Favorite thing: Where we in Europe are getting used to the fact, that the majority of the population are old people, it is impressive to see all those children and young people in the streets of Almaty. Almaty has many universities and students. The average family has about 5 children.
To my great surprise I found, that Almaty area used to be part of Chinese territory but came under Russian control in the middle of the 19th century. Almaty was founded by Siberian Cossacks in 1854. Its first name was Vernyj.
In 1921, the name Alma-Ata ("father-apple") was created by the Bolsheviks. In a devastating earthquake in 1911, almost the only large building that remained standing was the Russian Orthodox cathedral. In the 1920s, after the completion of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway, Alma-Ata, as it was then known, became a major stopping point along the track. In 1929, Almaty became the capital of the Kazakh SSR.
In late 1991, Almaty became the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a designation it kept until 1998, when the capital was moved to Astana. Almaty, however, remains the largest city in Kazakhstan and the country's major commercial center.
Une réplique de la Tour Eiffel trône devant un ensemble d'immeubles de bureaux, dans le quartier des affaires...
A retort of the Eiffel Tower sits owing a set of office buildings, in the district of the business...
Favorite thing: just imagine...you are admiring mountain's breathtaking beauty and calm..you are so into it...trying to escape everyday reality and routine..finally beginning to feel little bit relaxed..and suddenly you see David Beckham's figure, and others like Nesta, Ronaldinho...i would call it a nightmare..that's sad even for me, biggest football fan...:( how did they get till 3000m in Kazakhstan??
I'm just back from trying to get a Turkmenistan visa here in Almaty. Here's what I learned (for Americans):
1) Letter of invitation req'd: $110
2) 3 weeks to process. $60 for 10 day visa, $140 for 21 day visa. both tourist visa.
You can pay more to have things sped up. I didn't bother to ask how much.
I was hoping to get a 5 day transit visa. I was having someone else help with the Russian, and I just didn't have luck. I got this info from small agency in the floor above the Turkmenistan consulate. I went down to the Consulate with the women in the travel office to confirm prices, etc.
I received my Uzbekistan visa today. The rules are different for Americans and Europeans. As an American it costs $100 for 30 days/single entry (Pay in US currency). You can pay $50 extra for 2 day service. I didn't and it took 1 week. (dropped of Monday, picked up Monday) For the same price you can get a 4year muliple entry visa if you have an invitation- I don't know the details.
Go at 2pm; the morning is for Kazaks.
For Europeans, the price is something like $55 for 1 week, $65 for 2 weeks, etc. each additional entry is $10. The process seemed to take 3-4 days for the Europeans I met in line.
There is only 1 guy there, and he is generally nice, but doesn't speak English (well, I had a friend there translating Russian for me). Be prepared to wait around for a few hours.
The funny thing is that the guy didn't like that I wasn't positive of my dates: basically I didn't care; Im not on a tight schedule. He got a bit annoyed and said that a REAL TOURIST has a plan and everything is organized, which is funny since this Embassy is the only one I've been to that couldn't/wouldn't give me a definite date that I could get my VISA in the first place. Oh well, I guess I'm not a REAL TOURIST. I take it as a compliment.
The complex Medeo built in record time - in two years as if it were a fairy palace came into the panorama of the gorge. It is created by remarkable people - by workers, engineers, architects, designers and scientists. Its designers are rewarded with the State prize of the USSR.
In the designing and the constructing of the skating-rink together with the aim providing excellent conditions for school-training work and competitions in speed-skating it was supposed to turn it into a sports base for a mass rest of the working people. The stadium is equipped with all necessary thing for this purpose. For example : the rooms situated under the western stand are meant only for the service of participants of mass skating. There is an enormous entrance - hall on the ground floor where visitors of the skating-rink can rest and warm up.
Fondest memory: The fame of the first high-altitude skating-rink of our country flew all over the world. It has become one of the main sights of the capital of Kasakhstan. Foreign tourists often come
here. Even people from hot countries express their wish to skate. To skate in summer - what can be more tempting ?!
The beautiful clean green prospekts and avenues (a legacy of Russian Imperial and Soviet power), lined with green trees; the colourful summer-only cafes, the beautiful, long-legged girls in short skirts.
There are a number of quite striking late Soviet buildings in Almaty, which was a bit of a showcase city in the 1970's and 1980's (the TU-144 'Concordski' was scheduled to travel the Moscow to Alma-Ata route).
I have to admit, it used to annoy me when smug English and American persons were always negative about the city, its buildings and habits. Having lived in New York and New Jersey, I think those people should clean up their own cities first (and improve their educational/cultural level while they are about it!)...As for the young Englishman (a language student and my temporary assistant, actually) who compared Almaty unfavourably to the nondescript North Midlands English town of Nottingham, well, words fail me!
Whatever one may say of these buildings, they are not the worst of modern architecture; the theatre and ballet building on Lenina, for instance
The Republican Palace of Schoolchildren (in Soviet times, the Palace of Young Pioneers
or the Kazakhstan Academy of Sciences
Even in these not so sharp scanned photos and postcards it can be seen that this is a city with a lot of potential.
Even the less prominent Soviet public buildings are often quite pleasant and even somewhat noble, compared to many late 20thC buildings in places like London or New York.
Fondest memory: In Almaty one can, from May through September, while away time alone or with friends sitting under brightly coloured parasols outside cafes, watching pretty girls go by...Almaty is as famous for this as it is for its greenery at one time I lived in the building across the street.I met another one in the central area and tried to chat her up a bit, but did not get too far, partly because the girl was about 15 and secondly because she was for some reason on a horse!The city is full of green trees, bushes, fountains. It was said, in Soviet times, that Alma-Ata was the most green city of the Soviet Union, after Kiev
Favorite thing: Take the cable car which runs from behind the Hotel Kazakhstan area up to the TV tower which is a principal Almaty landmark. Takes about 10 mins. At the top you can sit at an open-air cafe and eat shashlik, drink beer and look at the view. I seem to recall that it may not run in winter, probably for safety reasons in the extreme cold...but then, you might not want to sit around at the top for long in temperatures of minus 20C. After enjoying the view you can return by cable car or walk back down the small road which goes off at an oblique angle (this is a good hour-long walk: keep on going-- you will eventually come out quite high up Lenina).Another place to go for a stroll is Almaty's Gorky Park, named of course after the Russian and Soviet writer Maxim Gorky, the author of 'Literary Portraits', 'My Universities' and other worksThe wires you can see strung up over several of my photos are the electrical supply for the trolleybuses (for which Gorky Park is one of the termini)
Favorite thing: you can notice the big almaty lake, going more to the right you see the white spots on the moutains that is medeu and then going up you see almaty. this is a very nice picture.
Fondest memory: While just walking around I found such a nice surprise, a testimony of the growing faith which is bringing color to the lives of many!
Favorite thing: You must visit the highest skating ring in the world The Medeo. Here were established 170 world records!
Favorite thing: A visit to Medeo is essential. You can see, running horizontally behind the stadium, the huge anti-landslide dam, which one can climb up via about (if memory serves) 1500 steps.