[Photos]: Discovering Almaty, Central Asia’s Most Vibrant City

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Discover Almaty highlights some of the exciting things to do and places to go in Central Asia’s most vibrant city.

Nestled between Europe and Asia, Almaty is Kazakhstan’s largest city and is both literally and culturally rich.  Founded in the Bronze Age, the city first came to global prominence as one of the many stops on The Silk Road, as merchants crossed countries and continents to trade. Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth-biggest country, while Almaty is known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ for its trio of major natural attractions: Kolsai Lakes, Charyn Canyon and Altyn-Emel National Park. Almaty is located in the south-east of Kazakhstan near the massive Tian Shan Mountain range. This majestic city is full of surprises, from charming scenic views to luxury shopping experiences; there is something that everyone can enjoy.

Unique Shopping Experiences

There are plenty of places to shop in Almaty, but the first stop for the finest shopping is the Esentai Mall. Designed and developed with the aim of creating a special atmosphere and world class environment for shopping and entertainment, Esentai Mall is a must-visit attraction in Almaty. The luxurious mall houses over 100 of the world’s most exclusive brands and restaurants, a cinema, gourmet dining, fitness centre and spa, as well as other entertainment facilities, all within easy access under one roof. For the extra special touch, guests can request a personal shopper to elevate their experience and provide style advice on the latest trends.

Cultural shopping experiences can be found on Pedestrian Street, located in the centre of Almaty. Here travellers can enjoy shopping, cafes, and art galleries and on weekends, artisans assemble along the street showcasing and selling handicrafts and art pieces. Visitors can also get an authentic taste of Almaty at the Green Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in the city. The longstanding oriental market is a great place to pick up a bargain.

Rich History and Cultural Hub

Almatyis adorned in street art; the city is much like a public forum where artists can freely express themselves. In this public sphere, art lovers leave their work for visitors and locals to admire and interpret across the city. 

Golf in Almaty has a perfect combination of sports that meets the nature as it takes the awe-inspiring views of the mountains. Zhailjau is the name of the golf resort, which was opened to the public on June 9th, 2016, it was designed by the famous Arnold Daniel Palmer designing company.

Adventure in Almaty

Almaty is full of adventure! On the edge of the city, you can find the Charyn Canyon, one of the most majestic and well-known attractions of the region. Stretching 154 km and reaching heights of 300m the canyon is a natural wonder. On the way to this perfect day trip, be sure to also visit Lake Kaindy one of Kazakhstan’s many extraordinary lakes. Created by a landslide, this natural dam tucked in the Tian Shan Mountains is covered by spruce trees. Travellers are enchanted by the landscape with the mountains and clear blue water providing a truly Instagrammable backdrop.

Adventurers and explorers should also take a visit to Kok Tobe the highest point of Almaty which can be reached by cable car 1,100m up. Kok Tobe provides panoramic views of the city for more ‘picture postcard’ moments. Travellers can also enjoy a large selection of cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops at the summit.

Almaty is a Kazakh word and can be translated as ‘father of apples’. While the common apple is now seen all over the world, biologists have traced the entire genetics of the fruit back to one specific area in Kazakhstan; Almaty.

Therefore, a trip to Almaty is not complete until you find the last wild apple forest; Apple City. Positioned 400-900m above sea-level, Apple City is a picturesque orchard full of surprises. Travellers can find some of the most amazing apples strains such as honey, berry, and liquorice flavoured apples. 

One of the most exhilarating excursions is to the snow-peaked mountains of Almaty at the Shymbulak Ski Resort, the biggest and most modern ski resort of Central Asia. At Shymbulak, there are a variety of ski lifts at the resort with the highest reaching 3,200 metres above sea-level. The various slopes offer opportunities to beginners and expert skiers alike. Dependent on snow fall, the ski season runs from late November through to the end of March.

Family-Friendly Fun

If you’re looking for family friendly fun, The Kazakh State Circus is the perfect destination. The circuswas the first in Kazakhstan to be acknowledged as a cultural and historical monument. Showcasing Almaty’s most talented clowns, equestrians, gymnasts and trapeze artists, this unique event is breath-taking. 

Almaty is a city that every traveller should add to their bucket list. For those looking for a thrilling vacation, Almaty will not disappoint.

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