Bishkek is the largest city and the capital of Kyrgyzstan. It is situated in the Chui valley in the north of the country between the Talas valley and the Issyk-Kul region. The population of the city is about one million people. Bishkek has been the capital of Kyrgyzstan since 1991. It had different names throughout its history. Before 1991 it was named Frunze after the famous Russian General Mikhail Frunze who was born in the city. Before 1926 it was known as Pishpek, which is the name of the wooden paddle with which the Kyrgyz make their kymyz (kumiss)-the national drink.
Nowadays the biggest street in the city is called Jibek Jolu, literally meaning the Silk Road reminding that the city once was also part of the Great Silk Road. However, the city is relatively new also with the sights and buildings kept from the Soviet period. So touring in Bishkek will reveal the nomad, Soviet and modern influences of the city. You can have a walk around the green parks of the city, shop in the local bazaars and learn more about the Kyrgyz culture through statues, museums and cultural centres.
There is a legend about Bishkek, who was a hero born and raised in this region. He was brave and fair, he protected his people, making the region secure and suitable for traders and travellers. But there is another very popular national hero in Kyrgyzstan, whose statue stands in the city centre. The name of the hero is Manas from the national epic of Manas. His statue, the White House (the seat of the Kyrgyz government), the iconic arched buildings and the National Museum are in the Ala-Too Square. It is one of the most-visited places in Bishkek, as eventually, all roads lead to Ala-Too.
To get a better insight into Kyrgyz culture you can check out performances in the Opera and Ballet theatre, the Kyrgyz and Russian Drama Theatres, the State Philharmonic, etc. You can learn more from the museums of the city, such as the Historical Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, the Frunze House Museum.
The city is said to be the greenest in Central Asia, so there are plenty of cosy green parks around the city. They are really busy, especially in the summertime. The city continuously grows and develops. New buildings, new architectural style, a lot of open-air cafes, shops appear in the streets and parks turning into more modern, western-style city.