Coat of arms
Almaty is located in Kazakhstan
Location in Kazakhstan
Coordinates: 43°16′39″N 76°53′45″E / 43.2775°N 76.89583°E / 43.2775; 76.89583Coordinates: 43°16′39″N 76°53′45″E / 43.2775°N 76.89583°E / 43.2775; 76.89583
Country Kazakhstan
First settled 10–9th century BC
Founded 1854
Incorporated (city) 1867
 – Akim (mayor) Akhmetzhan Yesimov
 – Total 324.8 km2 (125.4 sq mi)
Elevation 500–1,700 m (1,640–5,577 ft)
Population (August 1, 2010)[1]
 – Total 1,421,868
 – Density 4,152/km2 (10,753.6/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+6 (UTC+6)
Postal code 050000–050063
Area code(s) +7 727[2]
ISO 3166-2 ALA
License plate A

Almaty (Kazakh: Алматы / Almatı / الماتى ), also known by its former names Verny (Russian: Верный, "Faithful," prior to 1921) and Alma-Ata (Russian: Алма́-Ата́, from 1921), is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500 (as of September 1, 2008).[3] This represents approximately 9% of the population of the country.

Almaty was the capital of the Kazakh SSR and its successor Kazakhstan from 1929 to 1997. Despite losing its status as the capital to Astana in 1997, Almaty remains the major commercial center of Kazakhstan. The city is located in a mountainous area of southern Kazakhstan, near the border with Kyrgyzstan.



From 1927 to 1936, Almaty was the capital of Kazakh ASSR. From 1936 to 1991, it was the capital of Kazakh SSR. From 1991 to 1997, it was the capital of Kazakhstan. Almaty remains the largest, most developed, and most ethnically and culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan. The city is located in the foothills of Trans-Ili Alatau (or Zailiysky Alatau) in the extreme south-east and has a peculiar, relatively mild climate regime with a difficult environmental situation.

In 1997, the capital moved to Astana; since then, Almaty has been referred to as the southern capital of Kazakhstan.


The name "Almaty" derives from the Kazakh word for 'apple' (алма), and thus is often translated as "full of apples;" alma is also 'apple' in other Turkic languages, as well as in Hungarian. The older Soviet-era Russian version of its name, Alma-Ata, is an arbitrary composition of two Kazakh words, literally Apple-Father, which does not make sense. There is great genetic diversity among the wild apples in the region surrounding Almaty; the region is thought to be the ancestral home of the apple, and the wild Malus sieversii is considered a likely candidate for the ancestor of the modern domestic apple. The area is often visited by researchers and scientists from around the world in order to learn more about the complex systems of genetics, and also to discover the true beginnings of the domestic apple.

Nowadays many pop artists from Kazakhstan refer to Almaty as Apple City in their songs.


Prehistoric Almaty

During 1000–900 BC in the Bronze Age the first farmers and cattle-breeders established settlements on the territory of Almaty.

During the Saka’s period (from 700 BC to the beginning of the Common Era), these lands were chosen for residence by Saka tribes and later Uisun tribes inhabiting the territory north of the Tian Shan mountain range. The evidences of these times are numerous burial tumuli and ancient settlements, especially giant burial mounds of Saka tsars. The most famous archaeological finds are the Golden man from the Issyk Kurgan, Zhalauly treasure, Kargaly diadem, Zhetysu arts bronze (boilers, lamps and altars). During the period of Saka and uisun governance, Almaty became the early education center.[4]

Silver dirham coin minted in Almaty in 684 AD

Middle Ages

The next stage of Almaty evolution is attributed to the Middle Ages (8–10th centuries) and is characterized by city culture development, transfer to a settled way of living, farming and handicraft development, and the emergence of a number of towns and cities in the territory of Zhetysu.

In the 10–14th centuries, settlements in the territory of the so called "Big Almaty" became part of the trade routes of the Silk Road. At that time, Almaty became one of the trade, craft and agricultural centers on the Silk Road and possessed an official mint. The city was first mentioned as Almatu in books from the 13th century.

15th–18th centuries

In the 15th–18th centuries, the city was on the way to degradation as trade activities were decreasing on this part of the Silk Road. Notwithstanding, this period was saturated with very important political events that had significant impact on the history of Almaty and Kazakhstan as a whole. It was a period of crucial ethnic and political transformations. The Kazakh state and nation were founded here, close to Almaty.

These lands also witnessed the tragic developments related to the Dzungar intervention and rigorous efforts of the Kazakh to protect their land and preserve independence. In 1730 the Kazakh defeated the Dzungar in the Anyrakay mountains, 70 km to north-west from Almaty. It was a critical moment of the Patriotic War between Kazakhs and Dzungars.

Foundation of Verniy

Zenkov Cathedral, a 19th-century Russian Orthodox cathedral located in Panfilov Park, is the second tallest wooden building in the world.[5]

On 4 February 1854 the modern history of the city began with the strengthening of the Russian piedmont Fort Verniy nearby the Zailiysky Alatau mountain range between Bolshaya and Malaya Almatinka rivers. The construction of the Verniy Fort was almost finished by autumn 1854. It was a fenced pentagon and one of its sides was built along the Malaya Almatinka. Later, wood fence was replaced with the wall of brick with embrasures. Main facilities were erected around the big square for training and parading.[6]

In 1855 the first displaced Kazakh appeared in Verniy. Since 1856, Verniy started accepting Russian peasants. They founded the Bolshaya Almatinskaya Stanitsa (Cossack village) nearby the fortification. The inflow of migrants was increasing and led to construction of the Malaya Almatinskaya Stanitsa and Tatarskaya (Tashkentskaya) sloboda. It was the place of settlement for Tatar mechants and craftsmen.

In 1867 the Verniy Fort was transformed into the town and called Almatinsk. However, the population did not like the new name of the town and soon the town was re-named as Verniy.

According to the First City Plan, the city perimeters were 2 km on the south along Almatinka river, and 3 km on the west. The new city area was divided into residential parts, and the latter — into districts. Three categories of the city buildings were distinguished. Buildings of the first and second categories were two-storied or, at least, one-storied constructions with the high semi-basement. Buildings of categories I and II were erected around and in the center of the city, others — on the outskirts.

On 28 May 1887, at 4 a.m., an earthquake almost totally destroyed Verniy in 11–12 minutes. Brick buildings were mostly damaged. As a result, people were inclined to build up one-storied construction made of wood or adobe.

The Soviet Era

In 1918, Verniy established Soviet power. The city with the region became part of the Turkestan autonomy (Tatarstan) in the RSFSR.

February 5, 1921, it was decided to rename Verniy to Alma-Ata, which was one of the ancient name of the area: Almaty - "apple."

On April 3, 1927 the capital of Kazak ASSR moved from Kyzylorda to Alma-Ata, within the RSFSR. This was an additional impetus for intensive development. From 1936 (since the formation of the Kazakh SSR), Alma-Ata was the capital of the first Kazakh SSR, and then it used to be a capital of an independent Kazakhstan.

Industrialization in the Soviet period

After 1941, due to the mass evacuation of factories and workers from the European part of Soviet Union during World War II, Alma-Ata of administrative and trading center with a border-security destination and an underdeveloped industry has become one of the largest industrial centers of the Soviet Union. A special role in this process was played by the location of the city, which was in the rearward. During the years 1941-1945 the industrial potential of the city has increased significantly. The economically active population of the city has grown from 104 thousand in 1919 to 365,000 in 1968. In 1967 the city had 145 enterprises, with the bulk of their weight - light and food industry, which is slightly different from a typical Soviet city bias towards heavy industry and capital goods production. The main industries are food processing (36% of gross industrial output), based largely on local abundant fruit and vegetable raw materials, and light industry (31%). The main plants and the food industry: Meat, flour and cereals (pasta with a factory), milk, sparkling wines, canned fruit, tobacco factories, confectionery, distillery plants, wine, brewery, yeast, tea-packing factory, light industry, textile and fur mills, factories, cotton spinning, knitting, carpets, footwear, apparel, printing and a Almaty Cotton combine. Heavy industry accounted for 33% of the production was presented by the enterprises of heavy engineering, electrical engineering there are factories, foundry and engineering, car repair, repair bearing, building materials, woodworking, concrete structures and structural elements, house-building.

20th century Almaty

Almaty from the Revolution of 1917 to World War II


In 1921, the joint solemn sitting was summoned for the participation of the representative of government regional and sub-regional institutions, professional trades, the Muslim people to make a decision to assign a new name to Verniy — Alma-Ata.

In 1926, the Council of Labour and Defence approved the construction of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway railway that was a crucial element of the republic reconstruction, specifically on the east and southeast of the republic. The Turkestan-Siberia Railway construction was also a decisive economic aspect that foreordained the destiny of Alma-Ata as a capital of Kazakh ASSR. In 1930 the construction of the highway and railway to the Alma-Ata station was completed.

On 2 March 1927, It was the initiative of the Central Executive Committee of the Kazakh Republic to transfer the capital from Kyzyl-Orda to Alma-Ata. The VI Kazakhstani Congress approved this initiative.[7]

On 29 April 1927, it was officially decided on the sitting of the Russian SFSR Committee to transfer the capital of the Kazakh Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic from Kyzyl-Orda to Alma-Ata.

Besides, the Alma-Ata airport was opened in 1930 and people from the capital of Kazakhstan could fly now from Alma-Ata to Moscow. Alma-Ata became the air gate to Kazakhstan. Transformation of the small town into the capital of the Republic was supplied by the large-scaled construction of new administrative and government facilities and housing.

The Central Mosque of Almaty

Given the transfer of the capital of Kazakhstan to Alma-Ata, in 1936 the Architecture and Planning Bureau elaborated the General Plan aimed at re-creating Alma-Ata as the new cultural and comfortable capital of Kazakhstan. The Plan was based on the existing rectangular system of districts that would further be strengthened and reconstructed.

Almaty in World War II

During World War II the city territory was changed to a large extent. To organize the home front and concentrate industrial and material resources, the residential stock was compressed to arrange accommodation for 26,000 persons evacuated. Alma-Ata hosted over 30 industrial facilities from the front areas, 8 evacuated hospitals, 15 institutes, universities and technical schools, around 20 cultural institutions, etc. Motion picture production companies from Leningrad, Kiev and Moscow were also evacuated to Alma-Ata.

Over 52,000 Alma-Ata residents received the title: Owing to self-denying labour. 48 residents were granted the title of Hero of The Soviet Union. Three rifle divisions were raised in Alma-Ata, including the well-known 8th Guards Rifle Division 'Panfilov', along with 2 rifle battalions and 3 aviation regiments that were raised on the bases of the air club of Alma-Ata.

Almaty from 1945 to 2000

Furmanov street

From 1966 to 1971, 1,400,000 square meters of public and cooperative housing were built. Annually, around 300,000 square meters of dwellings were under construction, and most of the buildings made during this time were earthquake-proof multi-storied buildings. Furthermore, construction unification and type-design practice diversified architectural forms, leading to a more varied cityscape. During this period, lots of schools, hospitals, cultural and entertainment facilities were constructed, including Lenin’s Palace, Kazakhstan Hotel, and the “Medeo” sports complex.

The Medeu Dam, designed to protect the city of Almaty and the Medeo skating rink from catastrophic mudflows, was built in 1966 and reinforced a number of times in the 1960s and 1970s.

The supersonic transport Tupolev Tu-144 went into service on 26 December 1975, flying mail and freight between Moscow and Alma-Ata in preparation for passenger services, which commenced in November 1977. The Aeroflot flight on 1 June 1978 was the Tu-144's 55th and last scheduled passenger service.

Since 1981, the underground Almaty Metro construction project has been in development.

On 16 December 1986 Jeltoksan riot took place in response to General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's dismissal of Dinmukhamed Kunayev.

In 1993 the government made a decision to rename Alma-Ata. The new name of the city is Almaty.

In 1997 the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev approved the Decree to transfer the capital from Almaty to Astana.[8]

On 1 July 1998 a Law was passed concerning the special status of Almaty as a scientific, cultural, historical, financial and industrial center.

21st century Almaty

Modern Almaty

The new 2030 General Plan of Almaty was developed in 1998 and aims at forming ecologically safe, secure and socially comfortable living conditions. The main objective is to promote Almaty’s image as a garden-city. One of the components of the General Plan is to continue multi-storied and individual construction, reorganize industrial territories, improve transport infrastructure and launch Almaty Metro.[citation needed]


The climate in Almaty is humid continental climate with very warm summers and cold winters. It’s characterized by the influence of mountain-valley circulation, which is especially evident in the northern part of the city, located directly in the transition zone of the mountain slopes to the plains.

Average temperature of air is equal to 9 °C, the coldest month is January -7 °C (at average), the warmest month (July) 23 °C (at average). In average years frost starts at about October 14 ends at about April 18 and sustained extreme cold from about December 19 to about February 23, a period of about 67 days. Weather with temperature above 30 °C is average for about 36 days a year. In the center of Almaty, like any large city, there is a "heat island" - average daily temperature contrast between the northern and southern suburbs of the city is 3.8% and 0.8 °C in the coldest and 2.2% and 2.6 °C in the hottest five days. Therefore, frost in the city center starts about 7 days later and finishes 3 days earlier than in the northern suburbs. Annual precipitation is about 600 to 650 mm (23.6 to 25.6 in). April and May are the wettest months during which about a third of the city’s annual precipitation is received, smallest amount of precipitation are in October and November. Driest season occurs in August and September. Average date of the formation of stable snow is 30 of October, though its appearance varies from 5 of October until 21 of November. The average date of snowmelt is April 2 (ranging from 26 of February to 12 of May). The city and its suburbs have fog for about 50–70 days annually.

It is not uncommon for snow and a cold snap to hit Almaty as late as the end of May. For example in the last quarter century, such snowfalls were recorded on 5/13/1985, 01/05/1989, 05/05/1993 and 18/05/1998. The record latest snowfall in Almaty was on 17 of June, 1987.

Almaty sometimes experiences winter rain, despite heavy preceding snowfall and low temperatures. The most memorable winter rain took place at December 16, 1996 during a military parade to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic.

Almaty Weather Station’s GM mostly records south-easterly wind (30%), its resistance increases during the summer (37%) and falls in winter (19%). Wind speeds exceed 15 m/s on about 15 days a year, on average.

Climate data for Almaty
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.2
Average high °C (°F) −0.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −4.9
Average low °C (°F) −9.6
Record low °C (°F) −30.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 33
Source: [1]


Ethnic groups (2003)[citation needed]:

According to the USSR Census of 1989, population of Almaty was 1,071,900; Kazakhstan Census of 1999 reported 1,129,400.[9]


Almaty business centre

Almaty generates approximately 20 per cent of Kazakhstan's GDP(or $36 billion in 2010); Almaty is a key financial centre in Central Asia and it's considered to be a Gamma Global City at a similar level to Detroit, Manchester, Edinburgh, San Salvador, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Port Louis, San Diego, Birmingham, Doha, Calgary, Columbus.

One of the largest industries in Almaty is finance, and its financial exports make it a large contributor to the Kazakhstan's balance of payments. Almaty is home to the BTA Bank, which is the largest bank in Central Asia, Kaz Kom Bank and other major banks. The Kazakhstan Stock Exchange is based in Almaty.

Almaty is also developing as the regional financial and business centre — RFCA.[citation needed].

Currently under construction is 'Almaty Financial District and Esentai Park'. This was designed by T.J. Gottesdiener, who designed 7 World Trade Center in New York City, Time Warner Center in New York City and Tokyo Midtown. Its publicised aim is to become the largest business centre in Central Asia. Esentai Tower, a building in the park, is the tallest mixed-use building in Kazakhstan.

Along with professional services, media companies are concentrated in Almaty as well. The media distribution industry has been growing rapidly since 2006. Major broadcasting channels KTK and NTK are based in Almaty, as are several national newspapers.

There are plans to construct a Western Europe-Western China highway, passing through Almaty. A new port in Almaty expects to handle about 45 million tonnes of cargo each year.

Air Astana is headquartered in the Air Astana Centre 1 in Almaty.[10] Prior to their dissolution, Air Kazakhstan[11] and Kazakhstan Airlines[12] were also headquartered in Almaty.


Kök Töbe

Downtown Almaty as seen from Kok Tobe

An aerial tramway line connects downtown Almaty with a popular recreation area at the top of Kök Töbe (Kazakh: Көктөбе, which means 'Blue Hill'), a mountain just to the southeast. The city television tower, Alma-Ata Tower, is located on the hill, as well as a variety of amusement-park type attractions and touristy restaurants.


A section of the Zodiac Fountain (1979)

According to the city's Department of Natural Resources and Resource Use Management,[13] as of 2007 the city has 125 fountain groups or isolated fountains. Among them is the "Oriental Calendar" Fountain, whose 12 sculpture figures represent the 12 animals of the Kazakh 12-year animal cycle (similar to its Chinese counterpart).

Universities of Almaty

  • International IT University (IITU)
  • Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU)
  • University of International Business
  • Kazakh National Medical University
  • Almaty Institute of Power Engineering and Telecommunications
  • Kazakh-American University
  • Kazakh National Technical University (KazNTU)
  • Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU)
  • Suleyman Demirel University (SDU)
  • KIMEP (Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research)
  • Kazakh-American University (KAU)
  • Kazakh National Academy of Arts named by T.Zhurgenov
  • Kazakh Academy of Sciences
  • Kazakh Academy of Labour and Social Relations
  • Almaty State University (named after Abay)
  • Turan University
  • Kazakhstan University of Global Relationships and Languages (КазУМОиМЯ)
  • Central Asian University (ЦАУ)
  • Kazakh-German University (КНУ)
  • Kazakh Leading Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering
  • Kazakh Econimic University named after T. Ryskulov (KazEU, Narxoz)


The final of the bandy tournament at 2011 Asian Winter Games between Kazakhstan and Mongolia

The historic bandy team Dinamo won the Soviet Championships in 1977 and 1990 and the European Cup in 1978. Their home ground was Medeo, where bandy was the only sport at the 2011 Winter Asian Games.[2] Medeo will be the main arena at the 2012 Bandy World Championships.[3]

It is also home to Almaty United Football club.,[14][15]

Olympic aspirations

Almaty was a bidder to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014,[16] but was eliminated from consideration, not making the "short list" of candidate cities. Almaty won its bid to host the 2011 Winter Asian Games. It´s a bid city for the 2017 Winter UniversiadeThe city was exploring possible future bids, such as the 2018 Winter Olympics, but did not actually submit a bid.

People from Almaty

  • Altynai Asylmuratova (* 1961), prima ballerina with the Kirov ballet
  • Eugen Bauder (* 1986), model in Germany
  • Alexander Brener (* 1957), film star in Russia
  • Dmitri Chvykov (* 1974), ski jumper
  • Nagima Eskalieva (* 1954), singer and entertainer
  • Stanislav Filimonov (* 1979), ski jumper
  • Dmitri Fofonov (* 1976), Racing cyclist
  • Pavel Gaiduk (* 1976), ski jumper
  • Valery Yurlov (* 1933), actor in Russia
  • Alexey Korolev (* 1987), ski jumper
  • Nikolay Karpenko (* 1981), ski jumper
  • Ruslana Korshunova (1987–2008), model in Russia
  • Olessya Kulakova (* 1977), volleyball representative for Germany
  • Regina Kulikova (* 1989), tennis player
  • Dinmukhamed Konayev (1912–1993), politician
  • Yelena Lichovzeva (* 1975), tennis player in Russia
  • Fuat Mansurov (1928–2008), Soviet and Russian conductor
  • Katya Nikitina (* 1987), bartender in New York
  • Dmitriy Ogai (* 1960), soccer trainer and Soviet soccer player
  • Sergei Ostapenko (* 1986), soccer player
  • Alexander Parygin (* 1973), olympic athlete
  • Alexander Petrenko (1976–2006), basketball representative for Russia
  • Dennis Pohl (* 1986), cycle racer in Germany
  • Oxana Rakmatulina (* 1976), basketball player in Russia
  • Vadim Sayutin (* 1970), ice speed skater in Russia
  • Thomas Schertwitis (* 1972), water polo
  • Olga Shishigina (* 1968), Olympic Champion in hurdling
  • Susanna Simon (* 1968), actress in Germany
  • Assan Tachtachunov (* 1986), ski jumper
  • Denis Ten (* 1993), figure skater
  • Taimuraz Tigiev (* 1982), gymnast
  • Anatoly Vaisser (* 1949), French chess grandmaster
  • Irina Vygusova (* 1974), diver
  • Radik Zhaparov (* 1984), ski jumper
  • Vladimir Zhirinovsky (* 1946), politician
  • Elena Zoubareva (* 1972), opera singer
  • Konstantin Sokolenko (* 1987), Nordic combined skier/ski jumper
  • Aizhana Tleubayeva (*1989), once met Andrew Donnelly
Other pictures of Almaty
Holiday Inn.  
Hotel Kazakhstan.  
Landsat satellite photo of Almaty.  
WiFi cafe — "Coffeedelia".  
Children's world — a store with children's goods.  
Apple Town.  

Sister City

See also


  1. ^ 2010 жыл басынан 1 тамызға дейінгі Қазақстан Республикасы халық санының өзгеруі туралы
  3. ^ "Almaty population as of September 1, 2008 made 1 million 348.5 thousand people". Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  4. ^ — History of Almaty
  5. ^ Ness, Immanuel. Encyclopedia of World Cities. M E Sharpe Reference, 1999. ISBN 0-7656-8017-3. Page 19.
  7. ^ Materials of the VI Kazakhstani Congress, Kyzyl-Orda, 1927
  8. ^ "Astana — new capital", official from
  9. ^ О некоторых итогах переписи населения Казахстана (About some results of the Kazakhstan population census) (Russian)
  10. ^ "Head Office." Air Astana. Retrieved on 8 October 2009.
  11. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight Global. 16–22 March 2004. 66.
  12. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight Global. 29 March-4 April 1995. 79.
  13. ^ Фонтаны города Алматы (The Fountains of Almaty) (Russian)
  14. ^ Your Football Club Project Website
  15. ^ Homepage | Almaty United Football Club | Almaty United Football Club
  16. ^ 2014 Winter Olympic Games Bids

External links



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