Culture & Travel18 November 2023
Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, boasts a rich cultural heritage and stands out as a visa-free destination worth exploring. As the largest city in Kyrgyzstan, it is nestled in a landlocked position in Central Asia, sharing borders with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. This gem of Kyrgyzstan, ready to be uncovered, exudes a European vibe with its marvelous city planning, adorned with numerous statues from the USSR.
With the Russian population making up about 30% of the locals, it's common to encounter Russian speakers during your visit. Now, what are the must-see spots in this captivating city for a visa-free adventure? Here are our recommendations for exploring Bishkek.
Ala Too Square
Undoubtedly, one of the city's focal points is Ala Too Square, a vibrant hub where a colorful crowd gathers almost every hour of the day. Formerly known as "Lenin Square" until 1991, this square plays a crucial role in the city's history and hosts Independence Day celebrations, various festivals, and concerts annually. If you're planning a trip to Bishkek, a visit to this magnificent square is a must.
Ala Archa National Park
For those who crave nature and hiking, Ala Archa National Park is a must-visit destination. Just 40 km south of the capital, locals often flock to this park on weekends for picnics. The park offers both easy and challenging hiking trails, providing an opportunity to breathe in the fresh air while surrounded by picturesque glacial canyons. Don't forget to snap a photo amidst the stunning scenery.
Dating back to the early 1800s and situated on the Silk Road, Burana Castle is a historical fortress with remnants of fortifications and tombs. Founded in the 9th century by the Qarakhanids in the city of Balasagun, the castle can be reached by a long staircase. Adjacent to the minaret is a museum showcasing the ruins of the old city. Make sure to explore the museum during your visit to the castle.
A historical landmark you shouldn't miss on your Bishkek journey is the Manas Statue. The Manas Epic, an integral part of Kyrgyz culture and renowned as the longest epic poem globally, unfolds the life of the warrior Manas, his son, and grandson. The grand statue at the center pays homage to this epic tale, and it's a sight you'll definitely want to behold.
Museum of Russian and Kyrgyz Art
This museum, which has preserved the rich history of Kyrgyzstan for nearly a century, is named after Gapar Aitiev. It is the central artistic museum of Kyrgyzstan. The name of the Kyrgyz National Art Museum was later changed to the Kyrgyz State Museum of Fine Arts. Since January 1, 1935, the museum has been accepting visitors, especially those who are curious about the history of the country should definitely visit the museum.
Another important square of Bishkek, Victory Square was established to honor the victory of the Great Patriotic War. Built in 1984, this square is one of the most famous monument squares of the country. There is the Victory Monument in the square, which attracts great attention of tourists. The statue depicting a Kyrgyz woman waiting for her husband to return from the war is located in the square. At the same time, three leaning columns made of red granite were built in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Second World War. Bishkek is a city that paid a high price for freedom from Nazi Germany. That's why this monument means a lot to the locals. You may want to see this famous square during your visit to Bishkek.
Located in the center of Bishkek, this park is one of the most crowded and popular parks in the city. Located right next to the famous Kyrgyz monument, there is something for all ages in this park. There are fun parks for young children, cycling and hiking trails for adults. One of the most important features of the park is that it is always cool. During the hottest days of the summer months, people especially prefer this park to cool off. Keep this park in mind where you can enjoy the greenery and have a pleasant time.
Ata Turk Park
You should definitely see this park dedicated to our great leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk while you are in Bishkek. The park was opened in 1998. The statue of Ataturk in the center of the park is a source of pride. There is also a walking path surrounded by trees, a waterway and small fountains in the park. There are also playgrounds in the park where children can have fun. You should definitely try to visit this park while visiting Bishkek.
Located in eastern Kyrgyzstan, Altyn Arashan, which means "Golden Springs", is a spectacular valley that stretches as far as the eye can see. You may want to take plenty of photos as this valley offers spectacular views. Although some of the hiking paths are challenging, when you see the view waiting for you at the end, you will see that it is worth it. On the way to the hot springs, you will be greeted by pine trees and pastures with large flowers. An adventurous and exotic journey will be waiting for you along the Arashan River. When you reach the summit of the trail, you will encounter a beautiful view covered with snow. You can enjoy this view, take lots of photos and collect memories.