Of all the countries in Central Asia, Kazakhstan has been the terra incognita for the Indian wanderers. Amidst this unexplored landscape, lies a sophisticated surprise named Almaty, on the wild plains, where Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China encounter. With an outlier of skyscrapers, leafy parks, museums and coffee shops, this former capital and the largest city in Kazakhstan, standing tall on the mighty Tien Shan Mountains, creates new avenues of first-hand travelling
KOK TOBE: Experience the birds-eye view
Noted as one of the main landmarks in the city, KokTobe is an abode that exhibits what Almaty is constituted of. The lofty mast stands high on the hill and is the highest point of the city of Almaty at 1100 metres while the mast itself is 350 meters tall. The viewpoint from KokTobe is worth a visit with panoramic views of the city from all directions. For a really good way to visit the top of KokTobe Hill and see the view of surrounding mountains, a cable car ride is an alternative one can’t afford to miss. The cable car goes over some of the oldest parts of Almaty and it’s interesting to see the old fruit growing gardens.
ALMATY CITY: Blend of heritage and urbanisation
The first settlement in the area of Almaty was founded in the Bronze Age, however, the city was first mentioned in the 13th century when it was one of the stops on the famed Silk Route. Not much remnants of the great past in Almaty is currently found but the smooth glide of brushes with the diverse hues of metropolitan has surfaced the true beauty of Almaty, as a major city of Kazakhstan. The majority of the architecture is a great example of the Soviet past and if travellers like Socialist realism style, they are in for a treat. In Almaty, it is not difficult to spot these details and even the most random concrete structure can look special. Among these, some true gems of brutalism, as well as some old and pretty, are the wooden houses, sprawling in every lane of this city.
MEDEO: Ice-skating on the top
Medeo or Medeu is a picturesque valley located 15 km above the city of Almaty acting as one of the best-possible outdoor speed skating and bandy rinks. Besides its beautiful nature, there are some other attractions to experience in Medeo, one of which is the world’s largest speed skating rink. Embracing both the Medeu Valley as well the Valley of Malaya Almatinka River, the Medeo outdoor ice skating rink, situated at an altitude of almost 1,700m, claims to be the highest ice skating rink in the world. The enormous rink sits in a mountain gorge, which earlier used to be naturally frozen, overlooking the vast stretch of the city. Medeo offers an amazing platter of winter activities and chills, thanks to Almaty’s bitterly-cold winters but nowadays, it is artificially refrigerated.
BIG ALMATY LAKE: Spread of truest liquid turquoise
Located as the oasis of natural beauty in Kazakhstan, the Big Almaty Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes that Mother Nature has to offer to the nature lovers and travellers of every age and preference. The trees wrapped in autumn foliage, boasting bright yellow amid the hunter greens of the pine trees, the lake is definitely one of the most visited natural attractions, especially considering the fact how easy it is to reach it. However, because it is on the high mountains of the country, the lake is a spot of seldom visits by visitors. Acting as a haven for travellers who love off-the-beaten places, Big Almaty Lake is one of the highlights of this vast and rich in spectacular natural wonders’ country with endless steppe.