City Orientation Walk, Bishkek (Self Guided)

Set against the backdrop of Central Asia's Tian Shan mountains at an altitude of 800 meters above sea level, Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, abounds in spacious squares, wide boulevards, marble-faced public buildings and multiple monuments reflecting the country's history including, primarily, the Soviet period. These and other prominent sights make up this tour and allow visitors to see Bishkek in its variety.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Kyrgyzstan » Bishkek (See other walking tours in Bishkek)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km
Author: Caroline
1
Ala-Too Square

1) Ala-Too Square (must see)

Ala-Too Square is the central square in Bishkek. The square was built in 1984 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Kyrgyz SSR, at which time a massive statue of Lenin was placed in the square's center. The statue of Lenin was moved in 2003 to a smaller square in the city, and a new statue called Erkindik (Freedom) was installed in its place.

The square serves as a place for state events and celebrations. In 2008, it was the site of a memorial ceremony for world-renowned Kyrgyz writer Chinghiz Aitmatov. On March 24, 2005, the square was the site of the largest anti-government protest of Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution. After several weeks of unrest throughout the country, over 15,000 people gathered early in the afternoon to protest the results of the 2005 parliamentary elections.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
National History Museum

2) National History Museum (must see)

The National History Museum is the main museum in Bishkek. It is located in the very center of the city on the main square. It used to be called the Lenin Museum during the Soviet era. The museum now has a collection that tells the history of how Kyrgyzstan became an independent state. There are also exhibits dedicated to Lenin and Askar Akayev, Kyrgzystan's former president. The museum also highlights the folk traditions of Kyrgyz and its pre-Soviet history.
3
Friendship Monument

3) Friendship Monument (must see)

The Friendship Monument is located in a small square bearing the same name. It dates back to the Soviet era. According to some, this monument was founded in 1974 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the USSR. Others claim it was created for the 100th anniversary of Kyrgyz joining the Russian Empire.
4
White House

4) White House (must see)

The White House is the presidential office building in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The White House was the site of riots during both the 2005 Tulip Revolution and the 2010 Kyrgyzstani riots. During the 2010 riots a fire broke out and damaged portions of the building and destroyed the hard copies of many government records.

The building is located on Chuy Avenue between the Philharmonia building and the Monument to the Martyrs of the Revolution. It is a seven story tall building built in Stalinist modern style, with the STO (Gosplan, Duma) building in Moscow as a model. In 1985, the building was built to be the location of the Communist Party's Central Committee headquarters. There is, "said to be" an underground complex under the Ala-Too Square connected to the White House via an underground series of tunnels.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Panfilov Park

5) Panfilov Park (must see)

Panfilov Park is one of the most popular parks in the center of Bishkek. It is located near to a number of famous Kyrgyz monuments. The park is a fun, interesting place for kids of all ages. There are playgrounds, carousels and an observation circle. Parents will enjoy their time here as well!
6
Lenin Monument

6) Lenin Monument (must see)

A monument to Lenin stands in the center of Bishkek, as it once did in the majority of cities, towns and villages located in the former Soviet Union. The statue depicts Lenin standing tall with his arm stretched, pointing to the "happy future". This monument is probably the only remaining statue of this famous revolutionary leader in Central Asia, and stands as a reminder of an important period in Kyrgyzstan's history.
7
Frunze House-Museum

7) Frunze House-Museum (must see)

At the Frunze House-Museum you can learn more about Bishkek and the Soviet invasion of 1917. Mikhail Frunze was a Red Army general and a Bolshevik revolutionist. He successfully put down local rebellions after the revolution. Mikhail Frunze became a Soviet hero. The city itself carried his name for a period and became Bishkek only in 1991. The museum welcomes visitors on Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
8
Oak Park

8) Oak Park (must see)

Oak Park, or Dubovy Park as it sounds in Russian, is one of the best parks located in the center of the city. Enjoy exploring the extensive grounds of the park. Look for a fantastic rose garden and beautiful fountains, as well as many sculptures and monuments, most of which date back to the Soviet era. There is also an open-air art exhibit in the park where local artists sell their paintings and crafts.
9
Open Air Sculpture Museum

9) Open Air Sculpture Museum (must see)

The Open Air Sculpture Museum is located in Oak Park in the center of Bishkek. There are some very strange figures here. The museum was established in 1984 on the 60th anniversary of the Kyrgyz Republic. The sculptures on display were created by artists from the former Soviet Union and were designed around the theme of “Peace and Labor”.
10
Gallery of Fine Arts

10) Gallery of Fine Arts (must see)

The Gallery of Fine Arts is a very large gallery that displays the best of Kyrgyz art. There are numerous halls that feature a variety of art. You should especially visit the hall that exhibits traditional Kyrgyz folk art, portraits, applied arts and contemporary work from Russian and former Soviet republic artists. The traditional Kyrgyz embroidery exhibit is also worth a look. This exhibit showcases different hand-crafted items made by local women. There are also halls with Egyptian and Greek statues and artwork from India. The museum is open every day except Monday from 10 AM until 6 PM.
11
Circus

11) Circus

Bishkek Circus puts on many performances for kids. The circus is a popular form of entertainment for kids in former Soviet Union countries. There are clowns, acrobats, animals and more. The arena of the circus is brightly illuminated and fanfares play at the beginning of the show. Ice cream and other treats are sold here.
12
Victory Monument

12) Victory Monument (must see)

The Victory Monument stands appropriately enough on Victory Square. This memorial is dedicated to the victory of the Allies over Nazi Germany. The statue is of a woman, representing all the mothers and wives that had to wait for their sons and husbands to return home. National symbols, such as the Kyrgyz yort, also adorn the memorial. It is a breathtaking site, as it illustrates the costs of war in a very memorable way.
13
Detsky Mir

13) Detsky Mir

Detsky Mir, or Baby Land Shop in English, offers all kinds of merchandise for kids, from games and school supplies to clothes and shoes. This type of shop once existed in every city in the former Soviet Union. There is a cafe with a playground in the shop. In Russian the cafe is called "Chudo Ostrov", which translates to wonderful island. The cafe offers European and Central Asian cuisine.
14
ZUM Souvenirs Floor

14) ZUM Souvenirs Floor

ZUM is a large shop that used to be found in all cities of the former Soviet Union. This typical Soviet department store sells everything, from toiletries to new electronics, but if you go up to the top floor you will find local Bishkek souvenirs. These range from jewels to Bishkek rugs to pottery and more. There are also antiques that were sold during the Soviet era.
15
Ak Emir Bazaar

15) Ak Emir Bazaar (must see)

Ak Emir Bazaar is one of the most colorful markets in Bishkek. It sells mainly local food products. Here you will find interesting delicacies that you probably have never tasted. You can also buy more familiar items, such as roast chicken, honey products, pickled salads and more. There is also some Russian-style food like 'pirojkis', as well as exotic fruit and vegetables.

Walking Tours in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Create Your Own Walk in Bishkek

Create Your Own Walk in Bishkek

Creating your own self-guided walk in Bishkek is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Shopping Tour of Bishkek

Shopping Tour of Bishkek

Bishkek offers an amazing shopping experience, as you can find a variety of interesting local products, such as uniquely-designed Kyrgyz rugs, handmade pottery and jewelry made with semiprecious stones from the mountains in the area. Take this self-guided tour to explore the stores, boutiques and markets of Bishkek.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Kid's Entertainment Tour of Bishkek

Kid's Entertainment Tour of Bishkek

There are a variety of fun attractions in Bishkek that will entertain and engage your children. You can take them to the circus, visit the planetarium or go for a walk in a beautiful park with a merry-go-round. Take this self-guided tour to visit the best places in Bishkek for kids.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Daily Life Tour of Bishkek

Daily Life Tour of Bishkek

To better understand the daily life of Bishkek residents, visit the locals' favorite spots. Explore the bars, shops, churches, and cinemas where locals spend most of their time when not at home. Take this self-guided tour to discover the more personal side of Bishkek.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 km
Museums & Galleries Tour of Bishkek, Part I

Museums & Galleries Tour of Bishkek, Part I

There are many interesting museums in Bishkek, the largest city in the former Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic. Visit the history museum, which teaches about the city and country's fascinating past. Also be sure to see the unusual open air museum that features sculptures by masters from all over the former Soviet Union. Take this self-guided tour to visit the most popular museums in Bishkek.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Museums & Galleries Tour of Bishkek, Part II

Museums & Galleries Tour of Bishkek, Part II

There are several art galleries in Bishkek, most of which are gallery-shops so you can buy the art that you like. These galleries display traditional and contemporary Kyrgyz art: paintings, pottery, ceramics and more. Take this self-guided tour to gain a better understanding of Kyrgyz art.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km
Monuments Tour of Bishkek

Monuments Tour of Bishkek

There are many monuments in Bishkek dedicated to important people who have played a significant role in shaping the history and culture of Kyrgyzstan. A number of these monuments are dedicated to Soviet leaders. This self-guided tour will lead you to Bishkek's most famous monuments.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Bishkek for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Bishkek has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Bishkek, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.