From Academic Kids

Missing image
Bishkek cityscape
Missing image
Bishkek landscape towards the south

Bishkek (population in 2005 approx. 900,000), founded in 1878 and from 1926-1991 known as Frunze, after the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze, is the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan). In Kyrgyz, a Bishkek is a churn used to make fermented mare's milk (kumis), the Kyrgyz national drink.

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 center, thousands of smaller, often privately built houses. It is laid out on a checkerboard pattern, with most streets flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels that water the innumerable trees providing shade in the hot summers and a generally beautifying effect to the city's otherwise rather drab appearance.

Bishkek, at Template:Coor dm, is situated at about 800 m altitude just off the northern fringe of the Ala-Too range, an extension of the Tien Shan, which rises up to 4,800 m and provides a spectacular backdrop to the city. North of the city, a fertile and gently undulating steppe extends far north into neighboring Kazakhstan. The Chui river drains most of the area.

Coat of arms of Bishkek
Coat of arms of Bishkek


Originally a caravan rest stop 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. In 1862, the fort was conquered and razed when Tzarist Russia occupied and 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 soil farms to develop. In 1926, the city became the capital of the newly established Kirghiz ASSR and was renamed Frunze after Mikhail Frunze, Lenin's close associate who was born in Bishkek and played key roles during 1905 and 1917 revolutions and during the Russian civil war of the early 1920s.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan achieved independence in 1991, and the city was renamed Bishkek. Today, it is a vibrant, rapidly modernizing city, with many restaurants and cafes and lots of second-hand European and Japanese cars crowding its streets. 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. Bishkek was also home to a major Soviet military pilot training school; one of its students, Hosni Mubarak, later became president of Egypt.

In 2002, the United States obtained the right to use the nearby Manas International Airport as an air base for its military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, naming its base Ganci Airbase. Russia subsequently established an airbase of its own in nearby Kant.


  • The Ala-Too range, only 40 km away, provides a spectacular backdrop to the city, and Ala Archa National Park is a sight worth visiting.
  • Several statues of Vladimir Lenin remain, the largest being opposite the parliament building in a leafy park -- having been moved there in 2003 from its original more conspicuous location on the main square of the city.
  • An equestrian statue of Mikhail Frunze still stands in a large park across from the train 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.da:Bisjkek

de:Bischkek et:Biškek es:Bishkek fa:بیشکک fr:Bichkek id:Bishkek he:בישקק ja:ビシュケク ky:Бишкек pl:Biszkek pt:Bishkek ru:Бишкек fi:Biškek nl:Bisjkek sv:Bisjkek tr:Bişkek zh:比什凯克


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