Bishkek monuments

Monumental Sites of Kyrgyzstan

City Center:

Photos of Bishkek monumentsAlexei Illarionovich Ivanitsyn - Erkidik/Jibek Jolu - On 1st January 1918, Ivanitsyn led a a group of armed Bolsheviks in a coup. After a New Year's Evening demonstration in Oak Park, Ivanitsyn and his group "arrested" the entire regimental command and freed all the prisoners in the jail. The next day they elected their own Chairman of the Pishkek Soviet and declared Soviet power throughout the city and district.

Osmonov - Sovietskaya, outside the National Library - a Kyrgyz Poet. He also appears on the 200 Som note.

Dzerzhinsky - West side of the National Library, Sovietskaya - Felix Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926) was the founder of the Emergency Committee - which was the forerunner of the KGB. His statue stood in Oak Park, at the foot of Dzerzhinsky Avenue (now Prospect Erkindik) on a pedestal until 1999, when he was replaced by a statue to Liberty. His name was removed shortly after independence.

Victory Monument - Victory Square - This memorial was completed in 1984, the 40th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in the second world war (the Great Patriotic War). A woman, (a mother/wife), stands over the eternal flame, waiting for her son/husband who will never return home from the war, standing under a tynduk in the form of a funeral wreath (one of the symbols of the nation) held aloft by three ribs of red granite representing a yurt. The image is a solemn reflection on the great cost of victory. The monument stands in Victory Square - which was once the site of the main Bishkek Market. It is not unusual to see parties of newlyweds stop here to lay flowers in remembrance.

Victory MonumentBibisara - Sovietskaya, South of the Theatre of Opera and Ballet (now on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Hotel). She was a famous ballerina who in her later years trained several generations of dancers, and was one of the founders of the Kyrgyz ballet school. She appears on the 5 Som note.

The Theatre of Opera and Ballet - on Sovietskaya, has an interesting facade, relief murals and some statues. Inside are several fine examples of Soviet style painting, depicting many nationalities gathering for a wedding, and scenery from the republic.

Toktogul Satylganov - Sovietskaya, South of the Opera and Ballet theatre. The poet, singer, and instrumentalist lived from 1864 to 1933. Toktogul not only has a street in Bishkek and a power station and water reservoir named after him, but also a museum dedicated to him and he appears on the 100 Som note. This bronze statue was cast in 1974 and the Komuz featured can be seen in the Historical Museum.

Alay Tokombaev - On Sovietskaya, South of the Fine Arts Museum, opposite the Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Tokombaev was a famous 20th Century akym (bard) who was instrumental in developing the modern form of written Kyrgyz using a modified version of the Cyrillic alphabet.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels - Oak Park, across the Central Square from the building of the Supreme Soviet.

The Red Guards Memorial - Oak Park. A red granite obelisk stands over the common grave of the Bolshevik casualties of the 1918 Belovodsk uprising. On December 6th, 1918, in the small village of Belovodsk about 30 kilometers West of Bishkek, a counter-revolution broke out with the capture of the post office and large tracts of the surrounding countryside quickly captured. The Bolshevik hold on the region was under serious threat. The rebels marched on Bishkek and an eight day battle ensued. Reinforcements arrived from Almaty under the command of Yakov Nikoforovich Logvinenko, and the counter-revolution was defeated.

The burial took place on New Years Day, 1919, - the first anniversary of the Bolsheviks seizing power in Bishkek. When he died in 1933, Logvinenko was also buried here. The canons once stood in one of the Mansions in the center of Bishkek, but after the revolution they were taken to a museum in St. Pertersburg - to be returned when the monument was constructed in 1960, replacing an earlier simple wooden marker, and an "eternal" flame lit, (the gas was turned off in 1994 but it is sometimes re-lit, for example on the Victory Day holiday - May 9th). The text translates as "Eternal glory to the fallen who fought for the power of the Soviets." This is another site visited by newlyweds.

Busts of prominent Kyrgyz politicians - Oak Park.

Monument to the glory of Labor - Oak Park. A plinth in a square behind the Historical museum with a number of plaques dedicated to the workers and the glory of labor.

Panfilov - Panfilov Park, behind the white house. On November 16th, 1941, 28 soldiers in an Almaty infantry unit under General Ivan Panfilov died fighting off Nazi tanks in a village outside Moscow. In Almaty, there is a striking war memorial including individual plinths, each with the name of one of these 28 who were later declared "Heroes of the Soviet Union". In Bishkek, as well as this statue to the "Defenders of Moscow" there is also a bust of Nickolai Jacovlevich Anyenov, one of the soldiers who was born in Issyk Kul, on Molodaya Gvardia along with busts of other locals who were granted the title Hero of the Soviet Union in the war. On the plinth are several reliefs of soldiers in battle.

Maxim Gorky - in Gorky Park, on Isanovna, behind the Sports Palace and Open air swimming pool. The park is not as big as it's namesake in either Moscow or Almaty, but was dedicated to the Russian writer Alexey Peshkov (1868-1936) who wrote under the pen-name of Maxim Gorky.

Shabdan Ata Baatyr - in the walkway between Frunze and Chui streets by the Philharmonia. An important Kyrgyz political figure.

The Fathers of the Nation - on Turusbekova, west of the Philharmonic. The monument contains statues of many important Kyrgyz personalities.

Martyrs of the Revolution - Prospect Chui/Sovietskaya. The main figure is Urkuya Salieva (1910-1934), and early socialist organizer in Southern Kyrgyzstan - apparently murdered by "rich peasants". Around her are the "awakening" proletariat. The monument was erected in 1978 by Sadykov … and was awarded the All Union Lenin Prize.

Erkindik - The Kyrgyz Statue of Liberty. Unveiled in 1999 to commemorate the eighth year of independence, this represents a Kyrgyz woman holding a flame ringed tynduk. The statue replaced that of Derzhinsky - founder of the Cheka - the forerunner of the KGB.

Lenin - Ala Too Square. Arm outstretched, pointing to the future, or to the mountains(?). This remains the only major statue of Lenin left in Central Asia, presiding over the ceremonial heart of the capital city. The Kyrgyz have decided that he and his legacy are still very much a part of the country's history - and although there are occasional debates in the press and parliament, there is a special law on the preservation of the statue.

The Alley of Statesmen - to the east of the Historical Museum, behind Friendhip house are busts of important statesmen, including several who also have streets named after them in Bishkek.

The Official State Flagpole - built in 1998. The guard is changed every day, on the hour, from 07:00 till 18:00. Do not try going into the fenced off area - unless you want to be arrested - the sentries are not there as models for you to pose with for photographs, even if this is common practice elsewhere in the world.

Friendship Monument - in Friendship Square - Prospect Chui, between the White House and the History Museum. There are two stories about the origin of the monument. Some say that the square was inaugurated by Kosygin in 1974 to mark the 50th anniversary of the USSR and others that it was to mark the 100th anniversary of the Kyrgyz "voluntarily" joining the Russian Empire. The trees were all planted by dignitaries, including Kosygin and Brezhnev, but the plaques which recoded their names have long since disappeared.

The Manas Sculptural Complex - outside the Philharmonic on the corner of Prospects Chui and Manas. Completed in 1981, it depicts the legendary hero riding his magical horse, Ak-kula, and slaying a dragon. Below him are statues of his wife, Kanykei, and of the wise man and counsellor, Bakai. Around the square, carved in red granite, are busts of several 20th century manaschi. The Philharmonic also has some stained glass windows depicting traditional Kyrgyz patterns.

Alley of the Heroes - Molodaya Gvardia. The name of the street translates as the Avenue of the Young Guards. It marks the course of one of the branches of the Ala Archa River - which was filled in by army engineers who also planted the trees and created the boulevard. The busts are of heroes of the Soviet Union and the statue of soldiers flanked by plaques which read "We went to war for Communism" was constructed by the Komsomol - the league of young communists - in the 1960s. On the intersection with Moskovskaya there is a bust of Captain Talgat Yakubek Vegeldinov, who was killed in action fighting the Germans and was posthumously awarded the Golden Star Medal.

Alexander Pushkin - outside the Slavic University on Kievskaya - erected in 1999 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Russian Poet. It is supposedly the only statue in the city facing North.

MIG - Kievskaya, outside the headquarters of the National Guard - other towns have tanks, Bishkek has a MIG. Earlier, Kyrgyzstan was an important center for training pilots - former President Assad of Syria trained here in the 1960s - and the flying school was the largest source of income in the republic.

Kaynazarova - Erkindik - twice a "Hero of Socialist Labor".

Kurenkeyev - Moskovskaya - a composer and musician.

Togolok Moldo - in Togolok Moldo park on Moscovskaya. Togolok Moldo, (real name Bayymbet Abdyrakhmanov) 1860-1942, was born in the Ak Tal region near Naryn. He was a poet and one of the better known twentieth century manaschi - a special class of itinerant minstrel (akyn) who give recitals of the Manas epic. He appears on the 20 Som note.

Bokonbaev - at the intersection of Erkindik and Bokanbaeva. Zhoomart Bokanbaev was a poet and playwright.

Frunze - Erkindik, opposite the railway station - Mikhail Vasilievich Frunze (1885-1926) was born in Bishkek - which was then called Pishpek. He spent a turbulent childhood in Moscow, and after several arrests for revolutionary activity - as one of Lenin's protoges - he eventually commanded the Red Guards which occupied the Kremlin in October 1917.

A major player in the civil war, he was responsible for campaigns in Siberia and the Caucasus Mountains. In September, 1918 he was dispatched to Tashkent in an armoured train to head a "Turkic Commission"; to purge the "elites", re-educate the masses and introduce the industrialisation of the region. He then led the Bolshevik forces which took Khiva (meeting virtually no resistance) and Bukhara (after a four day fight) in 1920, and then pushed the Basmachi rebels out of the Ferghana valley. He replaced Trotsky as War Commissar and introduced a system of conscription requiring compulsory peacetime military service and molded the Red Army into a formidable fighting force and revolutionary tool. After Lenin's death, he survived several mysterious car accidents, but eventually died after submitting to a stomach operation at the order of the Politburo in 1926. His home town was renamed Frunze in his honor. There is a statue of him standing outside Moscow and one of the leading Soviet Military academies was named after him. (The name was changed to Bishkek in 1991.)

Outlying districts:

Young Girl - outside the Champagne Factory on Prospect Mira.

Lenin - Propect Mira - outside the Polytechnic - a less well known statue than that in the Ala Too Square.

Pilot - Propect Mira, outside the offices of Kyrgyz Airlines at the old airport, near the entrance to Pinara Hotel.

Ataturk - Akunbaeva. At the southern entrance of Ataturk park, previously called Friendship Park.

Afghan War Memorial - Ataturk Park. Beneath the two soldiers the inscription reads "People, Don't forget the lessons of the past".

City Gates:

At several points on roads entering the city, for example on Fuchika entering from Manas airport, are large gates bearing welcome messages to Bishkek. Another is the Rotary monument capped by the Soviet Star and banners at the intersection of Molodaya Gvardia and Jibek Joly. On Jibekj Jolu there are several monuments built to commemorate various dates such as the 50th year of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic.

Mosaics and reliefs:

Several buildings have facades with decorative reliefs and mosaics. Some are simple representations of traditional patterns such as "rams' horns" whilst others are abstract designs, motifs such as state symbols or pictorial representations (often of an ideological theme). Such buildings include Dom Technica, The buildings of the Universities (the main building on Frunze, the laboratory complex, the main building of BKSLM on Jibek Jolu,) as well as some apartment blocks.

The Circus - On Frunze netween Sovietskaya and Sultan Ibraimova

The Frunze Museum - on the corner of Razzakova and Frunze

Marx, Engels and Lenin - On a building that belongs to the Academy of Sciences on the corner of Frunze and Manas.

Kyrgyz State Univeristy - on Frunze, between Manas and Turisbekova, has an interesting facade and relief over the entrance.

The Kyrgyz National Theatre - on Abdumomunova in the old square, not far from the Historical Museum.

The Ala Too Cinema - Prospect Chui. A remodel in the 1960s included the heroes of the time - cosmonauts.

The Constitutional Court Building on Prospext Erkindik

Lenin Mosaic - Moskovskaya

Nationalities of the USSR Mosaic - Propect Mira - erected in 1963 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Kyrgyzia joining the Russian Empire.

Manas Airport - "Meeting guests".

There are also examples of stained glass in the Philharmonia and the Wedding Palace.

Disappeared: The Atom - A metal representation of an Atom used to stand on a traffic island on Propect Chui outside the Academy of Sciences … it can be seen in old photographs.