Almaty

My travelogue in Almaty, former capital of Kazakstan


Almaty

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by allain on October 4, 2000

01am our flight lands at Almaty airport. We are met by Rinat Khaibullin, a climber we made friends with in Nepal, six months ago. It is great to see him again after months of contact via email. He helped us out with the organisation of this trip to Kazakhstan. We are now in his brand-new car, driving to his house, which hangs in the surrounding mountains at 1200m. We find enough energy to enjoy a relaxing sauna and manage to get rid of the stupor of the flight, before going to bed.

With 1.5 million inhabitants, Almaty is the biggest city of Kazakstan. It is not a beautiful city with momuments and nice building. The long straight avenues and uniform architecture bear the unmistakable thumbprint of the USSR. Founded in 1854 as a Russian frontier fort when the Kazaks were still nomads, Almaty has always been a very Russain place. At the feet of one of the highest mountains in the world, Almaty reminds Denver or Calgary. A lot of green spaces let the impression that buildings growth among the forest. At 1000 meter of high Almaty is definitely a good place to live. ${QuickSuggestions} Almaty is a great place for outdoor activity. You could reach a 4000 m high peak from the center of Alamty.${BestWay}

Zenkov cathedral

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by allain on October 4, 2000

The Zenkov cathedral was built in 1904. This is the only one of Almaty's building which survived the 1911's earthquake. The cathedral is built entirely of wood, and without nails. The architecture is typical from Orthodox Church. This cathedral could not disfigure in the Moscow's red plaza. The walls are painted with sharp colours, mainly blue, green and red. The snow-capped mountains just stands behind the church's domes and the bulbs and give the city an incredible pioneer atmosphere.
Zenkov Cathedral
Panfilov Park
Almaty

Panfilov Park

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by allain on October 4, 2000

This large rectangle of greenery between Gogol and Kazybek Bi make a pleasant focus fo Almaty. An impressive war memorial stands in the middle of the park. This represents 28 soldiers of an Almaty infantery unit who died fighting off Nazi tanks in village near Moscow in 1941. Inside the park near the cathedral there is a tea house where you could have a drink in the middle of an rose field.
Panfilov Park
Between Gogol and Kazybek street
Almaty, Kazakhstan

Charyn Canyon

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by allain on October 9, 2000

This 'kazak Colorado,' as is it often described, is not as impressive as the original one. However it is worth having a look. Some tours propose an helicopter trip for $100. It is located at 175 km east of Almaty. The Charyn river, flowing rapidly down from the Tian Shan, has carved a deep canyon into the dry steppe. You will enjoy a wonderful and colourful rock formations.
Charyn Canyon
200 Km East Of Almaty
Almaty, Kazakhstan

Buying Carpets

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by allain on October 9, 2000

World famous Bukhara carpets are the most exciting you could bring back from Almaty. The real Bukhara is a dark red carpet made in wool. It looks like a mosaic with characteristic lines of 'guls.' You could expect a $350 price for an 1,5 x 1 meter carpet. Curiously, carpets are not found in the bazaar but in the museum.
Buying Carpets
Museum of Almaty
Almaty, Kazakhstan

Medeu & Shymbulaq

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by allain on October 9, 2000

These are favorite Almaty places for a day trip excursion for the city. Medeu ice ring, 15 km south of central almaty is at 1700 m high. It is an ice ring for speed skating and many soviet champions trained there. It functions from october to may.

Upper is Shymbulaq, at 2300 m, it is the most exciting skiing center in central Asia. In summer it is a good base camp for excursion in the mountain. You could climb the Abaï Peak which is 4150 m high. At the bottom of the valley there is an old weather station which looks like an Antartica scientist colony!

Medeu & Shymbulaq
15 km south Almaty
Almaty, Kazakhstan

Kolsai Lakes

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by allain on March 26, 2001

Kolsay lakes are three picturesque mountain lakes located in the northern part of Tien Shan in Zaili Alatau ridge. Two bottom lakes are surrounded fir trees, alpine meadow and mountain pastures. The top lake is located among rocks. Trekking Kolsay lakes is one of the most simple and beautiful routes through the mountains from Kazakhstan in Kyrgyzstan to Issyk Kul lake. The route begins on Nizhniy Kolsay Lake 380 km far from Almaty, Camp 1. It is necessary to use rented vehicles, as regular buses are not available. From Almaty here is the schedule.

Day 1 Transfer to the beginning of trek - 380 km (6 hours) to camp 1, lower Kolsay lake, situated at forest in altitude about 1800m, overnight in tents.
Day 2 First day trek, walking from the first camp around the lake, then a long the river to Camp 2 at mid-Kolsay lake (2250m), 5 hours, afternoon free for radial sightseeing overnight in tents. We had a fantastic party with the locals, singing songs & drinking vodka all over the night close to the fire.
Day 3 Walk around mid-Kolsay lake heading up to upper Kolsay lake, to camp 3, trailing trough forested area about 5 hours to altitude 2850m, tents for overnight. The water of the lake are crystal clear, but you should be brave or a penguin to have a bath here !
Day 4 Walking up along the valley to ascend the Sarybulak pass 3274m. This pass is the border between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The view on the Issyk-Kul lake is fantastic. This lake is so large, it is a real sea. After the pass we descend to the Sarybulak valley at altitude 2600m, where a car already waiting for us, transfer to Issyk-Kul lake to resort closed to Karakol, overnight in old soviet sanatorium.
Kolsai Lakes
South east of Almaty
Almaty, Kazakhstan

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j2086-Almaty-Almaty.html

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