Bishkek Day in Kyrgyzstan Date in the current year: April 29, 2024

Bishkek Day in Kyrgyzstan Bishkek Day is celebrated on April 29. It commemorates the foundation anniversary of the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek is the capital and the largest city of the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as the country’s economic and industrial center. It is situated in the middle of the Chuy Valley, just off the northern ridge of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too Range. Bishkek owes its geographical location to the Silk Road; it was a rest stop for caravans on one of the routes of the Silk Road.

The history of present-day Bishkek dates back to the early 19th century. In 1825, the Khan of Kokand, a Central Asian polity established in 1709, ordered to build a fort in the Chuy Valley. Artisans and merchants began to settle right outside the Pishpek fortress, and so a settlement was founded.

In the 1860s, the fortress was destroyed by Russian troops. Following the annexation of the Khanate of Kokand by the Russian Empire, local military governor Gerasim Kolpakovsky ordered to transfer the administrative center of Tokmak Uyezd (county) to Pishpek. On April 29, 1878, the village of Pishpek received a city status. Today, this day is celebrated as the city’s foundation anniversary – Bishkek Day.

After the October Revolution, Pishkek became the administrative center of the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast of the Russian SFSR. In 1926, the autonomous oblast was reorganized into the Kirghiz Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic, and Pishpek was renamed Frunze in honor of the Pishpek-born Bolshevik leader Mikhail Frunze, who had died several months prior.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Kyrgyzstan, the issue of renaming the capital was raised again. Since the etymology of the original name “Pishpek” was unknown, it was decided to choose a similarly sounding Kyrgyz word, “bishkek”, which means a paddle using to churn the fermenting milk during the preparation of kumis. Since kumis is considered an important part in the national culture of Kyrgyzstan, the new name was deemed fitting.

Today, Bishkek is the largest city of Kyrgyzstan, with a population of over a million people. It is the administrative, political, industrial, trade, financial, cultural, scientific, and educational center of the country, as well as the largest transport hub of Kyrgyzstan.

The main attractions of Bishkek are the ruins of an ancient Sogdian fortress, the Ata Beyit Memorial Complex dedicated to the victims of the Stalinist repressions and the Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010, the Ala-Too Square with the monuments to the national hero Manas and renowned Kyrgyz author Chinghiz Aitmatov, the botanical garden of the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrhyz Republic, Chuy Avenue, and many others.

Bishkek Day was officially established by the Bishkek City Kenesh (council) in 2006, and the first celebration was held on April 29, 2007. The holiday is marked by various events and activities, including an official ceremony in the Ala-Too Square, a street festival, concerts, competitions, and a spectacular fireworks display.

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