10 reasons why you should travel to Almaty instead of Nur-Sultan

Danila Leshiy24 September 20205879 views11 min. read
10 reasons why you should travel to Almaty instead of Nur-Sultan

I knew a man who suddenly decided to move and travel to Almaty Kazakhstan from Nur-Sultan. It was a strange decision at first glance. In fact, it was just an experiment on climate change. In addition, in the end, this man ended up in Yekaterinburg. I do not know where this person is now, but he loves to change his place of residence very much.

Based on his story, I decided to tell you why Almaty is better than Nur-Sultan. Of course, this is all very subjective and does not claim to be the ultimate truth. So, here is the 10 reasons why you should go to Almaty and not Nur-Sultan.

1. Kazakhstan and its two capitals

river in kazakhstan

Let's start with where is Almaty. This city is located on the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains. The current capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan, aka Astana, is continuously blown by the steppe wind due to its location. This is an advantage of the city, not only Almaty weather. Due to the fact that, as we have already found out, Nur-Sultan is located on the steppe, the buildings of the city are located at a very great distance from each other. This may be a plus for someone, but I would prefer to live in a more compact city where you can get from point A to point B quite quickly. And Nur-Sultan also has more policemen patrolling the town.

Almaty has lost its status as the capital of Kazakhstan since 1997. But this does not mean that the city has become worse. Rather, on the contrary, the city ceased to be the capital and became more sincere from this. And I'll tell you a little more about the soul of Almaty below.

2. Mount Kok-Tobe and the view from it

red cabin of cable car

Unlike Nur-Sultan, Almaty is surrounded by mountains, which makes the city surrounded by beautiful natural treasures. This, of course, does not mean that the best sights of Almaty are beyond the city limits, but we will start with nature.

Mount Kok-Tobe - it's "Blue Hill". It's one of the mountains surrounding the city. Its height is about 1100 meters, and it offers a beautiful view of the southern capital of Kazakhstan. You can get here by cable car and a car. There is also located an amusement park, an observation deck, and the local TV tower.

By the way, the Almaty TV Tower is one of the highest towers in the world. We add the height of the TV Tower to the height of the mountain; it turns out 1471 meters. From this height, the TV and radio frequencies will broadcast at a decent distance.

Sometimes it even becomes incomprehensible how such a TV tower can stand exactly on such a loose mountainous soil of Kok-Tobe. It has a solid base and is mainly made of light metals. In the same place, there is an observation deck at 176 meters (i.e. 1276 meters, if we count together with the height of the mountain).

From the observation deck, you can see almost the whole of Almaty, and on the other hand - the nature of Kazakhstan.

3. The Tien Shan mountain system and the Big Almaty Lake

tianshan trans ili alatau

Among all the nature of Almaty, we would like to highlight the Tien Shan, located among the mountains. Its name is Chinese for "Heavenly Mountain." Stretching around 1,500 miles from the west-southwest to the east-upper east, it is a large mountain system on the border between China and Kyrgyzstan.

Big Almaty Lake is situated 15 kilometers south of Almaty, in the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains. The water rarely heats up to any slightly warm temperature due to its location, so it is unlikely that you will be able to swim in it. However, you can take a walk in these picturesque and fresh mountainous places at any time of year. Besides, this lake is a reservoir for the city. That's why swimming in it is not only problematic but also prohibited.

4. Mountains of Kazakhstan

tianshan landscape

I wanted to start with this. But I was a little distracted by the wonders of mountain lakes and the engineering thought of building TV towers in the mountains.

The mountains of Almaty are a sequence of uneven terrain, because of which many people are so reluctant to leave the city and continue living in it. They continue to live while the mountains continue to grow because of their relatively early age.

In these mountains up to 5000 meters high, there is very little chance to meet tourists. There are only places for professionals, trained and desperate. As climbing these mountains is quite dangerous and there are no hiking trails, it is much more likely to meet a bear than a man.

To meet a massive flow of tourists, of course, is still possible. But only at the very beginning of the mountain range - near the city of Almaty. People often disappear there, so I do not advise going there alone.

Foreign tourists are attracted continuously to these places. It's just the wilderness of Kazakhstan. The fact is that infrastructure and commercial tourism can not get to the local mountains.

In addition to the extremely wild places here, you can still find a stadium. There is also located famous Medeo ski resort.

5. Almaty is the financial and cultural center of Kazakhstan


We are going down from the mountains to civilization. Almaty remains the most secular city in Kazakhstan. The southern capital of the country, protected from winds by mountain slopes, still exists as a city of great opportunities and a unique corner of Central Asia.

Here the European culture and Kazakh mentality meet and form a single whole. In European hospitable and Asian noisy southern capital of Kazakhstan will not leave indifferent any casual traveler who decided to look at the light.

It is a city of great opportunities for the citizens of Kazakhstan. Financial opportunities, cultural heritage, and natural treasures are concentrated here. And we have approached the central culture of the city - the sights of Almaty.

6. What to see in Almaty?

It is not surprising that Kazakhstan is predominantly a Muslim country. Accordingly, there are a large number of mosques in the cities. But we will talk only about one - Almaty Central Mosque.

It was built for whole six years, and three more years later acquired the title of an architectural monument. The rectangular shape of the mosque in the best traditions of Timurid architecture can accommodate about 7 thousand people, and above the main building is a dome 36 meters high. This dome is surrounded by smaller domes around the perimeter of the mosque, and the view on the side is decorated with a lawn, which is also protected as an architectural treasure.

Kazakhstan is also home to many Orthodox Christians, as in any country of the former USSR. And Orthodox buildings are headed by the Holy Ascension Cathedral. Interior decoration is not in the best condition, which is the reason, again, for the power of the former Soviet Union. I think it is clear to everyone what it is connected with. Therefore we shall not focus on it. The Holy Ascension Cathedral is the best Orthodox church in Almaty.

You can spend a lot of time in Almaty seeing the sights. Here you can find the Central State Museum - one of the largest and most visited in Kazakhstan and all of Central Asia, the majestic 28 meters high Independence Monument, a green park in the city center called "Park named after the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan", and many other exciting things. But for now, we will stop, for there is something else to tell about.

7. Almaty Metro

train of almaty

Do you know how many cities in Kazakhstan have their metro? One. That's the end of it.

The Almaty Metro, which currently consists of only nine stations, and the total length of the tunnels is 11 kilometers, in some ways similar to the famous Moscow Metro.

Each station here and all the stations taken together are separate sights of Almaty. There are no identical stations in the local metro - the lobbies of each station are individual and made in a strictly defined style. Cars are silent, and often tourists go down to the subway only to look at them.

It's a curious fact. Due to the geological conditions of the city, the Almaty Metro is a loss-making transport mode. But this does not prevent new stations from appearing, bringing their zest to the arrangement of the city of Almaty.

Get your Kazakhstan tourist visa today and experience the Almaty Metro before it is too late.

8. Cultural life in Almaty

tourist man

One of the main questions for those who have a choice - Almaty or Nur-Sultan - is the cultural life of the cities.

The cultural life of the southern capital of Kazakhstan begins with Republic Square. Since the 70s of the last century, the Almaty population of the city has been growing relentlessly, which was the reason for the construction of a massive square in the city center. In the history of the square, essential festivals and mass events have been held continuously here, which still accommodate all comers.

Another gathering place of the city masses is the pedestrian street Zhibek Zholy. Such roads are not rare in the post-Soviet space, and in every city, such streets are quite popular. Here is a place of concentration of street musicians and other nuggets as well as cafes and souvenir shops.

It's also worth turning to the Central Gorky Park of Culture and Leisure. It is a slightly relaxed place with attractions, a zoo, a sports complex, and an aqua park, which doesn't prevent it from retaining a touch of the architecture of similar areas of the Soviet Union times. Local alleys and waterfalls are other places of crowding.

Other places concerning the cultural life of the city - the Republic Palace, where world-famous musicians often visit, a park named after Panfilov's 28 Guardsmen, Lermontov State Academic Russian Drama Theather, the State Opera and Ballet Theatre - each of these places is impressive in its way. Each of them has its unique shows, which are worth visiting when visiting the beautiful city of Almaty.

9. Charyn Canyon

canyon in kazakhstan

I like to leave everything exotic behind for the last time. And this time, it's no exception. What to see in Almaty, besides all the above?

Next to Almaty, there is a canyon that expands 154 km along the Charyn River. It was created by nature itself 12 million years. The reddish walls of the canyon reach 300 meters, and the landscape of this place is so unique that you can meet representatives of animals and plants listed in the Red Book.

Here, in Charyn Canyon, there is an ash grove that remembers the Ice Age. Charyn Canyon is genuinely a substantial natural structure, striking by its size and the number of rocks found in this place.

There is also a tourist complex, which is not as exciting as the nature of the canyon itself.

10. And yet, Almaty or Nur-Sultan?

park in almaty

The answer is simple. People come to Nur-Sultan from Almaty, first of all, because no matter how banal it sounds, Nur-Sultan is the capital of Kazakhstan. It may also be necessary for someone that there is more space between buildings and, as a result, more free space in Nur-Sultan. Also, real estate is cheaper in Nur-Sultan.

But all the advantages, including the subjective issue of climate, are shattered if it is a tourist trip, not a change of permanent residence. Because the main power of the southern capital is where Almaty is located. Almaty has a more vibrant culture, more abundant natural diversity, and more places to see in Almaty than Nur-Sultan. I think it is better to go to Almaty, and even better to both cities at once.

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