Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan and still the largest city of the country. It’s a big and important cultural and financial centre in Central Asia. A city which has something to offer for everyone.
The history of the city goes back to 1000-900 BC in the Bronze Age, when some farmers established settlements in the area of Almaty. That small settlement has grown to be a major city with 1.7 million population.
The name of the city is connected with the nearby medieval settlement Almatu. ”Alma” means apple in Kazakh and almatu is often translated as “ full of apples”. The original Almatau means “ apple mountain and the other version of the name Alma-Ata means “father of apples”. Unquestionably the name is associated with the diversity of wild apples growing in the region. There is even a theory that apple was originated from here, making Almaty the garden of Eden.
Usually, the city views are accompanied by the snow-capped mountain tops, as Almaty is situated a the foot of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountain range. The best time to visit the city is from June to September when the temperature is relatively moderate. Almaty is the main transportation hub, that’s why many travellers stop by here. It’s a nice spot to stay for a few days, enjoy the parks, museums, shops, markets, go hiking or skiing. Almaty is a vibrant city full of restaurants, cafes, bars which are full most of the time. Though the capital is moved to Nur-Sultan (formerly Astan) Almaty still stays the heart of the country.
One of the main landmarks of the city is the small park on the top of the Kok-Tobe mountain. It is the highest point in the city, which offers nice views of the city. Sunset especially is a good time to be there. The park is also an entertainment centre and is called after the mountain-Kok Tobe Park. Central Park is also a popular place among locals and tourists. However, it’s a more calm and nice place to have a rest and enjoy the weather in sunny days. The most popular museums are The Central State Museum of Kazakhstan, The Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments, The State Museum of Arts after Kasteyev.
Almaty is in a very beautiful location and besides the city sights there some interesting places outside fo the city. Among them is Charyn Canyon, which feels like the Grand Canyon in the USA. It is 3-4 hours far away from the city. On the way, you will have an opportunity to visit the Kolsai Lakes. A one-day trip can be organized to Big Almaty Lake, which is another natural wonder 1-hour-drive away from the city.