Almaty was until very recently the former capital of Kazakhstan. It enjoys a beautiful setting in a green, lush, Alpine bowl with the mountains of the Tien Shan marching along the horizon in snow-capped grandeur.
Originally founded in 1854 as a Russian fort called Zailiyskoe, it got the status of a capital city in 1929. The name of the city derives from Turkish and means “Father of Apples”. Apple trees and the many flowering orchards, vegetable gardens and vineyards are characteristic of the countryside around the former capital.
Today, Almaty, whose population exceeds one million people, is known as the commercial capital of Kazakstan. Since the official move of the capital to Astana in July1998, most businesses have remained in Almaty.
Infused with newly flowing oil money, Kazakhstan’s largest city is the city pulses with nightclubs and exotic restaurants. The city’s main boulevards are lined with English-language signs; boutiques sell everything from Armani to gem-encrusted Vertu cellphones.