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Bishkek has an approximate population of around 1,053,915 people and you can typically expect to pay around £1.01p for an equivalent pint of lager or beer.
Bishkek is basically the largest city and the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The city lies in the north of the Kyrgyz Republic, within the Chui valley, in close proximity to the border with Kazakhstan, approximately 25 kilometers from the international airport in Bishkek and 40 kilometers from the northernmost point of China. The ancient Buddhist monasteries built here in numerous locations form a unique cultural and historic heritage of this historically and culturally rich country of Central Asia. Besides its importance as the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek plays a pivotal role in promoting a large number of tourist destination within the region. Numerous foreign and domestic tourists visit this historical city every year.
Bishkek, which means "The Great City" in Czech, is very popular for its rich history and beautiful scenery. It was founded by the Khans as their capital city and served as the first royal fortress in Asia. A major part of Khayyam traditions are still alive in bishkek with many temples and mosques dedicated to ala-archs and saintly figures. The largest city of Bishkek, which is known as Old Town, hosts several prominent architectural structures including the Blue Mosque and The Great Mosque.
In addition to its major cultural and historic importance, the cosmopolitan Bishkek offers many attractions to both local and foreign tourists. Its welcoming, relaxed atmosphere and diverse landscape, from the snowy peaks of the Pamir Mountains to the clear waters of Issyk-Kul River, make it an interesting place to settle in. Tourists can visit the village of Bishkek in autumn, when small boats bring tourists to the world's largest open-air market - the Tulip Festival.
Up to date information for vaccinations before you travel to Kyrgyzstan are available from the NHS Fit for Travel website.
For up to date information around safety and security in Kyrgyzstan read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office latest information for Kyrgyzstan.
The most suitable time to visit northern Kyrgyzstan is from June to September; March to October is perfect for Southern Kyrgyzstan.
During the summer, the country is a hub of culture and festivals, from the South Shore Festival to the Oimo Festival, held in Bishkek. A celebration of traditional crafts and art, the South Shore Festival showcases Kyrgyz customs and traditions, from yurt construction to archery. The region's festivals have grown in popularity over the years and continue to enhance their accessibility for international visitors.
Navruz, an ancient festival, is one of the most popular and well-attended festivals in Kyrgyzstan. The celebration includes traditional games and horse races, as well as street art and colourful fairs. Other important celebrations include Victory Day (May 9) and the Day of Knowledge (Sept. 1), which marks the start of school for all age groups. For more information on the festivals, visit the official website of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The Kyrgyz people believe that the spirits of the dead can guide their descendants. As such, when they hold ceremonies, they offer food to their ancestors. They also pour water on their graves when they visit them. During this time, it is forbidden to step on graves, and many cemeteries are located on high places. The celebrations of these festivals bring many tourists to the region.
A traditional Kyrgyz celebration is the Navruz holiday, which lasts for four days and includes horse races, colourful fairs, and a lot of dancing. The country celebrates the victory of the Soviet Union in the Second World War, and there are parades and military displays on this day. The first day of school for all age groups occurs on September 1. If you have never been to Kyrgyzstan, this is a great time to visit.
In addition to festivals in the capital city, the country also hosts numerous festivals in the countryside. A yearly pilgrimage takes place at the site of the ancient sacred sites of the Kyrgyz culture. In October, the town of Arslanbab hosts a Walnut Marathon. Another traditional celebration is the Shyrdak festival, which takes place on the last weekend of June. There are many festivals in the countryside and in the capital city.
The Kyrgyz culture is centered on the family. Whether it is celebrating the birth of a child or a wedding, the family remains the centre of attention. In the country, traditions are celebrated around birth and death. During the Navruz festival, the yurts are decorated with colourful flags, and traditional games are played. There are also many festivals for children and adults.
The summer tourism festival is an important celebration for the country. There are various activities and events for tourists, including horse racing, horseback riding, and horse-riding competitions. During the winter, the Kyrgyz celebrate their own national traditions and festivals. The summer season is especially festive, with numerous yurts being raised. There are many events to celebrate the country's rich heritage.
The official currency of Kyrgyzstan is the Kyrgyzstani Som (KGS). If you're looking to transfer or spend money in Kyrgyzstan you can grab amazing Kyrgyzstani Som deals via Wise.com (GBP to KGS).
Wild boars, brown bears, Siberian Ibex, wolves, foxes, porcupines, Turkestan Lynx, Tien Shan Elk, Golden Eagle, and over 150 other bird species to name a few.
Russian food? Beshbarmak is the Kyrgyz national dish, although it is also common in Uzbekistan and in Xinjiang (where it is called narin). It consists of horse meat (or mutton/beef) boiled in its own broth for several hours and served over homemade noodles sprinkled with parsley.
Kyrgyzstan is one of three former Soviet republics in Central Asia to have Russian as an official language, Kazakhstan (de jure) and Uzbekistan (de facto) being the others. The Kyrgyz language was adopted as the official language in 1991. You can learn some basic Russian before you travel to Kyrgyzstan and really impress the locals!
The currency in Kyrgyzstan is the Kyrgyzstani Som (Most restaurants include a 10% – 15% service charge in the bill, even small hole-in-the-walls. Always make sure to look for it when the bill is presented. If there's no service charge, there's no real need to tip, although it's appreciated if you do.).
What is the time difference?
The GMT time difference is 6 hours