A tour of Soviet-era Bishkek

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My love affair with Soviet architecture continues whilst here in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek is often held up as a model of Soviet planning with its American-esque grid road system, making it an incredibly easy city to navigate. I’m told the grids were built especially to assist in case of an emergency requiring mass evacuation.

Despite these days being an incredibly modern city in many respects and one now well connected to the rest of the world through the internet and global business, it’s easy to find superb examples of Soviet-era architecture and monumentalism. Even the odd hammer and sickle remains. So for today’s post, allow me to indulge in sharing just a few of the sights spotted on a sunny central walk…

Philharmonic Hall

Philharmonic Hall, which can seat more than 1,000 guests. A statue of legendary Kyrgyz hero Manas sitting astride his horse Ak-Kul battling a dragon stands in front of the venue, which was opened in 1980. Click for a good history of the Hall [ru].

Close up of statue in front of Philharmonic Hall

Close up of Manas’ wife Kanykei in front of Philharmonic Hall. History has it that she was from Tajikistan [ru], although borders then weren’t delineated as they are today.

Manas' wise adviser Bakai

Manas’ wise adviser Bakai

Formerly the State Bank of Kyrgyzstan, now

Formerly the USSR State Bank, now the Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic. But with its old name and Soviet frontispiece remain.

Close up of the Soviet-era decoration on top of the bank building

Close up of the Soviet-era decoration on top of the bank building

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National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic. Founded in the 1920s, read a fascinating chronology of scientific discovery in Kyrgyzstan on the Academy of Science website [en].

Detail

Mural on the side of the Academy of Sciences building

Look at the murals!

Look at the murals!

Plaque showing that scientist Aman Mamytov lived in this building from 1957-1999. Mamytov is best known for creating a new genre of investigating mountain soils.

Plaque showing that scientist Aman Mamytov lived in this building from 1957-1999 [text in Kyrgyz and Russian]. Mamytov is best known for classifying soils around the Tian Shan mountain range. 

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: A Central Asian year in review | Emma Sabzalieva

  2. Pingback: From the sublime to the ridiculous, and everything in between: Ten defining moments of Congress 2016 | Emma Sabzalieva

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