Bishkek (Бишкек), the capital of Kyrgyzstan, is also the country's largest city with 900,000 inhabitants. It is located near the border with Kazakhstan. Although the city is relatively young (founded in 1878, it became the capital of the Sovjet Republic Kyrgyzstan in 1926) and has its origins in the Soviet period, it is one of the more pleasant urban destinations in the region.
Note: currently (mid 2010) the safety situation in Bishkek (and Kyrgyzstan in general) is not good and people are advised to avoid travelling to the country/city. If you must be here, at least avoid mass gatherings.
The August national holiday of Independence Day is marked with pride and celebration all over Kyrgyzstan. In the capital, parades and exhibitions take place, and folk events, concerts, and demonstrations form part of the revelry.
The Islamic month of Ramadan is the religion's most important event in Kyrgyzstan, taking place according to the Muslim calendar usually in August or September, with the devout fasting between sun-up and sundown. They hit the streets every evening to feast and be merry with friends and the month ends with Eid al-Fitr, a joyful day of feasting and family parties.
Bishkek has a bitter climate, with harsh conditions, especially during the long and cold wintermonths of November to March. Rain or snow is possible year round but on average it is a dry country. Spring and autumn are wetter than the rest of the year when sunny and dry conditions rule the country. In the lower parts of Kyrgyzstan, summers are around 27 °C maximum, and around 15 °C at night. During winter, temperatures are between -5 °C and -15 °C but also here temperatures can drop well below -30 °C sometimes.
|Avg Max||2.7 °C||3.3 °C||10.1 °C||18.1 °C||23.1 °C||28.4 °C||31.4 °C||29.9 °C||24.8 °C||17.1 °C||10.1 °C||4.8 °C|
|Avg Min||-8.6 °C||-7.3 °C||-0.3 °C||6.3 °C||10.9 °C||15.1 °C||17.5 °C||15.7 °C||10.6 °C||4.5 °C||-1.1 °C||-5.4 °C|
|Rainfall||26 mm||31 mm||47 mm||76 mm||64 mm||35 mm||19 mm||12 mm||17 mm||43 mm||44 mm||28 mm|
Manas International Airport (FRU) is serviced by flights from London, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Moscow, as well as Delhi and Ürümqi. In addition, the airport offers flights to a number of smaller regional destinations.
Bishkek has direct connections to nearby Almaty (Kazakhstan), and to Astana (either via Almaty or directly through Russia. Although both are not too far away geographically, the train ride takes a very long time, and service is frequently interrupted. There is also a direct train to Moscow.
|Backpackers Hostel Free & Easy in Bishkek||47, Ulitsa Kara-Koo Archa-Beshik Jal||Hostel||-|
|Castle Hotel Bishkek||Cholpon Ata, Lake Issyk Kul Bishkek||Hotel||-|
|Crocus||Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek city, st. Komsomolskaya 5.||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Rodem House||109,Umetalieva st.||HOSTEL||-|
|Interhouse Bishkek||Topograficheskiy,9 Sovetskaya Cross Skryabina||HOSTEL||-|
|Silk Road Backpackers||8, Isanova Str. Apt. 49||HOSTEL||-|
|Baikhan||VIP, Ala- Archa 1 Leshoz street||HOTEL||-|
You will find internet access in Bishkek fairly easy to locate as there are a number of internet cafes. Outside Bishkek, access may be more difficult to find, although a number of internet cafes are opening in some of the regional centres such as Osh, Djalal Abad, Tokmak and Karakol.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Kyrgyzstan's country code is +996.
There are three GSM-based operators in Kyrgyzstan: MegaCom, Beeline and O!.
Coverage and speed are good in the major cities, but can be very slow to non-existent in the countryside. When purchasing a SIM card, you officially have to show a photo ID. Since March 2014 SIM registration in Kyrgyzstan is compulsory. Existing SIM card holders must register personal ID details by March 2015 or face disconnection. Start-up price for prepaid SIM cards is around 125-200 Som.
http://kyrgyzpost.kg/ru|Kyrgyzpost]] is the national postal service in the country. Services are relatively cheap but slow. It might take weeks for a letter or postcard to arrive in your home country. For packages, use international courier services like DHL, FedEx, TNT or UPS.
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