When is the best time to fly to Bishkek?
Bishkek has a seasonal climate and enjoys warm summers and cold winters. Being a city of parks and tree-lined streets, it is especially beautiful in both spring, between March and May, and autumn (September to November). Visitors arriving at the beginning of spring can join in the celebrations of No'oruz, a 3,000 year old Zoroastrian tradition marking the start of the Persian New Year. Kyrgyzstan is a largely Muslim country, and Ramadan is widely observed. Dates change annually, so check before you travel, as it may affect your plans. Orozo Ait, the festival of Eid marking the end of Ramadan, is a marvellous spectacle where thousands of people get together to pray and exchange gifts.
A city of marble-clad public buildings, wide boulevards, and Soviet-style apartment complexes, Bishkek is both the capital and the largest city in the often overlooked country of Kyrgyzstan. Beginning as a small clay fortress, and originally designed as a way of controlling, and getting tribute from, caravan routes along the Silk Road, it was destroyed in 1860 by the Russians, who eight years later would rebuild a fortress and name it Pishkek. In 1925, it was renamed Frunze in honour of the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze, one of the city's most famous sons and there is a statue in his honour by the railway station. In 1991, following independence, the city was renamed Bishkek. Visitors to Bishkek today find a city that still feels much like the Eastern Europe of the mid-1980s. It's not an old city, and what it lacks in ancient monuments, it makes up for with its own special charm. The leafy parks and wide avenues, with the Tian Shan mountain range as a backdrop make for spectacular views, and the visitors and ex-pat residents alike enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, low costs of living, open-minded spirit and party culture that the city offers. For shopping, there are numerous bazaars across Bishkek, with the Osh being the largest. It's also worth seeing the State Historical Museum, with its enormous statue of Lenin outside.