Frunze Museum and Dobovy Park

Bishkek Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 25 › view all entries
A Jolly Milkman product: accept no substitute
Today began exceptionally early, as we were to visit the company for which Irina's brother Andrey worked, and a company car was due to collect us at an ungodly hour of the morning. Andrey is the Finance Director of the Kyrgyz subsidiary of a Moscow-based multinational company that makes dairy products. These are marketed under the Jolly Milkman label, which shows the Jolly Milkman himself, who to me looks more like a Prussian cavalry officer of the old school, bounding across a verdant landscape with a pail and a milk-churn whilst wearing a towering white baker's or chef's hat.

Being chauffeur-driven in a posh Mercedes is not something that I experience very often, so I enjoyed it to the full. On arrival we went to Andrey's office, and I was struck by the bizarre situation: here I was, on only my third day in a virtually unknown former Soviet republic 4000 miles from home, but sitting in an office that could be anywhere in England or America, looking at all-too-familiar volumes of international accounting standards and discussing the problems involved in allocating overheads to production units; the very last thing that I was expecting! But after a welcome cup of tea magicked up by Andrey's secretary (I was really feeling jet-lagged - see picture) we visited the factory itself; and because I love looking at machines that visibly do things I enjoyed particularly those that created the packages: a roll of cardboard fed in at one end, product of the moment arriving on a long conveyor belt, much cutting and folding, and neatly-packaged product emerging at the other end.
This could be Rotterdam or anywhere, Liverpool or Rome: in Andrey's office I am very jetlagged; the little boxes in front of Irina are part of Andrey's patent system for allocating overheads

Our return journey in the company's Mercedes took us past the hot-water plant, which had clearly seen better days; its propensity to produce cold water was quite understandable. I only hoped that it was swarming with engineers seeking to transmute hot-water-in-principle into hot-water-in-fact. Back at the house Irina put together a picnic and filled a couple of Thermos flasks, after which we headed for the Frunze museum in the centre of Bishkek, just behind the American University.

Mikhail Frunze was a great Soviet military hero during the first two decades of the twentieth century, and in 1926, after his somewhat bathetic death during stomach surgery, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, until then called Pishpek, was renamed Frunze in his honour.
Mikhail Frunze's birthplace, dismantled and then rebuilt in the Museum
This name was discarded after independence in 1991 and the capital reverted to a more modern version of its former name - Bishkek; hence the somewhat confusing circumstance that the airport code for Bishkek is FRU. The museum contains many photographs, relics and memorabilia, all attractively presented and of considerable interest even to someone like me who is somewhat museum-resistant. However, much of the information is given in Russian or Kyrgyz, and I had the advantage of having a personal translator at my side, without whom it would all have been a bit mystifying. Probably the outstanding single exhibit is the cottage that was his birthplace, which was taken down and rebuilt in the museum; it has period furnishings and domestic artefacts, and you can walk through the rooms.
The amazingly lush Dubovy Park, showing fountains, the rose garden, and one of the many pieces of sculpture
This alone is worth the price of admission which, incidentally, is much less if you happen to be Kyrgyz and produce your passport, as Irina found to her advantage!

Then to Dubovy Park for our picnic, sitting on a bench in leafy shade, which was followed by an extended stroll looking at all the miscellaneous pieces of sculpture with which the place abounds; there is also a rose-garden that in early June was looking at its best. However, by mid-afternoon it was getting excessively hot and so we returned to the house to watch a DVD of Breakfast at Tiffany's. I didn't think that it did the book justice, I wanted to strangle the insufferable smug guy, whoever he was, and Audrey Hepburn was much too old for the part of Holly Golightly. I had always assumed that BaT's was a good film: travel certainly blows away one's preconceptions.
Carriage used in the Russian Civil War 1918-20, in the Frunze Museum
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
A Jolly Milkman product: accept no…
A Jolly Milkman product: accept n…
This could be Rotterdam or anywher…
This could be Rotterdam or anywhe…
Mikhail Frunzes birthplace, disma…
Mikhail Frunze's birthplace, dism…
The amazingly lush Dubovy Park, sh…
The amazingly lush Dubovy Park, s…
Carriage used in the Russian Civil…
Carriage used in the Russian Civi…
A closer view of the roses
A closer view of the roses
Bishkek Sights & Attractions review
This museum is dedicated to Mikhail Frunze, a military hero in the first two decades of the twentieth century - he died during stomach surgery in 1925… read entire review
Bishkek Sights & Attractions review
This was definitely one of my favourite places in Bishkek. Undoubtedly part of its attraction was due to the unexpectedness of finding so much green… read entire review
photo by: londonstudent