Coordinates: 42°27′40″N 76°10′49″E / 42.46111°N 76.18028°E / 42.46111; 76.18028
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Balykchy government office
Balykchy government office
Flag of Balykchy
Coat of arms of Balykchy
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
RegionIssyk-Kul Region
Current from1954
 • Total38 km2 (15 sq mi)
1,630 m (5,350 ft)
 • Total51,305
 • Density1,400/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
Postal code
Area code+996 3944

Balykchy (Kyrgyz: Балыкчы) 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),[2] and its resident population was 42,875 in 2021 (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. [3]


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.[4] 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 seventh largest town in Kyrgyzstan with a resident population, as of 2021, of 50,814 or 51,305 including Orto-Tokoy.[1]

Historical populations in Balykchy
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [1][2][4]


Climate data for Balykchy (1991–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.4
Source: NOAA[5]


The small old airport is no longer in operation. The passenger railway station marks the end of the railway line from Bishkek; it has newly begun direct services in 2018 to/from Tashkent, as well as long existing rail services to Kazakhstan.[6] In March 2018, Uzbekistan Railways began a new service, connecting Tashkent with Balykchy.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Population of regions, districts, towns, urban-type settlements, rural communities and villages of Kyrgyz Republic" (XLS) (in Russian). National Statistics Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. 2021. Archived from the original on 10 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b "2009 population and housing census of the Kyrgyz Republic: Issyk-Kul Region" (PDF) (in Russian). National Statistics Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic. 2010. pp. 11, 16.
  3. ^ Falling Rain Genomics, Inc. "Geographical information on Balykchy, Kyrgyzstan". Retrieved 2008-11-27.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Taldykorgan Climate Normals 1991–2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  6. ^ "Sale of tickets for passenger train Tashkent-Rybachye-Tashkent started".
  7. ^ "Uzbekistan Opens New Railway Routes to Kyrgyzstan, Russia". EurasiaNet. March 22, 2018. A weekly train running the route from the capital of Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan's Issyk-Kul region was set to depart on its maiden trip on the evening of March 22 [...] The train traveling from Tashkent to Balykchy, a town on the western end of Issyk-Kul Lake, will be able to carry up to 300 passengers.
Road in Balykchy

External links[edit]

Media related to Balykchy at Wikimedia Commons

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