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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
Flag of Balykchy
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
Region Issyk-Kul Region
 • Total 38 km2 (15 sq mi)
Population (2009)[1]
 • Total 42,875
 • Density 1,100/km2 (2,900/sq mi)

Balykchy (Kyrgyz: Балыкчы - Balıkçı) is a town at the western end of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan, at an elevation of about 1,900 metres. Its area is 38 square kilometres (15 sq mi), and its resident population was 42,875 in 2009 (both including Orto-Tokoy).[1] 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. At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century the settlement was known as Ketmaldy (the nearby river's name), Novodmitrievka (after the family name of the owner of a local stud-farm; E.S.Dmitriev), and Bachino (after M. I. Bachin). It was named Rybachye (fishing place in Russian) from 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 the Kyrgyz language (and also in its sister language Turkish).


Balykchy is the eighth largest town in Kyrgyzstan with a resident population, according to the Population and Housing Census of 2009, of 42,380 or 42,875 including Orto-Tokoy.

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 42,875

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 c 2009 population census of the Kyrgyz Republic: Issyk-Kul Region at the Wayback Machine (archived 2011-08-10)
  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