A Thousand Apples: Almaty, Kazakhstan Celebrates a Special Birthday in 2016
Happy birthday, Almaty! May you live 1,000 more years!
It’s been here in the foothills of the Zaili Alatau Mountains since at least 1016, when it was at the center of Silk Road commerce. Almaty, the cultural, educational and financial heavyweight of Kazakhstan is celebrating its 1,000th birthday in 2016.
No, it’s not the country’s capital anymore – not since 1997 when President Nursultan Nazarbaev signed a decree moving the capital up to Astana (“the Dubai of Kazakhstan”) on the northern steppe. But it’s still the largest, most diverse, most stimulating, exciting and wealthy city in the country.
- Enjoy the annual Spirit of Tengri Music Festival, a celebration of contemporary ethnic music from around the world, taking place on the 4th and 5th of June in 2016. Musical groups from Mongolia, Georgia, Turkey, Tuva, and, of course Kazakhstan will perform in front of the Republic Palace.
- Visit the comprehensive Kasteyev State Museum of Arts. Applied arts such as Kazakh felt rugs, carved wood items and embroidery compliment fine art from Russia, Central Asia and Western Europe.
- Observe traditional Kazakh falconry at a falcon farm outside of Almaty. Hunters on horseback wearing traditional costumes give an exclusive demonstration of how the beautiful birds are used for hunting in Kazakhstan.
- Browse in the Almaty Museum of Musical Instruments, created in 1980. The museum exhibits a collection of traditional Kazakh instruments, including the dombra, a two-stringed, lute-like instrument ubiquitous in Central Asia. Recordings of the instruments are played as a guide demonstrates and explains each one.
- Experience local Kazakh culture as you shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, including the delicious apples that Almaty is famous for. Meat, eggs, flowers, plants, spices, dried fruit, cheese and mare’s milk koumiss can all be purchased at the Green (Zelyony) Bazaar. Jewelry, clothing, toys, hardware and other household goods are also on sale here.
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Want to know more about travel to Kazakhstan? Read our What to Know Before You Go: Kazakhstan guide – full of insider tips on travel there.
Top Photo: Flowers and architecture blossoming in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Credit: Jamshid Fayzullaev
PUBLISHED: June 2, 2016