Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan

Balykchy is a city on the western edge of Lake Issyk-Kul, where the highway from Bishkek splits to go to Naryn in one direction and Karakol in the other direction. The city was founded as a post between Pishpek and Karakol, and in 1871, there were only two clay huts for travelers and an inspector’s hut. Soon, fishing became the dominant industry in the town, and in 1909, the town was renamed Rybachie (“fishing” in Russian).

After Kyrgyzstan became independent in 1991, Rybachie was renamed Balykchy (“fisherman” in Kyrgyzstan). Though industry has declined since independence, Balykchy still has a population of about 42,000. There is a railroad connecting Bishkek and Balykchy, as well as highways and plenty of busses and taxis.