Bishkek (Kyrgyz: Бишке́к, BISHKEK, بىشکەک; IPA: [biʃˈkek]; Russian: Бишке́к, tr. Biškék, IPA: [bʲɪʂˈkʲɛk]), formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic). Bishkek is also the administrative centre of the Chuy Region. The province surrounds the city, although the city itself is not part of the province, but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan.
In 1825 Khokand authorities established the fortress of "Pishpek" in order to control local caravan-routes and to collect tribute from Kyrgyz tribes. On 4 September 1860, with the approval of the Kyrgyz, Russian forces led by Colonel Zimmermann destroyed the fortress.
In 1868 a Russian settlement was established on the site of the fortress under its original name, "Pishpek". It lay within the General Governorship of Russian Turkestan and its Semirechye Oblast.
In 1925 the Kara-Kirghiz Autonomous Oblast was established in Russian Turkestan, promoting Pishpek to ...
its capital. In 1926 the Communist Party of the Soviet Union renamed the city as Frunze, after the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze (1885–1925), who was born there. In 1936, the city of Frunze became the capital of the Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic, during the final stages of the national delimitation in the Soviet Union.
In 1991 the Kyrgyz parliament changed the capital's name to "Bishkek".
Bishkek is situated at an altitude of about 800 meters (2,600 ft), just off the northern fringe of the Kyrgyz Ala-Too range, an extension of the Tian Shan mountain range. These mountains rise to a height of 4,855 meters (15,928 ft) and provide a 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 line.
Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks surrounding interior courtyards. There are also thousands of smaller privately built houses, mostly outside the city centre. Streets follow a grid pattern, with most flanked on both sides by narrow irrigation channels, watering innumerable trees to provide shade in the hot summers.