Central Asia: Kazakhstan - Things to See/Do in Almaty

By Cubie - February 09, 2016

Sis described Almaty as "feel like KL but cooler weather". I must say I share a similar feel. I'm sorry Almaty but comparative to our stops in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the people feels less friendly and helpful. I suppose it must've come with development. Almaty is definitely more developed than the balance of places we been in Central Asia.

1. Panfilov Park

The star attraction for me in this park is no other than Zenkov Cathedral. This cathedral is Kazakhstan's nearest distant relative to St. Basil's Cathedral and of Almaty's few surviving tsarist-era buildings. It was designed by AP Zenkov in 1904 and said to be built entirely of wood. No photos of the interior as we respect the 'no photography' sign on display. The interior is as stunning as the exterior. 

The park, however, is named for the Panfilov Heroes, 28 soldiers of an Almaty infantry unit who died fighting off Nazi tanks in a village outside Moscow in 1941. They are commemorated at a war memorial a short stroll from the cathedral. The memorial depicts soldiers from all 15 Soviet republics bursting out of a USSR map. 

Another memorial in the form of eternal flame honouring the fallen of 1917-1920 (Civil War) and 1941-1945 (WWII) is also found in this park. At the time of our visit, there was a rehearsal of a marching event. We watched for a little while before make our way to our next stop. 

2. Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments
This museum is the form of a wooden building, also the work of Zenkov. As the name presented, the exhibits are on folk musical instruments. 

3. Kok-Tobe
We toyed with the idea of getting to one of Almaty's surrounding mountains but given the limited time we had in Almaty, it didn't seem feasible so the alternative destination was Kok-Tobe. Kok Tobe or Green Hill is a 1100 metres hill. There were supposed to have options of cable car and by public bus but the cable car service is not running. so, it's worth to double check if it has re-open when you are visiting. That translated to, we took a bus. We were forewarned by our travel partners who shared the taxi with us on the long ride from Khiva to Bukhara about the non-running-cable cars. We found this post on getting to Kok Tobe via a bus as well. 
A 372m high TV tower

Upon reaching the hill, there is a very mini zoo and sad looking animals. There are also some amusement park to cater for tourists/visitors. We came for the view and I thought at the same time would check out the Beetles. Oh, and there are souvenirs stalls too.

4. Green Market
This place sells a good variety of food but the winning idea would be this breakfast cart, such a great idea. 

He called us and wanted us to take a photo of him

By the time we reached here where heaps of stalls were selling kimchi, we were approached by a guard and told that we are not to take any photos. So we kept our camera away.

5. Respublika Alany
It is a plaza or square showcasing the Independence Monument. It is actually a stone column with a replica Golden Man standing on a winged snow leopard. 

In 1969, in Issyk (about 70 km from Almaty) a skeleton was recovered from a burial mound. This skeleton was believed to be of an 18 year old Scythian warrior dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. This warrior was discovered wearing a gold-platted uniform, along with a gold dagger and sword. This soon became a symbol of Kazakhstan's past and heritage leading to the nickmane of "Golden Man"

At the bottom of this column, there's a sculpture in the form of a book. 

Around it's base are statues of a Kazakh family and behind a semi-cirular wall depicting scenes from Kazakhstan's history. 

A few steps along from road away from Republic Square, there's another monument. This Dawn of Freedom Monument, built in 1986 honours those killed and injured in a local uprising. 

6. Zhibek Zholy
It is actually a pedestrian only street dotted with art stands, buskers and cafes. There are some shopping centers along it as well. 

There's a "seat" for you to lie down and appreciate this recycling art
This piece of art is named "The Bride" and is made of plastic bags. 
7. Metro stations
Almaty Metro is only opened in December 2011. Unlikely it's neighbour, Uzbekistan, photography is ok. The metro is spacious, clean and has various form of artwork on the wall as well as on display. 

Side note: Ha! Back in Sydney ;)

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  1. I can't get my head around these images: Asian, post-modern, cubist, communist, a bit threatening, what? Anyway. Let me read all the stories and look at all the photos before I start musing aloud again. :)

    1. LOL - now that you mentioned it... it is a bit all over the place isn't it?