Must see attractions in Bishkek

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Ala-Too Square

    Surveyed by a triumphant statue of Айкол Манас (Mighty Manas), Bishkek's nominal centre is architecturally neobrutalist in style but has a photogenic quality – especially when slowly goose-stepping soldiers change the guard beside the soaring national flagpole. In summer, the concrete of the square's northern half is relieved by attractive floral displays and fountains that double as swimming pools for local children.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Osh Bazaar

    Bishkek's most central bazaar has a certain compulsive interest and is an important city landmark. For traditional Kyrgyz clothes, including white imitation-felt ak kalpak hats (80som) and colourful shepherds' chests, find the stalls outside the south tip of the bazaar's Khial building. Mondays are quiet, but on any other day it bustles.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Nissa Art Salon

    Originally built as the St Nicholas Cathedral, the steeple was removed and this space converted to an art museum during the Soviet period. The building still hosts rotating exhibits of local artists that change every 6-8 weeks, and is well worth a stop to see what's on while wandering through Dubovy Park.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Art Group 705

    Well-curated irregular exhibitions on a wide variety of themes and a grungy hipster-chic space make this a great stop for art seekers. Go through the gate at Bokonbaev 149 and then circle around back to the door marked with a large '705'. It's only open when an exhibition is on, so call or check the website before visiting.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Gallery M

    This one-room gallery hosts rotating thematic exhibitions of works primarily by local artists. Much of it is for sale, and there is a handful of applied-art souvenirs, as well. Enter directly from the corner of Chuy and Manas. Check the website for what's currently on, as it closes in between exhibitions.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bishkek

    State Museum of Fine Arts

    Collections of Kyrgyz embroidery and felt rugs, a splendid variety of paintings, and rotating exhibitions of local and international touring works all make a visit here worthwhile. Last entrance 5.30pm.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Dubovy Park

    Where wide, green Erkindik (Freedom) Ave enters this pleasant central park, artists sell a range of locally themed paintings. There's a small open-air sculpture garden amid the oaks behind the statue of Kurmanjan Datka. The park has officially been renamed for local author Chingiz Aitmatov, but nobody seems to refer to it as anything other than Oak Park.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Dordoi Bazaar

    This bazaar built primarily of repurposed shipping has shrunk somewhat since Kyrgyzstan joined the Eurasian Customs Union, but is still an atmospheric evocation of the modern Silk Road trade.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Panfilov Park

    Packed with amusements and carnival rides, this city-centre park is particularly pleasant and popular with local families on summer weekends.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Frunze House-Museum

    This modest museum forms a concrete shell around the thatched cottage that was allegedly the birthplace of Mikhail Vasilievich Frunze (1885–1925), for whom Bishkek (Pishpek) was renamed as 'Frunze' shortly after his death. There is little information in English, but even without captions many of the photos that depict both Bishkek and the Bolshevik Revolution (as interpreted through the lens of Frunze’s role) will be of interest to visitors.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Gapar Aitiev Studio Museum

    Run by the son of the legend himself, this was once the working studio of Kyrgyz National Artist Gapar Aitiev. It will be of interest to visitors with a distinct interest in Central Asian art, but the lack of signage and limited display space may discourage casual visitors.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Victory Square

    Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the end of WWII, this monument is designed to evoke three symbolic yurt struts curving above an eternal flame. It sits within the dauntingly oversized sun-bleached expanse of Victory Square.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    White House

    The seat of government in Kyrgyzstan, the sidewalk out front of this Stalinist Modern construction is also the site of regular protests organised by local citizens representing a variety of causes.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Statue of Kurmanjan Datka

    Dedicated to the 'Queen of the Alay', this 19th-century stateswoman and tribal leader was famous in Kyrgyzstan long before being featured in a 2014 film that won a number of international awards.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Kuznechnaya Fortress

    All but disappeared now, this historic Кузнечная крепость (Blacksmith's fortress) site was the location of an early-1800s Kokhand fortification, built amidst a much older Silk Road settlement known as Jul. The hill upon which the fortress stood is quite evident when seen from on high, but other than the occasional artefact that gets turned up it's less compelling from ground level.The surrounding neighbourhood has a rough reputation, so don't linger too late.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Sadykov Sculpture Museum

    Worth a quick look for the variety of sculptures (both working models and finished versions) of famous Kyrgyz and fabled legends, though it's a small space and there's not much context. It's inside the National Academy of Art – keep an eye out for the blue ‘Museum’ sign just to the left of the door behind a small fence.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Holy Resurrection Cathedral

    The bright blue spires of this Russian Orthodox cathedral, opened in 1947, stand out along Jibek Jolu. The spartan interior, decorated with icons and studded with candles, is open to visitors.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Lenin Statue

    Having once dominated Ala-Too Square, Vladimir Ilyich turned his back on the mountains in 2003 and now lurks behind the National Historical Museum.

  • Sights in Bishkek

    Circus

    The peculiar architecture of the Kyrgyz Circus, in what looks like a 1950s UFO, stands out on the far edge of Victory Square.