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Delightfully green and full of post-Soviet anachronisms, Bishkek (Бишкек) doesn’t get anywhere the appreciation it deserves as a cultural hub. Many travellers stick around just long enough to pick up visas for further travels in Central Asia, but dig into the culinary diversions, arts scene, or nightlife of Kyrgyzstan’s capital city and you may well be surprised by the vibrancy of this gateway to the Tien Shan.With numerous green spaces, parks and gardens alongside Soviet-era buildings and monuments, the city retains its former Soviet Asian flavor. The city is home to many monuments and cultural institutions, including the National Historical Museum and Ala Too Square, where the changing of the guard takes place daily. The Dordoy Bazaar provides ample shopping, especially for Chinese exports.
As can be expected in a country where the vast majority of attractions are rural and high altitude, the timing of your visit is crucial. Summer is ideal with hikes and roads generally accessible. Midsummer also sees Kazakh and Russian tourists converge on the beaches of never-freezing Lake Issyk-Köl. From October to May, much rural accommodation closes down and the yurts that add such character to the Alpine vistas are stashed away – think twice about a winter visit unless you’ve come to ski or snowboard.
One of the popular places of Bishkek travel is Oak Park, where frisky squirrels scurry on the ground and the dense crowns of trees give coolness. Along the park’s alleys there are many sculptures made of wood, stone and iron, and the whole park produces an impression of an open air sculptural museum.
On their travel in Bishkek travelers visit the main gallery of Erkindik Boulevard, which adjoins Oak Park, contains the works of local craftsmen and painters. Behind the gallery there is the main square of Kyrgyzstan – Ala-Too Square, which is decorated by fountains. Here is situated the Government House, which is made of white marble. There is a stage for mass dances and concerts on Ala-Too Square. Demonstrations, festivals and military parades are held here every year.
A great number of handicrafts and souvenirs made in such organizations as NGO Zengi-Baba, Shaarbek, Kyal, Shaarbek and Altyn-Beshikare sold at the city’s art shops. Fairs and exhibitions of handicrafts and souvenirs are regularly organized on the squires of the city and tourists during their Bishkek travel have an excellent possibility to get acquainted with Kyrgyz culture.
Bishkek is well-known for Manas Aiyly, the sculptural Kyrgyzstan complex with the figure of the legendary hero in the centre of the composition, and tourist complex “Kyrgyz Aiyly”. Kyrgyz Aiyly is an ethnic village, where national yurts can be found, reflecting the history and culture of Kyrgyz people. At Kyrgyz Aiyly travelers learn about the national traditions and applied arts of the local people, have a rest in yurts and try fresh kumis and the dishes of Kyrgyz cuisine.
One of the most impressive sights of Bishkek travel is the Eastern bazaar, where a variety of goods and fruits from all over the world is offered. Bishkek is the place where the supreme elected bodies of Kyrgyzstan, mosques and Orthodox cathedrals, foreign embassies and representations are situated. Many big international companies have their representative offices in the city.
In Bishkek there are a lot of historical monuments from the pre-Revolutionary and Soviet periods and modern architectural examples as well. Today Bishkek is a modern city with lovely buildings and wide streets. As any capital, Bishkek has theaters, museums, a university, a number of colleges, parks, and a comfortable residential area. During your travel over Bishkek you will see a great number of interesting places and learn about the culture and history of Kyrgyz people.
Once finished, it comes out as layers of dough that have been filled with finely cut chunks of meat, fat, and whatever else the cook feels like adding – carrots, onion, potato, or pumpkin. It’s steamed in a special multi-layered pot and is excellent when eaten with a side of ketchup.You’re more likely to see it served in Kyrgyz homes.
Besh Barmak is the most traditional Kyrgyz dish eaten by nomads. You take shaved lamb and dump it on top of a pile of steaming noodles and onions served with a broth/sauce.
The Ala Archa National Park is an alpine national park in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, established in 1976 and located approximately 40 km south of the capital city of Bishkek. The park, which includes the gorge of the Ala-Archa River and the mountains surrounding it, is a popular destination point for weekend picnickers, hikers, horse trekkers, skiers as well as mountain climbers looking for challenging ice, rock and mixed routes. The park is open year round, although the most popular season is late summer and early fall. Every May 1, the Alpinada festival sees hundreds of people camp out in the valley and climb Mount Komsomolets.
The Burana Tower is a large minaret in the Chuy Valley in northern Kyrgyzstan. It is located about 80 km east of the country’s capital Bishkek, near the town of Tokmok. The tower, along with grave markers, some earthworks and the remnants of a castle and three mausoleums, is all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun, which was established by the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. An external staircase and steep, winding stairway inside the tower enables visitors to climb to the top.The tower was originally 45 m (148 ft) high. However, over the centuries a number of earthquakes caused significant damage to the structure. The last major earthquake in the 15th century destroyed the top half of the tower, reducing it to its current height of 25 m (82 ft). In the early 1900s, Russian immigrants to the area used some of the bricks from the tower for new building projects. A renovation project was carried out in the 1970s to restore its foundation and repair the west-facing side of the tower, which was in danger of collapse.
Altyn Arashan (Golden Spa) is a valley and mountain resort near Karakol and Issyk Kul Lake, northeastern Kyrgyzstan. It lies along the trekking route from Teploklyuchenka (Ak-Suu). It is a hot spring development set in an alpine valley, containing the 5020 metre Pik Palatka in its southern part. It is said to “include three groups of nitric thermals springs on the right side of the Arashan River, 20 km southeast of Karakol mountain, situated in a picturesque forest landscape at an altitude of 2350-2435 metres.” The resort has numerous wooden sheds which contain hot sulfurous pools to cure various ailments. The resort is set in a botanical research area called the Arashan State Nature Reserve which has about 20 snow leopards and several bears.