Bishkek is the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan. The city also its cultural, scientific, political and economic center. The population of Bishkek is more than 1 million people, which makes it the largest city in the republic in terms of population. During your trip in Kyrgyzstan, you will not be able to bypass Bishkek, since the country’s largest airport is also located here.
In this blog, you will find out what interesting things to do and see in the heart of Kyrgyzstan. The great advantage of Bishkek is that you can explore the city by foot. Interesting shopping centers, beautiful parks, a large selection of restaurants and cafes, the ability to get to the mountains in half an hour – Bishkek can offer you a lot of options for rest and entertainment.
Ala-Too Square – the heart of Bishkek
Perhaps the most popular attraction in Bishkek is Ala-Too Square. Located in the center of the capital, it is a favorite place for visitors, it is here that important events, festivals, demonstrations and open-air concerts are held. Therefore, if during your tour in Kyrgyzstan you witness an event on the square, do not be surprised.
On the Ala-Too Square, there is a 17-meter-high Manas Statue. This monument to the Kyrgyz hero Manas was opened in 2011 in honor of the 20th anniversary of Kyrgyzstan’s independence. Previously, there was a statue of Erkindik, and before it a monument to Lenin, which was transferred to the Old Square.
The State Historical Museum, one of the largest museums in Central Asia, is located on Ala-Too Square. The total number of exhibits is about 90 thousand, of which 40 thousand are constantly on display. Many collections are part of the World Cultural Heritage. The museum displays exhibits of archaeological and ethnographic collections.
Behind the museum is the oldest park in Bishkek – Oak Park, founded in 1890. This is one of the favorite places of the townspeople. The park houses an open-air sculpture museum and several important monuments and buildings. Although in 2010 the park was renamed in honor of the great Kyrgyz writer Chyngyz Aitmatov, the townspeople and guests of the capital still call it Oak Park.
Not far from the square is the White House, the building of the presidential administration. The building has seven floors; the outside is tiled with marble. This beautiful building was built in 1985 in the Stalinist Art Nouveau style.
Osh bazaar – a real adventure
A visit of Osh Bazaar is truly an adventure. This is one of the largest markets in Bishkek, located in the western part of the city. Here you can find literally everything, whatever your heart desires: food, clothing, felt products, souvenirs and much more at very affordable prices. Here you will plunge into a real oriental atmosphere, learn to bargain and definitely will not leave the bazaar empty-handed.
When traveling in Kyrgyzstan, be sure to plan a visit to the local bazaar. In addition to the Osh bazaar, you can also visit the markets of Alamedin, Ortosay, Batken and others. You will definitely not remain indifferent.
Dordoi Market – the largest in Central Asia
Dordoi, located about an hour’s drive from Bishkek, is the largest clothing market in Central Asia. Operating since 1991, the Dordoi market has an area of about 100 hectares and a turnover of $ 4 billion per year. Open every day except January 1st. Here everyone will find something to their liking, because the market provides the widest range of goods for which people come from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan and other countries of the near and far abroad.
During your vacation in Kyrgyzstan, if you want to buy clothes at affordable prices, then the Dordoi market will be a good choice.
Ala-Archa – National Park near Bishkek
Ala-Archa Natural Park is located about 40 km south of Bishkek. The close location from the capital makes Ala-Archa a favorite place for townspeople, it is especially crowded here on weekends and on hot summer days.
Ala-Archa is located on the northern slope of the Kyrgyz ridge at an altitude of 1600–4860 m. Incredible pristine nature, accessibility, variety of flora and fauna, dozens of hiking routes for easy walks, trekking and climbing to the peaks – attracts thousands of tourists as well. The reserve has a climbers’ camp located at an altitude of 2000 meters. Many tourists come to Ala-Archa for acclimatization before a multi-day trekking tour in Kyrgyzstan.
Chunkurchak ski base
If you are planning a trip to Kyrgyzstan in winter, then the Chunkurchak ski base will be an excellent vacation spot for you. This ski complex is located 30 kilometers from Bishkek, in the Chunkurchak gorge. For both beginners and confident skiers, there are a variety of trails for skiing.
In addition to Chunkurchak, there are other ski resorts located near Bishkek, for example, the Kashka-Suu, Oruu-Sai, ZiL, Toguz-Bulak, Aktash, Tatyr, Chon-Tash and others.