"Almaty - The "Big Apple" of Kazakhstan" Almaty by WorldPassenger

Almaty Travel Guide: 345 reviews and 780 photos

I only got to visit Almaty for a short one day, two night trip. So I did not get to see as much as I would under more normal circumstances. However I did get to do a little sightseeing and I ate at a great restaurant that I am writing up in this section. I am also going to provide a couple of videos that you might enjoy. But right now let me tell you a little bit about Almaty.

History records that the current city of Almaty was built on top of an ancient Kazakh settlement which dates from the 3rd century BC. Over the years it has had many names – Vernyi, later Alma-Ata and now - Almaty. At one time a big and bustling city on the ancient Silk Road, ancient Almaty ultimately fell into decline and then that ancient city was destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century AD and lay in ruins. Finally, in 1854, the Russians founded a frontier fort here and named it Zailiyskoe. A year later, it was renamed Vernoye, under which name it existed until 1921.

Today Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan with about 2 million inhabitants, is known as the commercial heart of Kazakhstan and was for many years Kazakhstan’s governmental capital. Due to its location right next to the Tien Shan Mountains, it became known as one of the most beautiful cities of central Asia. When the Turkistan-Siberian Railroad was built in the 1920s, it became a major terminal station. In 1929 Almaty was made the capital of the Kazak Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) and remained the governmental capital of Kazakhstan until July 1998 when the capital was moved to Astana.

Almaty in Kazakh means "Father of Apples" or another translation is “Rich in Apples”, and there is speculation that Almaty was home to the ancestral apple trees that now grow throughout the world. So Almaty can rightfully claim the title of "The Big Apple" alongside New York City.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice airport; good people; good food; great scenery
  • Cons:A bit run down
  • In a nutshell:I enjoyed my brief stay in Almaty and would visit again
  • Last visit to Almaty: Apr 2008
  • Intro Written Jul 21, 2008
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