kalpaks” and colorful dressing gowns and starlets with a minimum of clothes march interspersed. And koumiss, by the way, is much easier to find here than some foreign “mojito”. Check jibin123 for customs regulations and visa requirements of Kyrgyzstan.
How to get to Bishkek
It is easy to get from Moscow to Bishkek by regular flights of the national carrier Kyrgyzstan Airlines and Russian S7 and Aeroflot. The planes of Kyrgyzstan Airlines take to the air 4 times a week from Moscow Domodedovo. Aeroflot operates one flight daily and two on Wednesday and Friday from Sheremetyevo-F. Flight time is about 4 hours. On S7 wings, you can get to Bishkek only with an intermediate landing in Novosibirsk.
Bishkek’s Manas International Airport is located about 30 km from the city. You can get from there to the center of the Kyrgyz capital by taxi in half an hour.
The most convenient way to get around Bishkek is by taxi — they are very inexpensive and scurry around the streets of the capital in abundance. You can “catch” a car on the street or order at any time of the day by calling 150, 152, 154, 156, 166, 182 or 188. A trip within the city will cost 150-300 KGS during the day and from 250 KGS at night. In any case, it is better to clarify the cost in advance. You can also hire a car with a driver for the whole day – it will cost less than a similar service in rental offices. The prices on the page are for June 2022.
Since independence, many street names in Bishkek have changed, therefore, when going to any address, it is better to find out both the old and the new name, and even better, use a noticeable landmark.
Another option is democratic minibuses for 9-14 people, plying along all more or less busy streets. The rules for their use are identical to Russian ones: wave your hand at an approaching car, hand over the fare to the driver (15-20 KGS, indicated in the cabin) and loudly announce the drop-off point.
Public transport in Bishkek is represented by buses and trolleybuses. They work from 5:30-6:00 to 21:00-21:30. The fare is 11 KGS. Enter through the back door and exit through the front. The fare is paid at the exit of the conductor.
Shopping and shops
It is worth buying Kyrgyz souvenirs in the TsUM, familiar to us from the common Soviet past, the central department store of the Kyrgyz capital at 155 Chui Avenue. There is a large selection of local handicrafts at reasonable prices. Another popular shopping site in Bishkek is the bustling and colorful Osh Bazaar, where you can buy even the most outlandish goods. The Dordoi market sells a variety of household goods, clothes and shoes, and the Ak-Emir bazaar sells fresh products from local farmers: fruits and vegetables, koumiss and soft cheeses, horse sausage and much more.
High-quality handicrafts – “kalpaks”, felt carpets, items of national costume – are sold in the Kyrgyz Style store at 133 Bokonbaeva Street and the cozy Asahi boutique at 136 Chui Avenue. Fans of antiques will be pleased with the real Aladdin’s cave at 47 Manas Avenue – there are many Kyrgyz and Asian antiquities, as well as iconic things from the Soviet era. For “painting” you should look into the Asia Gallery, cute and original clay products can be found in the art gallery “Saimaluu-Tash”, and magnificent (and expensive) embroidery is presented in the art salon “Tumar”.
Cuisine and restaurants in Bishkek
In Bishkek, there are many establishments of Kyrgyz, Asian, Russian, Persian and other friendly cuisines. You can have a cheap snack in fast foods, they serve the Kyrgyz analogue of a hamburger: a sandwich with a flat cutlet and all sorts of vegetable and sauce stuff. Other “fast food” options are samsa, kebabs and a variety of kebabs. Of course, there is also a pizzeria-brasserie in the Kyrgyz capital (and where are they not?) – there you can taste international Italian pizza, pasta and other pasta, French crepes, etc. To thoroughly taste the dishes of the national “haute cuisine”, go in the cafe “Labyrinth” (tasty “beshbarmak” is served here), cafe “Mazai” (various hare dishes), cafe “Astana” (chicken shish kebab and live music on weekend evenings), teahouse “Jalalabad” and cafe “Faiza “.
You can refresh yourself while walking around the city with a carbonated drink “Shoro” based on wheat flour – it is sold by the glass from street stalls.
Entertainment and attractions
Modern sights of Bishkek: the central square of Ala-Too and the statue of Liberty “Erkindik” in the form of a Kyrgyz woman holding the upper elements of the “tyundyuk” yurt, the Parliament building, the State flagpole (changing of the guard every hour from 7:00 to 18:00), the sculptural complex ” Manas”, depicting the legendary Kyrgyz hero on a faithful horse, surrounded by his wife and adviser, and the Victory Monument.
Among the museums of the city, the Historical Museum is recommended for visiting – here you can see numerous ancient artifacts found during excavations: rock carvings of the settlement of Saimaluu-Tash, runic inscriptions of Talas, household items of the Bronze Age and decorations of nomadic tribes of the beginning of our era, ancient coins. Ethnographic collections deserve special attention: embroidery and national costumes, richly decorated horse harness, felt and woolen carpets, clay and straw products. At the Museum of Fine Arts, you can delve into the intricacies of the installation and internal layout of a traditional yurt, see the national carpets “shyrdaks” and other felt products, and also enjoy the paintings of Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Russian artists.
At the Museum of Fine Arts, you can delve into the intricacies of the installation and interior layout of a traditional yurt, as well as see the national carpets “shyrdaks”.
Popular parks in Bishkek: Oak Park and Panfilov Park, Kemal Ataturk Park, Erkindik Avenue, planted with oaks and silvery poplars, Young Guard Boulevard.
In the vicinity of the city, it is worth visiting the natural park “Baityk Valley” and climbing Mount Boz-Peldek, which offers a beautiful view of Bishkek. At the southern slope of the mountain there is a cemetery “Khan’s graves”, where the legendary ruler of the valley is buried. Pay attention to the forged tower with a magnificent dome. You can see rare plants in the Chon-Aryk botanical reserve, and improve your health at the peat mud deposit in the village of Kamyshanovka.