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Author Topic: Kazakhstan -Almaty - Алматы - Alma-Ata - Алма-Ата - Verniy - Верный  (Read 8507 times)

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Offline Isthmus

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Guppy, I went to Kharkov in Ukraine in 2012 and luckily I had started sending sms texts in Russian to the lady I was communicating with at the time and that way I inadvertently learnt the Cyrillic alphabet and some basic Russian words and phrases. Held me in good stead when travelling in Ukraine and more recently, Kazakhstan.

Since then I enrolled in an elementary Russian language course, much easier than self-teaching I found. Currently I try to often write in Russian (and occasionally in Kazakh) with the lady I will be visiting in Almaty. Its a good way to pick up new words.

I got the impression that Kharkov isn't exactly inundated with tourists (its not like Kiev I assume) so you wouldn't find Almaty that different in terms of tourist amenities I suspect.  Similar sized cities.  If anything, Almaty is a more important commercial hub and Kazakhstan's oil & gas industry does attract some western expat professional workers.

But Kazakhstan is an interesting country with some very diverse climatic regions as it has arid deserts, the Caspian sea, the vast steppe, towering mountain ranges in the south-east & east and green hills and lakes on the border with Russian Siberia. It also has the most ethnically diverse population in all of the FSU.

Offline mendeleyev

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Like parts of the USA Southwest deserts, those hot sandy areas can also enjoy quite a winter too!


As you can imagine this land which in historic times was part of the Persian and the Chinese empires, leans East.  There is a beauty here that is hard to describe.  Yes, many ethnic Russians live here, but is a different culture than Russian. 

Almaty has gone thru several name changes in history and even more recently was shortened from Alma-Ata to just Almaty.  Residents are fiercely loyal to their city.  Most are not happy about the capital being moved to the new city of Astana far to the north center of the country.  But geographically it made sense.  Almaty is much to close to the border to defend should Kazakhstan ever be threated, and as the 9th largest country in geographical size, it's people deserve a capital city more centrally located.

Nonetheless, Almaty the historic and former capital is a very special place.


Here are some very nice videos about Almaty:

- this one has a nice song about the city:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/qDqxpGGd9Fc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/qDqxpGGd9Fc</a>

Did you learn how to pronounce the city name while listening?


- Here is another chance to learn with a different but equally nice song with great photos:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/00j-d_05UiM" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/00j-d_05UiM</a>


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/47b6oSUtsjc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/47b6oSUtsjc</a>


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


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/kzXjEd1fzTA" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/kzXjEd1fzTA</a>


Okay, final question on this post:  What do you think of дильназ ахмадиева?  Hmm, what is дильназ ахмадиева?  SHE is considered one of the Kazakh superstars, a beauty.  If you listen to Western pop or light hip hop music you'll already know her and many of you will recognize this song! Watch this and see what you think of this gal born here in Alamty:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/m6QtN3NqRpI&amp;NR=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/m6QtN3NqRpI&amp;NR=1</a>

Offline mendeleyev

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Remont (remodeling) in progress. Please excuse the dust while we redesign the Almaty pages, starting at the beginning on page one.


Offline mendeleyev

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There are Soviet holdovers in Almaty, too, like this monument to the Kazakh defense of Moscow.

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(foto: City of Almaty)


Some of the architecture harkens back to the period of Russian Imperialism.

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Then there are Soviet styled housing and markets one can easily find almost anywhere in Eastern Europe and Asia.

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Kazakhstan's President-for-Life Nursultan Nazarbayev has carefully developed the cult of personality. You can find him almost anywhere.

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(fotos 3-8: Ilya Varlamov/http://zyalt.livejournal.com/987352.html)

Offline mendeleyev

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So what about the ladies? Do they all look like Professor and national poet Jannie Prashkevich (Жанны Прашкевич)?

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(foto: art.gazeta.kz)


Readers who are good with cameras might find themselves planning to take part in the event called "Photograph Almaty."

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The city web portal also features personals each month.

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As in all areas of the FSU, there are plenty of pretty ladies out in the villages and smaller towns, too.

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(foto: scene from a movie filming)



Thanks to WiMax, Kazakh ladies can have WiFi almost anywhere.

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(foto: WiMax)

Offline Isthmus

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Last September I spent a few days in Almaty, just passing through. Just came back from spending a week there and got to know the town and local culture(s) a bit better. I really like Алматы, an interesting, dynamic and expanding city. If it positions itself properly, Almaty can become the commercial, financial, economic and transportation hub for the whole of Central Asia.

Oh and there are plenty of pretty ladies there  :) Also Almaty has a real mixture of different ethnic groups, its not just Kazakhs and Russians that reside there.

Will post some more detailed thoughts and observations about Almaty and KZ when I have more time  :)

Offline mendeleyev

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Nice instrument leading to the original song and cool video.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSX_TPzTrBE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSX_TPzTrBE</a>

Offline Isthmus

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Cool clip Mendeleyev  :thumbsup:

I think I'll be heading back to Almaty in October  :)

BTW, the Kazakh 'dombra' instrument reminds me of similar striged instruments found in S.E. and Eastern Europe.

Offline treadmilldude

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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!

Tell me about it Guppy. I purchased the Pimmsleur Approach collection of Russian CD's on Ebay about a year and half ago. I have been through only the first 2 CD's and cannot get past the first 2 CD's......I do not know the Cryllic alphabet, perhaps that is preventing me from speaking it, I dunno? But what I do know is learning Russian is enormously difficult.

I took 4 years of Spanish in HS and I learned Spanish pretty easily. I mean Spanish is so darn easy to learn, at least for me Spanish was extremely extremely easy to learn. Russian, on the other hand.....oh my goodness, there is absolutely no comparison, for me at least, between learning Spanish and Russian. Spanish is a peace of cake. Russian....absolute nightmare. I am just going to have to rely on the woman I marry in Ukraine, when she moves to the US with me eventually, to teach me a fair amount of Russian, enough to where I can atleast have a very basic conversation with someone in Russian, eventually. So that whenever we  go back and visit her family in Ukraine every year, I will be able to semi-understand what is going on around me when her family and friends speak to each other, and not have the pathetic "Deer in the headlights" look one has when you cannot speak a word of Russian.  :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9FmOc0ofGc
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Offline AKA Luke

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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!

Tell me about it Guppy. I purchased the Pimmsleur Approach collection of Russian CD's on Ebay about a year and half ago. I have been through only the first 2 CD's and cannot get past the first 2 CD's......I do not know the Cryllic alphabet, perhaps that is preventing me from speaking it, I dunno? But what I do know is learning Russian is enormously difficult.

I took 4 years of Spanish in HS and I learned Spanish pretty easily. I mean Spanish is so darn easy to learn, at least for me Spanish was extremely extremely easy to learn. Russian, on the other hand.....oh my goodness, there is absolutely no comparison, for me at least, between learning Spanish and Russian. Spanish is a peace of cake. Russian....absolute nightmare. I am just going to have to rely on the woman I marry in Ukraine, when she moves to the US with me eventually, to teach me a fair amount of Russian, enough to where I can atleast have a very basic conversation with someone in Russian, eventually. So that whenever we  go back and visit her family in Ukraine every year, I will be able to semi-understand what is going on around me when her family and friends speak to each other, and not have the pathetic "Deer in the headlights" look one has when you cannot speak a word of Russian.  :)
It took me about 3 x 2hr one-on-one lessons to fullybunderstand the Cyrillic alphabet - those lessons weren't focused just on the alphabet but learning words too, so go figure.

So you started learning Russian 18 months ago? Was this part of your 15 year plan?
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Offline AKA Luke

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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!

Tell me about it Guppy. I purchased the Pimmsleur Approach collection of Russian CD's on Ebay about a year and half ago. I have been through only the first 2 CD's and cannot get past the first 2 CD's......I do not know the Cryllic alphabet, perhaps that is preventing me from speaking it, I dunno? But what I do know is learning Russian is enormously difficult.

I took 4 years of Spanish in HS and I learned Spanish pretty easily. I mean Spanish is so darn easy to learn, at least for me Spanish was extremely extremely easy to learn. Russian, on the other hand.....oh my goodness, there is absolutely no comparison, for me at least, between learning Spanish and Russian. Spanish is a peace of cake. Russian....absolute nightmare. I am just going to have to rely on the woman I marry in Ukraine, when she moves to the US with me eventually, to teach me a fair amount of Russian, enough to where I can atleast have a very basic conversation with someone in Russian, eventually. So that whenever we  go back and visit her family in Ukraine every year, I will be able to semi-understand what is going on around me when her family and friends speak to each other, and not have the pathetic "Deer in the headlights" look one has when you cannot speak a word of Russian.  :)

It took me about 3 x 2hr one-on-one lessons to fullybunderstand the Cyrillic alphabet - those lessons weren't focused just on the alphabet but learning words too, so go figure.

So you started learning Russian 18 months ago? Was this part of your 15 year plan?
I know I am I'm sure I am I'm Rotherham til I die!