The largest city in Kazakhstan is Almaty. This large metropolis has a population of 1,518,000. It is located at the foot of the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains and borders Kyrgyzstan to the south. Because Astana has less than 500,000 residents, the country’s capital city was not included.
The City hosts many museums, parks, and cultural venues, including a lively opera scene with six major theaters staging performances throughout the year. Visitors can also enjoy hiking or skiing in the surrounding mountains.
Almaty’s bread and butter is agriculture, and it is one of the centers for growing certain fresh fruits and vegetables. The main attraction is the beautiful mountains that surround the city. Hiking and skiing are very popular activities for residents of Almaty, which is also home to many winter sports facilities.
Typical of a former Soviet city, Almaty is home to the State University of Arts and Culture, Kazakh National Conservatory, and many theaters.
What is there for a visitor to do in Almaty?
A visitor to Almaty can enjoy hikes and skiing in the mountains. Almaty has a pleasant temperate due to its location at an altitude that moderates temperature extremes between day and night temperatures. The city hosts many museums, parks, and cultural venues. Saryarka Velodrome is one of the famous ones, where bike races are held throughout the year.
Other attractions include:
- The Big Almaty Lake has a recreational area for fishing and water sports such as rowing, sailing, and windsurfing
- The Opera Theater, which provides access to musical performances
- Alatau State Nature Reserve, which has opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing
- The Museum of Folk Musical Instruments, which is dedicated to preserving Kazakh musical heritage
- Kok-Tobe, a mountain top located on the outskirts of Almaty with an amusement park, café, and observation deck
- A visit to the open market where one can buy fresh fruits and vegetables or sample some Kazakh snacks such as shashlik (kebabs) and plov (pilaf)