Bishkek (in Kyrgyz and Russian: Бишкéк; IPA: [biʃˈkek] and [bʲiʂˈkʲɪk] respectively), formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and largest city of the Kyrgyz Republic. Bishkek is also the administrative center of the Chuy Province. The province surrounds the city, although the city itself is not part of the province, but rather a province-level unit of Kyrgyzstan. According to post-Soviet research, the name is thought to derive from a Kyrgyz word for a churn used to make fermented mare's milk (kumis), the Kyrgyz national drink, although not all sources agree on this.The city was founded in 1825 as the Khokand fortress of "Pishpek" in order to control local caravan routes and to collect tribute from Kyrgyz tribes. On September 4, 1860, the fortress was destroyed by Russian forces led by colonel Zimmermann, with the approval of the Kyrgyz. In 1868 a Russian settlement was founded on the fortress's spot, 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 created in Russian Turkestan, promoting Pishpek to its capital. In 1926, the city was given the name Frunze, after the Bolshevik military leader Mikhail Frunze, 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 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 line. Bishkek is a city of wide boulevards and marble-faced public buildings combined with numerous Soviet-style apartment blocks surrounding interior courtyards. Mostly outside the city center, there are also thousands of smaller 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 that provide shade in the hot summers. Wikipedia
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