Bishkek, formerly Pishpek and Frunze, is the capital and largest city of Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyz Republic). Bishkek is also the administrative center 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.
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 center. 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.
The Dordoy Bazaar, just inside the bypass highway on the north-eastern edge of the city, is a major retail and wholesale market.
The Kyrgyz Ala-Too mountain range, some 40 kilometres (25 mi) away, provides a spectacular backdrop to the city; the Ala Archa National Park is only a 30 to 45 minutes drive away.
Bishkek has both hot dry summer continental and mediterranean climate depending which isotherm would be used. (Köppen climate classification Csa/Dsarespectively). Average precipitation is around 440 millimetres (17 in) per year. Average daily high temperatures range from 3 °C (37.4 °F) in January to about 31 °C (87.8 °F) during July. The summer months are dominated by dry periods, punctuated by the occasional thunderstorm, which produces strong gusty winds and rare dust storms.
The mountains to the south provide a natural boundary and protection from much of the damaging weather, as does the smaller mountain chain which runs north-west to south-east. In the winter months, sparse snow storms and frequent heavy fog are the dominating features. There are sometimes temperature inversions, during which the fog can last for days at a time.
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