Бишкек (Bishkek) in Kyrgyzstan, a destination to consider

This easter holidays I stayed in Kyrgyzstan. If you plan a trip to Kyrgyzstan, you´ll be confronted with a couple of questions.

Find Kyrgyzstan (as my world is Berlin-centered, I added the city as a reference):

Question 1: “So where do you plan to go next?”

Me: “Kyrgyzstan”

Questioner: “Bless you.” (“Kyrg-what?” and “Of course. But now seriously.” to name two alternative reactions.)

Kyrgyzstan is a country in Central Asia. It is surrounded by Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The capital of Kyrgyzstan and my first destination is/was Bishkek. It is rather easy to get there from Berlin. You can either take a flight via Moscow or Istanbul. From Istanbul it takes roughly 5 hours.

 A little closer look:

Question 2: “And why are you going there?”

This is the short version of my answer. Because I wanted to see my friend Kathi. I know Kathi for quite a while. We went to school together and spent some time studying in the same city, Göttingen. Because of her field of studies and her job, she gets to see different places around the world, with a strong tendency to move towards the east. (Not quite true. She was in Paris recently. I just decided to not count that for this purpose.)

Question 3: “Isn´t it freakin´ cold in Kyrgyzstan?”

That depends of course on the time of the year you´re traveling. During easter holidays the probability for snow is still quite high. The week before my trip temperatures were mild and spring-like, but then dropped to -10 °C just the night before my arrival. The temperature drop was accompanied by some fresh snow.

Not really comfortable conditions to leave the house, but Kathi had to twice this day, to pick me up from the airport and then to pick up another friend, Janine.

View from the kitchen window:

Kathis room after Janine and me moved in:

Ehmm…:
This is stairway arts. Because just mint would be too mainstream.

Question 4: “What to do in Bischkek?”

A) Sightseeing of course! To see the multitude of buildings from Soviet times, for example. Ala-Too square, the biggest square in Bishkek that was built in 1984 for the 60th anniversary of the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic. The white house that was one of the sites of the riots in 2005 and 2010. And the victory monument with an eternal flame, built for the 40th anniversary of the victory in World War II.

How to stay warm at -10 °C (Ala-Too Square):

Me at Ala-Too:

The government flag stock and Aykol Manas in the background:

White house (presidential office building):

Victory Square:

B) Coffee. For example in one of Kathis favorite coffee shops/meeting point of the Kyrgyz expat community.

Sierra coffee:

Studying my travel guide:

C) A little different sightseeing. You can find a lot of interesting mosaics in Bishkek and we were walking around to see some of them. The circus is kind of interesting as well, it really looks like a UFO.

Mosaic 1:

Mosaic 2:

Circus:

D) Experience history. If you visit Bishkek you definitely have to see the state history museum. Many things in the museum were kept as they were during Soviet times. The ceiling paintings were almost the most interesting thing in the building. But I also have to admit that it was rather hard for us to follow the exhibition because of some language barriers. Our timing (shortly before lunch break) allowed us to secretly take some pictures.

State history museum 1:

State history museum 2:

Ceiling painting:

I hope I could answer some questions 😉
The next post will be about traveling to the south of Kyrgysztan with Janine. Here a little sunset to say Goodbye!

Goodbye sun:

 

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