Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: Back in the USSR
Johan Smits wanders through Bishkek where he encounters Bolshevik statues, a free election campaign and crafted ales. Before I set off to visit Kyrgyzstan’s quirky capital Bishkek, a former resident…
With a 2000-year-old recorded history and located along the ancient Silk Road, proud Kyrgyzstan is slowly opening up to the adventurous traveller keen to discover its unspoilt culture and natural beauty.
From traversing wide rolling jailoos or summer pastures on horseback and staying in yurts to hiking in the Tian Shan mountains and swimming in the high altitude Issyk Kul lake, this isolated Central Asian country is a paradise for outdoors enthusiasts.
Littered with former Soviet icons, the country’s largest city Bishkek is the pleasant, quiet and quirky capital from where to start your travels into the hinterland.
The country’s dominant ethnic group, the Kyrgyz, are a Turkic people, while other sizeable groups include Russians and Uzbeks. There are over 80 ethnic minorities. Nowruz or Persian New Year in March is just one of many other opportunities to experience the rich Persian cultural heritage of some of Kyrgyzstan’s many communities.
Visa-free travel for 62 nations, including most of the EU, the US, Australia and New Zealand make this country a popular gateway for travellers visiting Central Asia. So, now is a great time to visit.