Almaty, the city of millions
Almaty, Alma-Ata or Алматы is a metropolis in many different ways: more than a million inhabitants, functions, apples and names. The former capital of Kazakhstan is the largest city in the country. With its good infrastructure it is a big difference with the rest of the country. That is also good news for you as a traveler. Now you don’t have to sit in a shaky van for hours, going to for example, Shymbulak Skiing Area.
The city has changed its name many times. In the time of the Russian tsars, the city was called Verny. The name was changed to Almaty in 1921 and from 1994 the city was officially named Almaty. Almaty was the capital of Kazakhstan until 1997. Now this is Astana, also now known as Nur-Sultan.
Almaty means ‘rich in apples’ in Kazakh. The former name of Alma-Ata also has an “apple” in the meaning of the word. That’s not surprising when you know that there are many (wild) apple forests can be found around the city.
Out and about in Almaty
Big government buildings, open squares, many educational institutions – including several universities – and a busy economic and social climate. A former capital with charisma. You certainly don’t have to get bored in the city, there is always something to do for everyone.
We start our tour at the Zenkov Cathedral. This Russian Orthodox cathedral from 1907 can be found in an eastern city park. It is about 56 meters high and built entirely out of wood. The original name was “Cathedral of the Ascension of Christ”, but the structure is now better known by the name of the architect who designed it: Andrei Pavlovich Zenkov.
The television tower of Almaty also attracts attention. This tower was built around 1980 and is 371.5 meters high. Two high-speed elevators transport people within the tower at lightning speed to their destination. Unfortunately, this special place is not open to the public.
The large Barakholka bazaar is also worth a visit. This market attracts many people to see or buy, among other things, huge amounts of clothing racks, toys and (building) materials.
A final out-of-the-ordinary sight of the city is the Beatles monument. The world famous band is sculptured on a bench at Kok Tobe Park and is definitely worth an (Instagram) visit.
Golden Tip: Visit Kok Tobe Park with the gondola lift. It costs a bit of money, but you get a gigantic nice view in return!