Bishkek: three days in the city of contrasts

We arrived late in Bishkek [you can see the photo report here]. Or maybe it was too early. A few minutes after 4 am, to be precise. Having it in mind, we asked our hostel to provide us a taxi to drives us safely home.

We had a taxi waiting for us but, by contrast, there was no hostel at all. We arrived in a dirty old house, empty of travellers with one weird guy waiting for us.

In less than 2 hours, me and A. finally found a new place to stay. It wasn´t easy at all. Although Bishkek has some hostels, we didn´t have internet connection, so we stopped in the first hotel we found. As you can imagine, Bishkek is not the most touristic travel destination. And so it reflects in the hospitality industry.

However, kyrgyz capital is one of the most interesting places to visit. In a tagline, Bishkek can be described as the ‘town of contrasts’. In fact, despite our travel experience, me and A. were surprised by the diversity of the city.

In our first impression, we felt like travel back in time, to the sovietic period. Bishkek, with its long avenues and huge parks, is a city stopped in time. It looks like a glorious and glamorous forgotten city, full of old classical sovietic buildings, many of them abandoned.

Because Kyrgyzstan is an ex-sovietic republic, we were expecting many orthodox churches. We could not be so wrong! In fact, more than 85% of the population is muslim and we have found many mosques. One of the most impressive and rich is the Central mosque, in Moskovksaya street.

By looking to the northeast side of the city, tall minarets can be distinguished in the skyline. These are part of the new central mosque, still under construction and, according to local authorities, expected to reach completion in the next year.

However Bishkek´s highlight is, definitely, Osh Bazaar [you can see photo report here]. Located in Chuy Avenue, very close to the western bus station, Osh Bazaar is one of the biggest markets we have ever been.

In there we could confirm the local diversity. Why? Because you can find all you can imagine: sovietic uniforms and kyrgyz hats; books in cyrillyc and newspapers in chinese; vegetables and fruits; flowers and live animals; hundreds of dumplings and hundreds of vodkas.

Osh Bazaar is the must-see place to go if you visit Bishkek. Actually, if you´re planning to travel to kyrgyz capital, it´s the perfect starting point to discover the local heterogeneity. Me and A. decided to do it if we ever return to Kyrgyzstan. Maybe in the day that anything new have the power to surprise us.

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9 responses to “Bishkek: three days in the city of contrasts

    • well, I read in the internet and people told us there to be aware of fake police that could ask for the passport but we didn´t have any problem

  1. This part of the world was part of the ancient silk road trading route. And it was also a transmission point for ideas and religion too…Someday we will do a silk road journey through Uzebek, Krygz and Kazakhstan. There is so much to see!

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