Alma-Ata, or Almaty, is the former capital of Kazakhstan and an important cultural center of the republic. In terms of popularity among tourists, the city is in no way inferior to Nur-Sultan, and the mountain landscape and nature deserve special attention. Together with travel company tiptoptrek.com, we tell you what to see in Almaty on the weekend.

The weather in Almaty is typical for a continental climate, but in general it is warmer than in the rest of Kazakhstan. Frosts begin in mid-October, before which the average temperature reaches 10–12 °C. The coldest month is January (−4.7 °C), the warmest is July (+33.8 °C).

One of the main attractions of the city. The Palace of the Republic is a beautiful building from the 1970s that now hosts major concerts, congresses and conferences. Opposite the building is the square of the same name. It hosts demonstrations, holiday celebrations, and the holiday of Nauryz, or the spring equinox, was celebrated. In the center of the square there is the Independence Monument and significant architectural monuments: Akimat (Government House), the President’s Residence and the Schoolchildren’s Palace.

Park named after the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

On the former territory of apple orchards there is now a huge park with a singing 30-meter fountain and rich fauna (Tien Shan spruces and many types of roses). In the center of the park is the sculptural composition “Kazakhstan”; among the attractions are a Japanese garden and a lovers’ alley. All this can be seen from the observation deck.

The main religious building of the city, a building in the architectural traditions of the Timurids. The mosque seats about 8,000 people, the height of the dome is 36 meters. Tourists can also visit it, the main thing is to remember the dress code. A lawn has been laid out near the mosque and a 47-meter minaret has been installed.

Holy Ascension Cathedral

Temple of the early 20th century, a cultural monument, the main Orthodox church of Almaty. The building is made of wood in the Russian Art Nouveau style. The main decoration of the interior is a three-tier iconostasis. There is a library and Sunday school on the territory of the Ascension Cathedral.

Museum of Folk Musical Instruments

The exhibition is housed in a building similar to an old Russian tower, and consists of various musical instruments – both Kazakh and other peoples. String, noise, wind and other exhibits are exhibited in seven halls – more than a thousand pieces in total. Also on the territory of the museum you can visit the archeology hall and the musical instrument workshop.

Zhibek-Zholy street

The street along which the Great Silk Road ran. Zhibek-Zholy is very similar to Moscow’s Arbat: life here is also constantly in full swing, citizens and tourists are strolling, there are many street musicians, performers and painters. You can relax in a cafe or look into the souvenir shop – there are plenty of them here. Among the attractions there is even its own “Tsoi Wall”: a portrait of a rock musician is painted on a street arch.

Almaty Botanical Garden

The largest park in the city, with more than 7,000 plant species. The flora includes specimens typical for Kazakhstan and exotic ones. There are several groves on the territory; squirrels jump in the trees – you can feed them by hand. The park also has greenhouses with rare and exotic plants, but you can visit them only with special permission – you need to contact the administration of the botanical garden.

Ski resort Medeu

The complex is located outside of Almaty, but not far, and travel will cost 150 tenge (about 26 rubles). Medeu is located at an altitude of 1691 meters. In winter, skiers come here, and the world’s largest high-altitude artificial skating rink is built on the territory. During the warm season, festivals and major events are held in Medeu (for example, World Yoga Day). The cable car operates year-round.

Nature
Tamgaly-Tas

An open-air Buddhist temple in the Ili River tract. Tamgaly-Tas is translated as “written stones,” which quite comprehensively describes this place. Thousands of petroglyphs depicting Buddha are painted on the rocks. There is also another ancient cultural monument here – a stone with ancient Turkic runes from the 8th–9th centuries.

Charyn Canyon

The canyon is 154 meters long and 300 meters high, with very rich flora and fauna listed in the Red Book. On the territory of the Charyn Canyon there is a tourist complex with developed infrastructure – there is a cafe, bungalows for accommodation and gazebos. You can walk through relict ash and turango groves and get acquainted with the traditions of the local population.

Big Almaty Lake

The lake among the mountain slopes is interesting because the water in it changes color depending on the season: from light green to deep turquoise and blue. Lake Almaty is a reserve source of water for the city, so swimming in it is prohibited. However, in the highlands, where the water does not warm up above 8 °C, such desires usually do not arise.

Aksai Gorge

Part of the Ili-Alatau National Park, one of the most beautiful natural attractions of Kazakhstan. All the attributes of such places are collected here: mountain glacial lakes, alpine meadows, slopes with spruce forests. On the territory there is the Aksai Monastery of the early 20th century and the Akzharsky collapse, which was formed after a strong earthquake in 1887.

Gastronomy
Kazakh cuisine is characterized by rich and fatty dishes. In the republic they prefer meat (lamb, beef and horse meat), baked goods and dairy products. What is a must-try in Kazakhstan?

Beshbarmak

The most popular national Kazakh dish. Lamb or beef is boiled with spices, onions are stewed separately in the same broth and noodles are cooked. It is customary to eat Beshbarmak with your hands, but at the visitor’s request, they will serve utensils.

Manti

Large steamed dumplings with various fillings. The most popular is chopped lamb with onions and peppers. You should also try manti with meat and pumpkin, potatoes, and mushrooms. The dish is served with broth, butter, herbs or sour milk sauce.

Palau (Kazakh pilaf)

In fact, the Kazakh version is not very different from its analogues, it just usually contains more meat. In addition, dried apricots are added to Kazakh pilaf, which gives the dish a sweetish-sour taste.

Shelpek

Traditional Kazakh pancakes. They can be eaten either with other dishes (instead of bread) or separately – simply or with sauce.

Kurt

A popular Kazakh food is balls or flatbreads made from cow, sheep, mare or goat milk. The taste is something between dried cottage cheese, cheese and powdered milk. Kurt can be salty or sweet.

Zhent

The national Kazakh dessert is roasted crushed millet and dried crushed cottage cheese with honey, sugar and melted butter. Nuts, raisins or dried fruits are usually added to it. The dish is very sweet and is traditionally served with tea.

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