Vanishing Pishpek 1825–1926
Петров, В. Г. Пишпек Исчезающий 1825-1926. Бишкек: Литературный Кыргызстан, 2005, 100c.

Petrov, V. G. Pishpek Ischezaiushchii 1825-1926. Bishkek: Literaturnyi Kyrgyzstan, 2005, 100pp.


Vanishing Pishpek 1825-1926

Пишпек Исчезающий 1825-1926

Vladimir G. Petrov's book, Vanishing Pishpek (Pishpek Ischezaiushchii, 1825-1926) is not only of interest to historians and ethnographers, but also to a wide audience. The work provides material on the history of the emergence of modern Kyrgyzstan's capital city – today’s Bishkek – while describing in considerable detail the city's development in the nineteenth century. This publication also includes material on Kyrgyzstan's first steps towards national sovereignty. The timeframe given in the book's title refers to the relatively recent past of this capital city. Its detailed description of the geographic location of old Bishkek is one interesting aspect of this work, and creates the impression that the reader is making a personal visit to this old city. The author, a local historian by training, successfully combines statistical data with archival sources.

The book is written in fine literary prose. The extensive use of reliable sources (archival photographs and historical documents) provides the study with a certain weight and significance among rival works on a similar theme. It tells the story of the beginning of the formation of Kyrgyzstan's capital as a cultural, educational, and industrial centre. The information it provides about the city and its first buildings is of great interest, but no less valuable is the data provided on its inhabitants.

Of particular value are the black and white photographs that accompany the whole text, which give the narration a natural authenticity. The majority of the photographs of old buildings and trading establishments have been taken from the Central State Archive of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. However, there are also pictures from private family collections.

In the book's epilogue the author writes, “Dzhul – Pishkek – Frunze – Bishkek... And all of these are names of our city”. He poses the rhetorical question: What will the new city of Bishkek be like? At the end the author has provided a table of the city's old and new street names in the appendix.

Khadicha Shambetalieva

Translated by Joseph Livesey
Shambetalieva, Khadicha. “English abstract of 'Vanishing Pishpek 1825-1926'". Translated by Joseph Livesey. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 102. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations abstract the Aga Khan University