A city of wide, tree-lined boulevards and marble-fronted municipal buildings, Bishkek retains the feel of a Soviet-block capital circa 1990, though it makes an engaging place to find one’s feet before heading into the nearby mountains.

Top of your ‘to-see’ list should be the massive Ala-Too (formerly ‘Lenin’) Square, where a changing of the guard ceremony takes place daily, followed by a tour of sprawling Osh Bazaar, Bishkek’s main market – don’t miss the spice and nut section, or the tailor’s wing across the road at Kyyal Bazaar, where lines of small shops sell traditional Kyrgyz felt hats, horse tack and yurt paraphernalia.

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