Bishkek’s National History Museum Shines as Cultural Hub

The National History Museum, one of the largest museums in Central Asia and a key tourist attraction in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, is situated in Ala-Too Square in the heart of the city.

Established on December 9, 1925, and welcoming its first visitors in 1927, the museum has been serving the public for nearly a century. It houses 130,000 artifacts, focusing on archaeological and ethnographic collections that reflect the history and culture of the Kyrgyz people from ancient times to the present day.

The museum, spanning a total area of 8,000 square meters, showcases a variety of artifacts on its first floor. These include clay jugs discovered during archaeological excavations, tombstone “balbals,” horse-related materials such as saddles and horseshoes, and domestic ceramics like plates and other pottery.

The ethnography section on the second floor exhibits traditional Kyrgyz clothes made of felt, carpets, draperies, examples of traditional houses, and other items from the 18th and 19th centuries.

On the third floor, artifacts detailing the history of the Kyrgyz people during the Soviet period and after independence are displayed. Items include military uniforms, a Soviet-made machine gun, medical and daily life tools, traditional clothes, photographs of Kyrgyzstan’s presidents, souvenirs given to them, the country’s flag and coat of arms, and information on the nation’s achievements in various fields.

Hundreds of local and international tourists visit the museum daily, making it a central attraction in Kyrgyzstan. Interest surged when the museum was closed for renovation in 2016 and reopened in 2021. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) contributed to the exterior renovation and landscaping of the museum.


Museum’s Role in Historical Preservation

Museum Director Jyldyz Bakashova emphasized the museum’s crucial role in preserving the rich history of the Kyrgyz people. “If it were not for the work of the museum, many artifacts would have been lost. We are obliged to pass on these artifacts to the next generation and we are working in this direction,” she said.

Bakashova noted that the museum organizes free visits for middle and primary school students to educate them about the country’s history. The museum also hosts cultural and scientific events, with plans to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year through various events.


International Cooperation

The museum attracts nearly a thousand domestic and foreign tourists daily, particularly from Uzbekistan, Russia, Turkey, and China. Bakashova mentioned that visitors from Turkey feel a cultural kinship due to shared language, religion, and cultural heritage. The museum cooperates with many foreign history museums and collaborates with Turkey through the International Organization of Turkic Cultures. Negotiations with the Turkish History Museum on scientific research and experience sharing are ongoing.

BishkekKyrgyzstanNational History Museum
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