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Fish vendors at Balykchy selling dried fish to a transit bus passenger
Fish vendors at Balykchy selling dried fish to a transit bus passenger
Coat of arms of Balykchy
Coat of arms
Balykchy is located in Kyrgyzstan
Location in Kyrgyzstan
Coordinates: 42°28′N 76°11′E / 42.467°N 76.183°E / 42.467; 76.183
Country  Kyrgyzstan
Province Issyk Kul Province
 • Total 38 km2 (15 sq mi)
Population (2009)[1]
 • Total 42,380

Balykchy (Kyrgyz: Балыкчы. Balıkçı) is a town with a population of 42,380 people (2009 Census) located at the western end of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan, at 42°28′N 76°11′E / 42.467°N 76.183°E / 42.467; 76.183 and an elevation of about 1,900 metres. A major industrial and transport centre (wool and crop processing, lake shipping, rail terminal, and road junction) during the Soviet era, it lost most of its economic base after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the closure of virtually all of its industrial facilities.

The main road from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, to China, a part of the ancient Great Silk Road, passes through Balykchy before it starts its long and arduous way across the alpine ranges of Naryn Province in central Kyrgyzstan to the Chinese border at Torugart Pass. Plans for the rail road from the Chinese border to Balykchy, where the line from Bishkek currently ends, are under discussion. Two other roads go around the north and south sides of Issyk Kul to Karakol and then around the east end of the Kungey Alatau to the far southeast of Kazakhstan. [2]


The history of Balykchy begins with a post station and farm, established by M.I.Bachin, retired soldier of Naryn Fort in Kyzyl Tokoy area in 1884. In the end of 19-th - beginning of 20-th century the settlement was known as Ketmaldy (by river's name), Novodmitrievka, after family name of owner of local stud-farm E.S.Dmitriev, and Bachino (after M.I Bachin). It was named Rybachye (fishing place in Russian) in 1909-1993.[3] In the early 1990s, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the town was known as Issyk-Kul, taking the name of the adjacent lake. Shortly after independence, its name was changed to Balykchy [1] which means fisherman in Kyrgyz language (and also in its sister language Turkish).


Balykchy is eight largest town in Kyrgyzstan with an enumerated population, according to the Population and Housing Census of 2009, of 39,295 or resident population of 42,380.

Historical populations in Balykchy
Year Pop.
1935 2,000
1939 5,400
1970 28,555
1979 33,716
1989 43,265
1999 42,346
2009 39,295

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 2003 video game Command & Conquer: Generals, Chinese forces must dislodge terrorist forces entrenched inside Balykchy, using Chinese weapons and occasional U.S. Air Force bombers.


  1. ^ a b Population and Housing Census 2009. Book 3 (in tables). Provinces of Kyrgyzstan: Issyk-Kul Province (Перепись населения и жилищного фонда Кыргызской Республики 2009. Книга 3 (в таблицах). Регионы Кыргызстана: Иссык-Кульская область, Bishkek: National Committee on Statistics, 2010 
  2. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc. "Geographical information on Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan". Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  3. ^ a b Иссык-Куль. Нарын:Энциклопедия [Encyclopedia of Issyk-Kul and Naryn Oblasts] (in Russian). Bishkek: Chief Editorial Board of Kyrgyz Soviet Encyclopedia. 1994. p. 512. ISBN 5-89750-009-6. 
Balykchy Government Office

External links[edit]

Media related to Balykchy at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 42°27′40″N 76°10′49″E / 42.46111°N 76.18028°E / 42.46111; 76.18028