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November 15, 2017

Top 4 Reasons You Need to Visit Almaty, Kazakhstan

Visited Almaty in October 2017

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, this metropolitan city is the largest in the country and an excellent place to enjoy an unexpected adventure.  Once the capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty still remains a hub of culture and commerce in the region.  Check out these four reasons to visit Almaty—and once you do you will begin to fall in love!

Almaty Kazakhstan
First President's Park

A Great Intro to Central Asia

Almaty is one of the largest cities in Central Asia, and it has the largest airport as well.  This city is a great introduction to Central Asia and boasts itself as a multicultural hub—with Kyrgyzstan to the south, China closely to the east and Russia on the northern side, Almaty can give you a taste of all these regions. 
Once you are in Almaty, you can easily make your way around on the tram or the metro—there is even an app for the transit system with great route info. Almaty also has a decent-sized expat population.

Check out the Excellent Bazaar

Almaty can show you what life is like along the Silk Road!  The buzzing Green Bazaar is the place to immerse yourself in the multicultural nature of this city.  From spices and fresh produce to the oft-shocking (for Westerners, anyhow) butcher’s hall and freshly prepared and ready-to-eat foods.  Make sure to try some kurt and a fresh glass of kvas while you stroll around the bazaar.

Relax in an Opulent Russian Bathhouse

Perhaps one of the favourite attractions in Almaty, the Arasan Baths offer up a relaxing experience and the chance to see some 1980s socialist architecture.  Beginners should visit for only an hour—the bathhouse has the options of trying A Russian banya, a Finnish sauna, a Turkish steam, and a Moroccan hammam slightly hidden--but worth it--down a second set of stairs.  The giant domed ceilings are designed in a way so that condensation does not drip on bathers, and the intricate mosaics and tilework on the interior show a stark contrast to the almost bleak exterior.

Walk the Streets for Unique Architecture

Almaty Kazakhstan

Rocked by earthquakes now and again, Almaty does not have a large abundance of pristine historical buildings.  But, the Church of the Holy Ascension in Panfilov Park is a can’t-miss site.  The bright, yellow church is the second tallest wooden building in the world.  The colorful exterior is matched only by the exquisite interior and magnificent altarpiece.

The city also holds some interesting Soviet-era memorials, and the buildings offer a look at Socialist buildings—lots of concrete and harsh shapes, but, when you look closer there are still intricate details that are not commonly found.  There are specific walking tours for those interested in the historical aspects of the architecture of Almaty.


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