Almaty may have lost its status as capital of Kazakhstan, but it remains the country¢s first city, cultural and business capital and main transport hub.
This beautiful town at the foot of the emerald Tien-Shan mountains rightly called a garden city. In spring, when its southern outskirts are drawning in apple, apricot and cherry blossom, Almaty looks like something out of a fairytale. Its luxuriant greenery and stunning mountain backdrop make Almaty unlike any other city.
Gardens, woods, parks, boulevards and flowerbeds account for over 8,000 hectares of its area: indeed the city is located at the heart of the Ili-Alatau National Park.
The name Almaty comes from the word “alma”, meaning apple. It is the birthplace of the famous Almaty apporte, which was obtained by crossing local apple varietes. According to some sources this was this location of the ancient trading settlement Almatu, on the famous caravan route known as the Silk Road. Almatu was sacked by Genghis Khan¢s horde in the 13th century, and in 1854 the Russians built Vierney near the ruins of the ancient town. Their fort renamed Alma-Ata in Soviet times, was the capital of Kazakhstan from 1929 to 1997.
Almaty is located in the centre of the Eurasian continent, in the south - east of Kazakhstan.
Climate: ranges from continental to subcontinental, close to arctic. The city¢s south and north are in different climatic zones.
Almaty is 550-1950 metres (about half a mile) above sea level. It is one of a very few cities in the world which have modern high-rise buildings at such an altitude and in an earthquake zone.