Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, in the Soviet time (since 1921) was called Alma-Ata, which literally means ‘The father of apples’ (alma-apple, ata-father). The city got its name for the famous local cultivated varieties - Aport apple. Today, it’s the largest city in the country and has many things to offer. Here are the five places not to be missed in Almaty.
If you ask a local what the symbols of the city are (places they associate with the city), one of the first things that would pop up is the Kok Tobe TV tower (or sometimes called the Almaty tower), located on the Kok Tobe hill. It’s one of the highest TV towers in the world - 371,5 m above the sea level. Unfortunately, it's forbidden to get inside the tower to enjoy the view from the top because it's still working.
Another symbol that will come quickly after the tower is the Kok Tobe park, that is also located on the top of the same hill. Kok tobe in the Kazakh language literally means ‘Blue hill’ (Kok - blue and tobe - hill). The best way to get there is by cable car. It’s not expensive and totally worth the view, but it won’t be enough. There are also some viewing platforms on the territory of the park. As soon as you arrive, an apple-shaped ‘fountain of desires’ steals the show. The park is really particular because it offers a lot of varied entertainments, such as roller coaster that is located on the mountainside or a statue of Fab Four (the Beatles).
One more symbol of the apple capital that shouldn't be missed is the Hotel Kazakhstan. As famous in Almaty as Hotel California song in the United States. Locals call it the hotel with the crown because the top of it reminds of a crown. It was built in 1977, and until 2003, it was the tallest building in the country, and until 2008, the tallest in the city. In any case, it’s still the tallest earthquake-resistant structure of Almaty.
1. In the 1990s, it was the only place in the city where the hamburgers were sold out;
2. You can see Hotel Kazakhstan on the local banknote (5000 tenge).
Number 4 on the list is the Golden Warrior Monument, also called Altyn adam, which literally translates to the ‘golden man’. It stands on the Republic Square. The Golden Warrior monument represents the independence of Kazakhstan and was inspired by an archaeological finding of a young saks warrior (17-18 years old) in the Essik village.
These four places in Almaty have earned their place on the list over the time, but there’s also a new one that quickly became an additional symbol of the city.
Although the metro is not really a tourist attraction, locals used to go there just to admire it because the opening was a long-awaited event. Almaty metro took 23 years to be completed and had only nine stations. The first passenger was Nursultan Nazarbayev (the president of Kazakhstan). The metro in Almaty is not just transportation since the exhibitions, fashion and TV shows are being organized here.
Here are the five places not to be missed in Almaty. So, make sure you see them all when you come.
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.