Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

by Marieke May. 21, 2017 960 views

This past week I have been on holiday in Kyrgyzstan. I took a public marshrutka, or shared taxi, from Almaty to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. It took about three hours and everything went quickly and smoothly at the border. Very different from some horror stories I read online! In Bishkek, I spent one day at the swimming pool (it was over 30 degrees...) and the other day exploring the city. Bishkek is very green, but other than parks and statues there is not that much too see.

One of the sights is the city's museum, which was unfortunately closed for construction. In front of the museum is a statue of Manas, Kyrgystan's national hero who united all the different tribes. In Soviet times, there used to be a statue of Lenin in that spot, but they moved him to a place behind the museum.

I walked through some of the parks, where the flowers had just started to blossom. Notice the traditional hat that the man working in the park is wearing! In this park I also visited the statue of Kurmanjan Datka, who was a stateswoman and military leader in Kyrgyzstan in the 19th century. 

I passed some shops that were selling typical Kyrgyzstani paintings, portraying the mountains and yurts, as well as the endangered snow leopard that lives here.

In the photo below is Kyrgyzstan's "white house": the presidential office.

Walking through the city I also passed this black and white monument which was erected in memory of those who died in the two Kyrgyz revolutions in 2004 and 2010. The 2010 revolution resulted in serious ethnic violence between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, of whom there are many in (south) Kyrgyzstan. The revolution took the lives of up to 2,000 people and resulted in the overthrowing of the government.

Although I saw many more monuments on the way, one of the most interesting was the WWII monument in Victory Park. Every former Soviet city or village, no matter how small, seems to have a monument of the soviets' victory over the Nazis. On the 9th of May, all countries in the former USSR celebrate "Victory Day", where they host impressive parades to show gratitude and pride for their family members who served in the war. I attended the parade in Almaty, which was great to experience.

Back to the monument in Bishkek: it is built in the shape of the national yurt and has a flame that never goes out. It is tradition that wedding parties visit this monument.

Lastly, I visited the Osh Bazar, a huge market where the locals get all their fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat, etc, as well as clothing. A very buzzing and colourful place and my favourite spot in Bishkek! I took some photos with my phone.

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