WELCOME TO ALMATY
Why should to visit Almaty City in Kazakhstan
The City of Apples
The ancient name for Almaty is "Alma Ata" which means “father of apples” in the Kazakh and it is here that the humble fruit is thought to have originated.
In 1830 Estonian biologist Carl Friedrich von Ledebour stumbled upon apples growing in the foothills of the nearby Tian Shan Mountains. Scientists were able to identify these as the probable ancestor to to today’s domestic apples.
Leafy green trees hang over wide, clean sidewalks sprinkled with hip cafes and trendy restaurants. Cocktail bars and salsa clubs pulsate until the wee hours of the morning. And all this is set against jagged snow-covered mountain peaks. Welcome to the coolest city you’ve never heard of. And it’s in Kazakhstan.
Yes, you hear that right: it’s time to visit Almaty, Kazakhstan. In fact, Almaty, Kazakhstan is one of the best places to travel in 2019 and beyond.
If the image of Sasha Baron Cohen’s character “Borat” springs to mind when you hear the word Kazakhstan, you need to check your assumptions at the door. Because, whether you’re into fine dining, outdoor sports, trendy cocktails, or partying the night away, here are 10 reasons to book your next travel adventure to cosmopolitan Almaty:
10 Reasons It’s The Coolest City You’ve Never Heard Of
1. A Hip Cafe Awaits Around Every Corner in Almaty
Cafe culture is the lifeblood of Almaty’s social scene. Come evening in the summer, visitors to Almaty will find locals sipping tea and smoking hookah on the patios of numerous smartly-styled Almaty cafes strewn about the city (check out the 5 best cafes in Almaty). Inside, baristas whip up excellent espresso drinks while chefs plate hip dishes. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better selection of cafes this side of Europe!
2. Almaty Parties Until Dawn
Party animals will love visiting Almaty too, as the city’s clubs stay throbbing until the wee hours of the morning. Start your night with a customized cocktail at trendy Barmaglot, then head on over to one of Almaty’s many clubs to dance the night away. Whether you like pop, house, electronic music, Almaty has a club for you. There is even an extremely popular salsa circuit!
3. Almaty is a Day Hiker’s Paradise
Almaty sits just north of the stunning Tian Shan mountain range. That means that you can spend your entire day hiking in the wilderness, and still make it back for dinner and drinks in Almaty’s city center. For hiking, you can visit beautiful Lake Almaty or take a cheap and fast city bus to the world’s highest ice skating rink in Medeu, where several great hiking trails start.http://medey.kz/en/
This 14km trail will take you to the top of Furmanov Peak (3,029metres) and will take around 7 hours to complete.
Kok Zhailyau Trail
Kok Zhailyau means “green meadow” in Kazakh and this trek takes you through some beautiful alpine pastures. It’s a relatively easy hike and takes around 4 hours round trip from Medeu.
If you don’t fancy taking the cable car, you can walk to Shymbulak in around 2 hours.
4. You Can Be on the Ski Slopes in Just Minutes
Shymbulak Ski Resort is the largest such resort in Central Asia. The resort lies at 2,200 metres (7,200 feet) above sea level in the Zaiilisky Alatau Mountain Range (part of the Tian Shan) above Almaty in Kazakhstan. Shymbulak was the first downhill ski run in the former Soviet Union.
There are three ski lifts at the resort which culminate at Talgar Pass (3,200 metres) with great views to the city below. If you do not ski, it’s still possible to buy a ticket for the ski lifts to take in the views. The resort is easily reachable by cable car from nearby Medeu (home of the world’s highest ice-skating rink). See below for exact information on getting to the resort.
The resort has many other activities available including horse riding, tracked vehicle rides, paragliding and more. See their website for more info.https://shymbulak.com/
5. You Can Take a Cable Car for Beautiful City and Mountain Views
From the city center, the Kok-Tobe cable car will whisk you to a nearby hilltop where you can take in panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. While there, you can enjoy a meal at a trendy restaurant or even take a ride on a ferris wheel.
This large terrace sitauted at the back of Kok Tobe Mountain offers fantastic views across the city. The best place in town to sip a cold beer and watch the sunset while feasting on shashlyk. Dinner and beer for under 5,000 ($13).
2. Veranda, Masanchi St 75/100, Almaty 050000, Kazakhstan
A wonderful Georgian restaurant set in a garden. A little more upmarket and mains with a glass of wine will cost around $20.
3. Coffee Inn, Baitursynov St 80, Almaty 050000, Kazakhstan
A great little terrace bar and restaurant serving Kazakh and European dishes. Lively with locals at all times of the day. Expect to pay around $10 for a beer and shashlyk/burger
6. Visit Colorful Ascension/Zenkov Cathedral
Flattened by earthquakes more than once, Almaty is not a city awash with historic buildings. Standing proudly defiant in leafy Panfilov Park, one dazzling exception is the Cathedral of the Holy Ascension – a confection of pastel-hued gables, brightly painted tiles and gilded domes – that rises almost 60m and was built without a single nail.
A magnificent gilt altarpiece dominates the opulent interior, where (predominantly) women – their heads covered in beautiful scarves – light candles and worship in hushed reverence
It’s a great place to experience Kazakhstan’s refreshingly open attitude to religion: Muslims and Atheists often visit along with their Russian Orthodox friends.
7. There’s some impressive socialist realist art and architecture
A stone’s throw from the Ascension Cathedral, Almaty’s Soviet War Memorial looms dramatically in front of the forbidding bulk of city’s former army headquarters: a powerfully built, jutting-jawed Red Army infantryman leaps, grenade in hand, from a relief of grim-faced soldiers. Oddly this is the city’s prime favoured spot for wedding pictures.
For a more nuanced taste of Soviet art, head to the Kasteyev State Arts Museum, undoubtedly the city’s finest. The museum is named after Abilkhan Kasteev, regarded as Kazakhstan’s preeminent painter, and among the vast collection is a fascinating room devoted to his depictions of Soviet life, from epic canvases of the rapidly industrializing landscape to intimate portraits of peasant life.http://www.gmirk.kz/en/home
8. Shop At Green Bazaar
Tourists who visit this market are delighted to see the colourful atmosphere and the variety of goods available. They can even buy small souvenirs for their friends and family back home. There are different sections for each item, so, if you go to the Meat section, you would be amazed to see the variety of meat selling and all of them are placed in different sections like Chicken, Beef and horse meat which a local favourite here. And if you love cooking, one can pick up a variety of local spices and seasonings available along with accompaniments like rice and vegetables. One also has small shops which provide services like tailoring and shoe repair.
There is a pedestrianised shopping area nearby, a few blocks away where you can find street artists, buskers etc. along with many food stalls to satisfy your taste buds. So, if you love the sun and the air, go to Zelyony Bazaar and roam and shop.
9. Take A Ride On The Metro
In most parts of the world taking a metro isn’t a special experience, but in the post Soviet Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan they’re ornate worlks of art, two of the most notable being Baikonur, Jibek Joli and Auezov Theatre Stations.
On 01st December, 2011, the Almaty subway opened its doors to Almaty residents and guests of the southern capital. Almaty Metro carries passengers daily from 06:00 to 24:00.
"Raiymbek batyr" - station on Raiymbek ave., Corner Furmanova
"Zhibek Zholy" - station on the street. Gogol and Panfilov
"Almaly" - station on the street. Panfilova and Karasay Batyr
"Abay" - station on Abay and Kunaev Ave.
"Baykonyr" - station on Abay and Baitursynov Ave.
"Theater named after M. Auezov" - station on Abay and Mukanov Ave.
"Alatau" - station on Abay and Zharokov Ave.
10. Almaty is Highly Walkable
Almaty’s wide sidewalks, ubiquitous greenery, and gorgeous parks are just inviting you to amble along for a stroll after a sip of coffee at one of our favorite Almaty cafes. With a compact city center less than a couple kilometers across, it’s best to explore this city by foot.
You're coming to Almaty for business and you want to see the town. You're a young traveler and you want to get off the beaten trail. You're an expat living in Kazakhstan, but there's still so much you want to see. Take a guided tour with Dennis Keen, Walking Almaty's resident urbanist and know-it-all!
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