Bishkek (Бишкек), with a population in 2012 of more than 900,000, is both the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan.
Bishkek is the capital of what is called officially the Kyrgyz Republic and sits in the Tien Shan mountain range in the Chui Valley. It is a relatively new city and has limited historical sites, but it makes a great place to start your trips to the mountains and alpine lakes of the Tien Shans. Bishkek is, however, an interesting example of a czarist planned city; laid on a grid with wide boulevards flanked by irrigation canals and large trees, buildings with marble façades, and Soviet apartment complexes. Many young travellers find Bishkek's nightlife a delight and the people are friendly and very hospitable. Bishkek is a city of many young people that hang out in clubs and small cafés. Kyrgyzstan has the most liberal tourist visa regime in Central Asia, so Bishkek makes a great place to start a tour of the silk road and collect your visas to neighbouring countries.