Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and the former
capital of the Republic.
Almaty has developed into Central Asia's most cosmopolitan
city with tremendous infrastructure, functioning banking
and communication systems, a relatively wealthy local
community and a large number of foreign expats. Well linked
with international flights, Almaty is a curious starting
or ending point for a Central Asian travelling Venture,
and in its comfort and interesting surroundings well worth
a day or two of your stay.
Almaty was the capital of Kazakhstan until November 1997.
The green city with plenty of parks and street cafes all
over town has long straight avenues and, in the centre,
a pleasant example of Soviet architecture with four storey
appartment blocks from the Stalin and Chrushchev eras.
The Zailijskiy Alatau Mountains rise like a wall along
Almaty's southern fringe and form a superb backdrop. The
population of the city is over 1,300,000 people. Almaty
has a colourful mix of nationalities with Kazaks 51%,
Russians 37%, and other nationalities 12%.
to history the city of Almaty was set on the place of
the ancient settlement Almaly, which dates from the III
century BC. In 1854 it was developed as a frontier fort
at the border of the Russian Empire. Artifacts, including
those from the Issyk burial-place, a burial-place of a
young warrior, located about 70 km far from Almaty. The
number of golden handicrafts found there exceeds 4 thousand
units which are exhibited at the Golden Hall of the Central
Museum of the Republic.
Cathedral is surrounded by Panfilov Park, a pleasant
rectangle of greenery. The Park was named after the heroes
of World War II. The Cathedral is one of the few tzarist-era
buildings to survive the 1911 earthquake, despite the
fact it is built entirely of wood and constructed without
nails. It is also one of the eight most unique wooden
buildings in the world. After the revolution it was used
as historical museum, cultural centre, and just in 1990
again it was given a status of a Russian Orthodox cathedral.
The Central State Museum provides an introduction
to Kazakhstan's history and includes a miniature replica
of the country's chief archeological treasure, the Golden
Man - a warrior's costume made from 4.000 gold pieces,
many finely decorated with animal motifs.
Museum of National Musical Instruments is on the edge
of Panfilov Park close to the Cathedral, and is located
in the building, called the House of Officers, which in
the last century was used by military officers for their
meetings. Various national musical instruments, the oldest
of which are dated from the XVII th. century are exhibited
here. Besides an informative excursion about the Museum,
you can get a chance to listen to the tunes of all the
Medeo is a picturesque valley located 15 km above
Almaty. A popular weekend hangout for Almaty's youth,
it features one of the world's largest ice-skating rinks
For which it is known throughout the former USSR. Further
one can climb up a dike, protecting the city from mud
floods with pretty views of the surrounding mountain range.
At 2,200 m on top of the valley lies the fancy ski resort
of Chimbulak with various lifts, where the season lasts
from November to April. There are various hikes into the
surrounding mountains with fantastic views and good climbs.