The World's #1 Russian, Ukrainian & Eastern European Discussion & Information Forum - RUA!

This Is the Premier Discussion Forum on the Net for Information and Discussion about Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Discuss Culture, Politics, Travelling, Language, International Relationships and More. Chat with Travellers, Locals, Residents and Expats. Ask and Answer Questions about Travel, Culture, Relationships, Applying for Visas, Translators, Interpreters, and More. Give Advice, Read Trip Reports, Share Experiences and Make Friends.

Author Topic: Kazakhstan -Almaty - Алматы - Alma-Ata - Алма-Ата - Verniy - Верный  (Read 8283 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Almaty (Алматы)

Welcome to what is often called the birthplace of the apple!

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

The name "Almaty" derives from the Kazakh word for "apple" (алма), and thus is often translated as a city "rich with apples". The older Soviet-era Russian version of its name, Alma-Ata literally means "Grandfather of apples". In the surrounding region, there is a great genetic diversity among the wild apples and there are numerous scientific institutes from around the world located in Almaty to study the science of the apple.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

Some Kazakhs claim that Almaty could be the site of the garden of Eden.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(Map from refworld.org)

Formerly named Alma-Ata (Алма-Ата), Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and was the historic capital of the Republic until the government moved the capital to the new city of Astana in recent years.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

The population of the city is over 1.3 million people with the approximate population breakdown of Kazaks 51%, Russians 37%, and other nationalities 12%. Kazakhstan is majority Muslim but very moderate and there is a large Orthodox Christian population in the country.

The city is served by the Almaty International Airport, (ALA).

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(foto: Aziz Akhmedov)


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(foto: Fanil Lis)


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(foto: Fanil Lis)


Many residents own cars as well and motorcycles are very popular with younger generations.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(foto: Ilya Varlamov)

Although it has lost the status of capital, Almaty remains the largest financial, economic and cultural center of Central Asia. It accommodates numerous business centers, theaters, museums, art galleries, exhibition halls and countless modern entertainment complexes (ultra modern movie theaters, casinos, nightclubs, parks, restaurants, and cafes.

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
There is a Metro in Almaty and a new line is currently under construction.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(City of Almaty Metro map.)

Residents point to their modern transportation system with its abundant buses, trams and trolleys.  We'll take a quick ride on a bus:

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


First we have to pay the fare and this machine takes small yellow bus tokens which are sold at most bus stations and sometimes by cashiers on the bus. The price is 80 Tenge (KZT), about .58 cents in USD.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

After paying the fare we'll take a seat.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


Next we'll take a tram ride. Trams and trolleybuses look very much alike so an easy way to tell the difference is that trams ride on steel rails while trolleybuses have wheels and tires just like ordinary buses but like trams their electric engines are powered by overhead electric wires.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


We'll pay the fare of 80 Tenge which is consistent across all forms of public transport. If you don't have a token and there is no cashier on the tram, simply purchase a token from the driver.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


Then find a seat.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

(All fotos above unless noted are by Ilya Varlamov)

An aerial tramway line connects downtown Almaty with a popular recreation area the top of Kök Töbe (Kazakh: Көктөбе, which means 'Green Hill'), a mountain just to the southeast. The city television tower, Alma-Ata Tower, is located on the hill, as well as a variety of amusement-park type attractions and touristy restaurants.

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

With only a few days in Almaty, you can see a lot. Start with the city's most famous attraction, the tram to Ak-Tyube hill and TV tower, leaving right from downtown. Grab a meal or beer and enjoy the view at one of the many restaurants and bars on top. Next, try Medeo, an Olympic-level skating rink, and the highest in the world, a 15 min. drive from the city. From there, get even higher at nearby Chimbulak ski resort, take the lift and enjoy an aerial view of the city (grab something warm though, as it takes you quite high (3,200m) and it gets very cold up there).

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

If you have spare day, head to the mountains to Big Almaty Lake and observatory, or Talgar gorge (trout farm, ostrich farm and nomadic burial sites where the famous Golden Man was discovered) If not in the mood for cold mountains, go in the opposite direction to Kapchagai Lake and the spectacular Ili River, with ancient Buddhist petroglyphs and a huge fort built for the movie "Nomad".



Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Here is an excellent link to Almaty hotels.

There are housing shortages in the major cities like Almaty and Astana and so there are lotteries each month designed to award housing as construction projects are completed.

In 2008, social rights activist Vladimir Tretyakov (not to be confused with the honourable Vladimir Tretyakov, Rector of Ural State University) was in Almaty for the 2008 grants of public housing to applicants.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


There were far more applicants than apartments available and the crowd gathered in the wee hours of the morning waiting for the Public Housing offices to be opened. The crowd continued to grow larger as morning came.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


Some young men began to climb on the hot water pipes which run into the building, attempting to enter through windows.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


Others tried to climb tree limbs and then jump into the office windows.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


Of course the police came and stablized the situation.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


Offline Nessibelle

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 605
  • Country: 00
  • Gender: Female
  • Status: Married
A Kazakh Girl (maybe not typical appearance)

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Building the Almaty of the future:

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


Tall communications (TV-radio) tower/spire to right of photo:

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(Almaty centre, foto: Moscow Times)


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(foto: Dmitry Dvoretsky)


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]
(foto: Roman Dimitrov)

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Peaceful neighborhoods:


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]



Of course with a city with so much traffic one can expect police stops:

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]



Traffic cameras:

[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
[ Guests cannot view attachments ]



[ Guests cannot view attachments ]




Shopping inside the "Mega" complex:


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

Offline Manny

  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15236
  • Country: gb
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
It looks a lot more modern than one would imagine doesn't it?

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
The investment and build up of the city since the 1990's has been nothing short of breathtaking. This is a city of such ancient history and mystery because of it's Eastern connections.

Birthplace of the apple. Now that is history!  tiphat

Yet the city seems to be developing in a way that modernizes for the future while honouring it's well deserved heritage.

A nice video tour of the city:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/qb-tv3Cpytk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/qb-tv3Cpytk</a>

Offline mendeleyev

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12849
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Russia
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Victory Day celebrations, 09 May 2010 in Almaty:


[ Guests cannot view attachments ]



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Thank you sir, for your service in the war.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ]

Offline Isthmus

  • Member
  • Posts: 439
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Kazakhstan
  • Status: Dating
  • Trips: 1-5
Spent a few days in Almaty recently. Liked it and regret I didn't spend more time there. The old city centre is a typical Soviet city. The newer parts are modern and developing rapidly. A very green city with trees everywhere and the mountains to the south form a stunning backdrop to the city.

I could see myself going back there.  :thumbsup:




Offline Isthmus

  • Member
  • Posts: 439
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Kazakhstan
  • Status: Dating
  • Trips: 1-5
Heading back to Almaty next month, better buy some subzero temperature winter clothing  ;D

Offline GuppyCaptain

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1185
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Actively on the Search
  • Status: Dating
  • Trips: 1-5
Wow, now I'm even more intrigued by Kazakhstan and Almaty itself. Isthmus, how would you describe it as far as friendliness and how an English speaking Westerner would fair there?

Offline Isthmus

  • Member
  • Posts: 439
  • Country: au
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Kazakhstan
  • Status: Dating
  • Trips: 1-5
Hello Guppy, I only spent a few days in Almaty but spent a week in Astana. I preferred Almaty as a city, has more character and it is an eclectic city where you can go a few blocks and find quite a different ambience and architectural style. Almaty also has a very multicultural population, the two biggest groups being Kazakh and Russian but there are many other ethnic groups present there.

Found the locals to be generally friendly. As for English language, I urge you to learn some Russian, in particular the Cyrillic alphabet because the Kazakhs also use this.

Younger Kazakhs are learning English and in the future that will make KZ more tourist friendly but for now, having some basic Russian would come in very handy.

I will probably spend about 10 days in Almaty on my next trip so should have more insightful observations than right now  :)

Offline GuppyCaptain

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1185
  • Country: us
  • Gender: Male
  • Actively on the Search
  • Status: Dating
  • Trips: 1-5
Hello Guppy, I only spent a few days in Almaty but spent a week in Astana. I preferred Almaty as a city, has more character and it is an eclectic city where you can go a few blocks and find quite a different ambience and architectural style. Almaty also has a very multicultural population, the two biggest groups being Kazakh and Russian but there are many other ethnic groups present there.

Found the locals to be generally friendly. As for English language, I urge you to learn some Russian, in particular the Cyrillic alphabet because the Kazakhs also use this.

Younger Kazakhs are learning English and in the future that will make KZ more tourist friendly but for now, having some basic Russian would come in very handy.

I will probably spend about 10 days in Almaty on my next trip so should have more insightful observations than right now  :)

Thanks Isthmus. From my recent trip to Ukraine one of the biggest things I took away was the fact that knowing the Cyrillic alphabet is practically mandatory when traveling to the FSU. I'm a fairly experienced traveler and can usually slug through a lot of languages that are written with Roman letters. That was not the case in Ukraine. I would imagine that a country that's truly out in the middle of nowhere like KZ would be even less tourist friendly. Still, it seems like an intriguing place with a lot of natural beauty. Who wouldn't want to see the ninth largest country in the world?

I am teaching myself some Russian and haven't gotten cracking on the alphabet yet but I WILL know it before my next trip. Absolutely. For me learning languages is fun, but Russian is DIFFICULT!