Bishkek is the capital of Kyrgyzstan. It has a population
of approximately 900,000 (2005).
Bishkek is situated at about 420-950 m altitude just
off the northern fringe of the Ala-Too range, an extension of the
Tien Shan mountain range, which rises up to 4,800 m and provides
a spectacular backdrop to the city. North of the city, a fertile
and gently undulating steppe extends far north into neighboring Kazakhstan.
The Chui river drains most of the area. Bishkek is connected to the
Turkestan-Siberia Railway by a spur.
Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced
public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment
blocks surrounding interior courtyards and, especially outside the
city center, thousands of smaller, often privately built houses.
It is laid out on a grid pattern, with most streets flanked on both
sides by narrow irrigation channels that water the innumerable trees
which provide shade in the hot summers.