A Travesty of Science – the Bishkek Zoological Museum
Well, it isn’t the worst in the region. I’ve seen a series of pretty dreadful museums scattered throughout Central Asia, and the worst offenders always seem to the be the Zoological Museums. Bishkek is no exception to this rule, though the exhibits are at least a little more lively than others I’ve seen.
The do play up the whole snow leopard shtick a bit, which I guess is appropriate given that it shows up on the Bishkek city symbol.
I mean, I guess if you’ve got a couple of old snow leopards sitting around you may as well stuff ’em up and put ’em on display. One of my personal favorites, though? A local wolf chewing on the head of a local sheep. I can only hope his body went towards an exciting game of Ulak Tyrtysh (or, colloquially amongst travelers, Headless Goat Polo).
Not pictured: the entomology hall (which just really didn’t seem worth documenting). The whole thing is housed in three small rooms that are pretty stuffed with dead animals (see what I did there?) and paltry labeling. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you go out of your way to see it while in Bishkek… but if you happen to be walking down Chuy and pass by, it might be worth 15 minutes of your time.
The Bishkek Zoological Museum is located on the north side of Chuy between Akiev and Umetalieva. Inside the gate for a big public building (University? Ministry of something or another?), the museum is on the right hand side of the courtyard. Entrance is 20 Som (15 for students) with an additional 20 to take photos.
If you’re in Bishkek as a tourist, the Hostel Inn is probably the closest cheap accommodation to the Bishkek Zoological Museum. Check them out – they’re also one of the cheapest city center accommodation options I know of. If you’re looking more upmarket, the Hyatt is a bit further on Sovietskaya. Also be sure to check out my Bishkek Travel Guide for thoughts on other (better?) things to do in town!