Almaty and Alma-Ata – is the former capital of the country and one of the most beautiful cities at the foot of the emerald ridges of the Tien Shan. It is located on the south-east of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau at a height of 600 to 1650 meters above sea level and covers an area, which equals 339.3 square kilometers.
The climate in this region is continental, with large variations not only annually, but daily temperatures. At an altitude of 500 meters suburban streets run off down to the north, the steppe and semi-desert, going close to hot Prikaskelen Muyun. At the same time, the southern residential areas are located at an altitude of 1500-1700 meters above sea level, Medeo and Kamenskiy Plato feel the breath of Arctic glaciers.
According to historians, this area was inhabited already in ancient times. It is well aware that in the VI – III centuries BC Saks tribes and then Usuns lived here, as it is evidenced by numerous burial mounds.
In the Middle Ages, Almaty became one of the commercial, agricultural and handicraft centers on the Great Silk Road, also had its own mint. However, after a devastating invasion by Genghis Khan, this area came in gloom and desolation, and up to the XVI century, it housed only a typical small village.
New life for the city began in 1854 year, when the troops of the Russian army came to these parts and established a military fortification, named it as «Faithful.»
In 1921 year, already during the Soviet decision of the CEC of the Turkestan ASSR in the town got the name of Alma-Ata, which was interpreted as the «father-apple». Since 1927 year, Alma-Ata was the capital of the Kazakh SSR, then in 1936 — the capital of the Kazakh SSR, and from 1991 year it became the capital of the independent republic of Kazakhstan. It was only in 1997 year, when guided by a number of quite serious reasons, the state capital was moved from Almaty to the city of Akmal, afterwards called as Astana.
To date, according to official data from 2011 year 1,434,755 people live in the city, representing 13% of the population throughout the republic, although informal sources put the figure at 2 million, taking into account undocumented migrants. The percentage of the population of Almaty is as following: Kazakhs and 53%, Russian 33%, Uighurs — 5%, Tatars -2%, 2% of Koreans and Germans, Ukrainians, Chinese and others consist a little over 5%.
The official language in Almaty is Kazakh, but the city is truly a «multilingual», along with an official, there is still widely used in Russian and English.
Almaty today — this is one of the largest hubs of the country, there are two airports, two railway stations and bus stations in this city. The needs of the citizens are fully satisfied – there is an extensive network of buses, a trolley-buses, trams and taxis here.
With the loss of capital status Almaty did not cease to be the most beautiful city in the country, its business and cultural center, which fully confirms its new title — «the southern capital of the state.»
Political importance of Almaty is underlined with its position as a link to Central Asian countries. A favorable climate, unique natural landscape and rich cultural life, confirm the status of the city as one of the most attractive to tourists.
Attractions in Almaty.
«Koktobe» or «Green Hill» – this is namely how it is translated from Kazakh the name of this elevation (1070 meters) — is one of the most visited attractions in Almaty and a favorite place of residents. The fact is, the city famous TV tower was built right on its side. And even though the relay facility is not available to the public, a wonderful view over the city can be seen from the mountain of Koktobe, which is especially beautiful at night. In addition, Koktobe is a popular recreation area in the city, a magnet for tourists here.
City Tower is situated at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level — the highest structure of Almaty. Its height is about 372 meters. The reason for the high-altitude of the giant is a strong foundation in the form of a three-level basement sectioned, able to withstand an earthquake up to 10 magnitudes. The body of the tower is a metal stepped polyhedron with the diameter of 18 meters at the base, gradually tapering to the top. At altitudes of 146 and 252 meters there are grounds for maintenance services of the object. At night, illuminated by powerful searchlights, this tower is a fascinating spectacle, which can be visible from almost anywhere in the city.
Holy Ascension Cathedral.
Ascension Cathedral – is one of the main attractions of beautiful park in Almaty, dedicated to the memory of twenty eight Panfilov Guardsmen — the defenders of Moscow. This masterpiece of engineering with the height of 56 meters, was built in 1904 year by architect A.P. Zenkov. The project is well-known for the fact that the building of the cathedral was built from Tien Shan blue spruce without a single nail. That was namely A.P. Zenkov, who was engaged in developing new methods of construction in seismic zones, and the Cathedral, built according to its draft, which in 1911 year withstood the earthquake of 10 points — is a visual embodiment of the talent of the famous architect. During the Soviet period the cathedral was a museum, but in 1995 year it was transferred into the Orthodox Church and after that in 1997 year here church services were resumed again.
That is a truly unique structure, worthy of decorating the area of the Republic, was given to the people by the team led by Shota Valikhanov architect. Majestic, easily swooping in a dazzling blue sky of the southern capital «gold» man manages the tame winged leopard-Irbis. And as if by magic, the entire history of the Kazakh land is presented all around him.
«Medeo» – is considered to be the world famous mountain ice skating rink, built in 1972 year in the picturesque valley of the same name, situated at a distance of 15 kilometers from Almaty. The mild climate, low pressure, the optimal level of solar radiation, wonderful weather and ice, frozen from crystal clear mountain water, make Medeo to be one of the best skating rinks in the whole world. Perhaps because of this, the ice facility is so rich on sports world records, which during 33 years of existence of Medeo already exceeded 125.
By the way, a little above the rink there is the famous ski resort «Chimbulak», which welcomes tourists already from 1954 year, and recently has been opened after extensive renovation.