Your Unofficial Guide to Kyrgyz Republic

Into the Unknown — the Bishkek Architecture Guide

Into the Unknown — the Bishkek Architecture Guide

Travel & Tourism Hackathon, which took place in Bishkek in December 2016, brought some interesting ideas for making life of tourists in the Kyrgyz Republic better. As a part of it there were several ideation sessions before the major event, where entrepreneurs and experts in tourism shared their experience and ideas. One of the sessions had Johannes Chudoba, who made a presentation on mapping. 

On top of sharing his experience as a mapping expert, Johannes Chudoba turned out to be a friend to the authors of the book on the Bishkek architecture, one of the contributors to it as well as the one, who probably will work on translating the book into English and Russian. As there are not many recent works on the architecture of Bishkek, we couldn't miss a chance to get more details about the book from Mr. Chudoba. The book is a guide on the Bishkek architecture currently available only in German and one can get one for EUR 28 on the publisher's website or contacting Johannes Chudoba at johannes.chudoba@gmail.com

Good architecture can be found across the world. The architectural guides by DOM publishers are far more than just studious architectural reference books – they are expedition guides into the unknown and give way to new perspectives on a sometimes foreign world. Furthermore, they help to understand that the architecture of a city is more than the sum of its attractions.
— DOM publishers

We know you as a mapping expert, but that's not everything obviously, could you, please, tell us more about yourself?

I'm, ... well, I used to describe myself mainly as a development adviser, more specifically a strategic planning adviser for the UN. I teach a course at AUCA (currently on German literature) and I teach IGCSE History. I'm also involved in half a dozen projects that relate to both development and communication, including a project to establish a system of avalanche risk management for back-country skiers & snowboarders, and publishing a guide to Bishkek, based on the architectural guide published in German. 

When we met on the ideation session of the Travel & Tourism Hackathon, you've shown us a book in German about the Bishkek architecture. What was your involvement into writing it?

I was not directly involved (except to answer one or two minor questions); it was put together in German by two friends of mine, and I am hoping to manage the publication of versions in English and Russian. 

Why Bishkek? It's amazing, not sure there are lots of books about that in Russian even. How does one come up with the idea to write a book about the Bishkek architecture? What is the story behind writing the book?

We'd have to forward the question to Hraban and Benedikt. The publisher specializes in architecture. Bishkek has many fascinating stories to tell, if you know where to look. 

What is the most interesting and unique about architecture of Bishkek?

When I first visited in 1992, I was struck by the combination of a Soviet architecture that even though it was very much the same as what looked awfully grey and drab in Eastern Europe with elements uniquely Central Asian, and especially the green of the city  that made it beautiful. Learning more about the stories behind Soviet urban planning has helped me see the city through different eyes. It's very much alive and I really like the eclectic diversity. 

What period does the book cover? How much time did it take to write it?

Mainly from the late 1800s to the present. I think most of the writing was done over a 12-month period, but a lot of research had been done before that.

DOM publishers is a publisher of premium books on architecture and design, as well as architectural journals founded in 2005. 

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