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Kazakhstan
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Weather & best time to visit

Thursday, 08.12.2016
12:00 UTC

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Good to know

City map Almaty

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    Good to know

    Almaty – a brief overview

    A captivating blend of elaborate baroque churches and clunky Soviet-era public buildings, all flanked by the snow-capped Zailiysky Alatau Mountain, Almaty is a long way from the Borat stereotype. Enriched by Kazakhstan’s mining boom, it’s certainly not cheap but has plenty to recommend it, whether its quirky museums, interesting history or lovely surrounding countryside.

    Impressively good restaurants and bars are springing up all over the city as its wealthy inhabitants demand more excitement, although the city’s cultural character remains unchanged.

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    Top 10 sights in Almaty

    ListMap
    Almaty, Museum, Kasachstan, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

    Presidential Palace

    4 Republic Square
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Although you can’t go in, Almaty’s imposing Presidential Palace is worth visiting for the austere Soviet architecture alone. Originally intended to house a museum dedicated to Lenin, it is now home to President Nursultan Nazarbayev instead.

    Central State Museum

    Furmanov Street
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 0930-1730

    A comprehensive look at Kazakhstan’s past, starting with Bronze Age relics and continuing right up to the decision to make Astana the capital in place of Almaty.

    Kazakh State Circus

    Abay Ave 50
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Various

    Housed in a purpose-built whitewashed concrete circus tent, Almaty’s Kazakh State Circus opens for performances each night, with clowns, acrobats and jugglers all on the bill.

    Kok-Tobe

    Kok-Tobe
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    A 1,110m hill overlooking the city, Kok-Tobe is capped with a 372m TV tower and a cluster of attractions, among them life-sized bronze statues of The Beatles.

    Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments

    Zenkov St
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 0900-1700

    It might not sound like the most riveting way to spend an afternoon, but this quirky museum is considerably more interesting than it first appears. As well as listening to an in-house band, visitors can try their hand at making music of their own.

    Almaty Zoo

    Ormanov St
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-2100 (summer)
    Daily 0900-1900 (winter)

    While the conditions in which some of the animals are kept are fairly depressing, the 21-hectare zoo is worth a visit to get a look at some of Kazakhstan’s native fauna including wolves and beavers.

    Monument of Independence

    Satpaev St
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    A towering white pillar that dominates the huge Respublika Alany square, Almaty’s Monument of Independence is topped with a gold-plated man standing atop a snow leopard.

    Nikolsky Sobor

    cnr of Qabanbay Batyr & Baytursynuly
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Built in 1909, the dramatically beautiful Nikolsky Sobor or St Nicholas Cathedral boasts turquoise walls and golden onion domes that conceal an even more opulent interior.

    Kazakhstan Museum of Arts

    Satpaev St
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan

    Tel: +7 727 394 5718

    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue-Sun 1000-1800

    Almaty’s main art gallery is home to a huge collection of art spanning every century from the 12th onwards. The Soviet-era works, most of which chart the country’s Communist ‘development’, are particularly fascinating.

    Geology Museum

    Dostyk Ave 85
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon-Fri 1000-1700

    Complete with helpful English-language interactive displays, Almaty’s Geology Museum documents the country’s impressive mineral wealth, which includes huge deposits of copper, bauxite and oil.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    Unexplored by many, Kazakhstan is an intriguing and little-known land of vast plains, mountainous horizons and beautiful culture.

    Geography

    Five times the size of France and half the size of the USA, Kazakhstan is the second largest state in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and is bordered by the Russian Federation to the north and west, the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to the southwest, Kyrgyzstan to the south and China to the southeast.

    90% of the country is made up of steppe, the sand massives of the Kara Kum and the vast desert of Kizilkum, while in the southeast of the country the mountains of the Tian Shan and the Altai form a great natural frontier with tens of thousands of lakes and rivers. The Aral Sea and Lake Balkhash are the country’s largest expanses of water.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 17736896

    Population Density (per sq km): 7

    Capital: Astana.

    Language

    The official language is Kazakh, a Turkic language closely related to Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and Turkish. The government has begun to replace the Russian Cyrillic alphabet with the Turkish version of the Roman alphabet. Meanwhile, the Cyrillic alphabet is in general use and most people in the cities can speak Russian, whereas country people tend to only speak Kazakh. English is usually spoken by those involved in tourism. Uygur and other regional languages and dialects are also spoken.

    Currency

    Kazakh Tenge (KZT; symbol лв). Notes are in denominations of лв 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500 and 200. Coins are in denominations of лв 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1.

    Electricity

    220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin continental plugs are standard.

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2016 -December 2017 period.

    Note

    Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given below are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Some disruption may continue into Eid al-Fitr itself. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha may last up to several days, depending on the region.

    2016

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2016
    Russian Orthodox Christmas Day: 07. January 2016
    International Women’s Day: 08. March 2016
    Nauryz Meyrami (Persian New Year): 21. March 2016
    People’s Unity Day: 01. May 2016
    Victory Day: 09. May 2016
    End of Rhamadan: 07. July 2016
    Constitution Day: 30. August 2016
    Feast of Sacrifice: 13. September 2016
    President’s Day: 01. December 2016
    Independence Day: 16. and 17. December 2016

    2017

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2017
    Russian Orthodox Christmas Day: 09. January 2017
    International Women’s Day: 08. March 2017
    Nauryz Meyrami (Persian New Year): 21. March 2017
    People’s Unity Day: 01. May 2017
    Victory Day: 09. May 2017
    End of Rhamadan: 26. June 2017
    Constitution Day: 30. August 2017
    Feast of Sacrifice: 02. September 2016
    President’s Day: 01. December 2017
    Independence Day: 18. and 19. December 2017

    All information subject to change.

    Enjoy

    Nightlife in Almaty

    ListMap

    Most of Almaty’s bars are found within hotels, with little beyond late-night coffee shops available elsewhere.

    Those in the market for luxury lounges are spoilt for choice and there are plenty of English-style pubs. Nowhere, however, is cheap.

    Guinness Pub

    Dostyk Ave
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Even Almaty has an Irish bar and this is a good one, with live bands on Fridays and Guinness on draught.

    Queen’s Pub

    Shevchenko St 100
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Nice for a quiet drink, Queen’s Pub is a cheerful British bar.

    Jantik Club

    Seyfullin Ave
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Heaven for Beatles fans, Almaty’s top live music venue regularly gives tribute acts a platform.

    Chukotka

    Gogol St 40
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Crowded come weekends, Chukotka boasts two floors, live DJs and a huge drinks menu.

    Enjoy

    Restaurants in Almaty

    ListMap

    From chunky noodles served with mutton (or horse if you’re unlucky) to tasty grilled kebabs, Kazakh fare is simple but is designed to fill you up.

    Most of Almaty’s restaurants focus on local fare, although pizza, Chinese and Russian food is easy to find.

    La Grenouille

    Shevshenko 18
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Almaty’s smartest restaurant serves classic French dishes including the frogs’ legs after which it is named.

    Khodja Nasreddin

    Luganskiy Street 54
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Tasty Uzbek fare served up in a picturesque central courtyard in large portions.

    Restaurant Yurta

    Kok-Tobe
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Perched atop Kok-Tobe, Yurta does excellent Kazakh food with a stunning view.

    Mend-Al

    Mendikulova Street 30
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Although Kazakhstan is land-locked, fish is shipped from Turkey once a fortnight and much of it ends up here.

    Taj Mahal

    Masanchi St 59
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    Delicious freshly made Indian fare served up in a traditional setting.

    Discover

    Calendar of events

    International Jazz Festival

    9 April 2016
    Website

    Venue: Zhambyl State Philharmonic Hall

    The Almaty Youth Jazz Band hosts and kicks off six days of fantastic jazz music. Professional artists and bands are invited from across the globe to play a top-notch programme of musical performances. There are plenty of opportunities to hear Kazakh musicians too.

    KITF (Kazakhstan International Tourism Fair)

    20 – 22 April 2016
    Website

    Venue: Atakent Exhibition Centre

    This is primarily a trade fair for the tourism industry, but any travel fiend can browse the numerous stands and pick up tips and brochures for their next adventure. Major resorts, hotels, tour operators and regions set up shop, and visitors can drop into seminars too.

    National Unity Day

    1 May 2016

    Venue: Throughout Almaty and Kazakhstan

    Everyone’s off work on this public holiday, and Kazakhstanis of all ethnicities are encouraged to join together for a day of festivities. In Almaty, this usually includes a parade in Abay Square, and there are plenty of other events highlighting different cultures too, including concerts and dance shows.

    Ecofest

    18 – 20 August 2016
    Website

    Venue: Held in a different rural location near Almaty each year

    There’s a hippy vibe to Ecofest. Festivalgoers chill out with yoga, pilates and energy masterclasses. Once that energy’s been harnessed, there are trampolines and tightropes to play on and salsa dancing for a little invigoration. A huge craft bazaar sells all sorts of handmade knick-knacks.

    Almaty, My First Love Festival

    September 2015

    Venue: Ski jump complex

    Thousands of nostalgic music fans gather at the foot of Almaty’s modern ski jump for this annual retro-themed festival, hoping for a trip down memory lane. The evening’s songs are old favourites, and a sparkling spectacle and rousing singalong are all but guaranteed.

    Eurasia International Film Festival

    15 – 20 September 2016
    Website

    Venue: Various venues

    Films from across Europe and Asia compete in Almaty’s international film festival, which is fast gaining a strong reputation in the industry, with big-name actors and directors making appearances on the red carpet. Experts lead masterclasses on topics such as scriptwriting and art direction.

    Independence Day

    16 December 2016

    Venue: Throughout Almaty and Kazakhstan

    Kazakhstan declared independence from the Soviet Union on 16 December 1991. Annual celebrations include concerts, parades and glittering fireworks displays. The previous two days, known as Satu Fest, are the Kazakh equivalent of Black Friday or Boxing Day, when shoppers hit the stores to grab big deals and discounts.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Enjoy

    Hotels in Almaty

    ListMap

    Thanks to Kazakhstan’s bountiful mineral wealth, much of what’s on offer is either ridiculously expensive or very basic indeed.

    Nevertheless, with the majority of large chains present, finding somewhere decent to stay is relatively simple.

    The Ritz-Carlton

    Esentai Tower
    Al-Farabi Ave 77/7
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Set within the glass and steel Estentai Tower, the Ritz-Carlton is vast and very comfortable.

    InterContinental Almaty

    Zheltoksan St 181
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Huge and comfortably appointed with the usual high standards you’d expect from an InterContinental.

    Dostyk Hotel

    Kurmangazy Str.36
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    A beautiful red-painted pile decked out in traditional Russian style.

    Grand Ai Ser Hotel

    Pozharskogo Street 1
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Modern and comfortable, the Ai Ser also boasts a terrific indoor pool, as well as its own hookah bar and billiard room.

    City Hotel Tien Shan

    Kunaev St 34
    Almaty
    Kazakhstan
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    Renovated in 2011, this place has simple, but comfortable rooms plus a restaurant, gym and sauna.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Thursday, 08.12.2016 12:00 UTC

    sunny

    temperature


    2°C


    wind speed

    6.875 mph

    7 days forecast

    Friday

    09.12.2016

    3°C / -3°C

    Saturday

    10.12.2016

    -4°C / -5°C

    Sunday

    11.12.2016

    -5°C

    Monday

    12.12.2016

    2°C / -3°C

    Tuesday

    13.12.2016

    4°C / -1°C

    Wednesday

    14.12.2016

    6°C / -2°C

    Thursday

    15.12.2016

    7°C /

    Climate & best time to visit Kazakhstan

    Continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. Although Kazakhstan has some of the highest peaks in the CIS, the climate is fairly dry. The hottest month is July (August in mountain regions).

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    15 °C

    -34 °C

    16 °C

    -35 °C

    27 °C

    -28 °C

    31 °C

    -11 °C

    36 °C

    -3 °C

    38 °C

    3 °C

    41 °C

    7 °C

    39 °C

    2 °C

    34 °C

    -3 °C

    31 °C

    -17 °C

    25 °C

    -27 °C

    22 °C

    -32 °C

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    32 mm

    37 mm

    71 mm

    104 mm

    107 mm

    64 mm

    32 mm

    26 mm

    30 mm

    62 mm

    55 mm

    33 mm

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    3 h

    4 h

    4 h

    6 h

    7 h

    9 h

    9 h

    9 h

    8 h

    5 h

    4 h

    3 h

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    75 %

    76 %

    73 %

    60 %

    57 %

    50 %

    46 %

    45 %

    49 %

    63 %

    73 %

    77 %

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ precipitationdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan15 °C-34 °C-1 °C-8 °C75 %32 mm63.8 h
    Feb16 °C-35 °C0 °C-8 °C76 %37 mm64.2 h
    Mar27 °C-28 °C6 °C-1 °C73 %71 mm104.7 h
    Apr31 °C-11 °C16 °C6 °C60 %104 mm106.5 h
    May36 °C-3 °C21 °C11 °C57 %107 mm107.8 h
    Jun38 °C3 °C26 °C15 °C50 %64 mm79.3 h
    Jul41 °C7 °C29 °C18 °C46 %32 mm59.9 h
    Aug39 °C2 °C28 °C16 °C45 %26 mm49.5 h
    Sep34 °C-3 °C23 °C11 °C49 %30 mm48.2 h
    Oct31 °C-17 °C14 °C4 °C63 %62 mm75.9 h
    Nov25 °C-27 °C6 °C-1 °C73 %55 mm74.2 h
    Dec22 °C-32 °C1 °C-6 °C77 %33 mm63.3 h
    year41 °C-35 °C14 °C4 °C62 %653 mm826.5 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing code: +7

    Telephone

    International calls can be made at a reduced rate from 2000-0800 local time. All major cities are equipped with card operated phones. Cards can be purchased at kiosks, and can be used to make international calls. The best card to make international calls with is an i-card+.

    Mobile Telephone

    Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good around the main cities.

    Internet

    There are Internet cafes in most towns and cities. Internet access is also available in major hotels, but services are usually more expensive than in cafes.

    Enjoy

    Shopping in Almaty

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Most of the shopping action in Almaty happens in and around Zhybek-Zholy or ‘Arbat’ as it’s locally known. Here you can find shops and boutiques selling everything from international branded fashion to local crafts and food. Also worth checking out is Barakholka, a huge open-air market that specialises in fake designer goods, as well as the odd handicraft and some truly excellent handmade clothes. You can also easily find felt dolls, lavishly embroidered rugs and sheepskin slippers.

    Markets

    Barakholka is the largest market, although the monthly Ablai Khan is also a good bet for handicrafts. Zelyoni Bazaar (Green Market) is the main spot for fresh produce.

    Shopping Centres

    Tsum, a Soviet era department store on Abylai Khan Avenue, is the main mall and good for souvenirs. Silk Way City Mall on Tole Bi Street is home to scores of fashion boutiques.

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    Kazakhs are very hospitable. When greeting a guest, the host gives him/her both hands as if showing that he/she is unarmed. When addressing a guest or elder, a Kazakh may address him/her with a shortened form of the guest’s or elder’s name and the suffix ‘ke’. For example, Abkhan may be called Abeke, Nursultan can be called Nureke. This should be regarded as indicating a high level of respect for the visitor.

    At a Kazakh home, the most honoured guest, usually the oldest, is traditionally offered a boiled sheep’s head on a beautiful dish as a further sign of respect.

    National customs forbid young people whose parents are still alive from cutting the sheep’s head. They must pass the dish to the other guests for cutting. Inside mosques, women observe their own ritual in a separate room, and must cover their heads and their arms. Formal dress is often required when visiting the theatre, or attending a dinner party. Shorts should not be worn except on the sports ground.

    Good to know

    Health

    Food & Drink

    All water should be regarded as being a potential health risk. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

    Other Risks

    Hepatitis B, C and E and tuberculosis occur. Increased cases of meningitis and encephalitis have been reported in Almaty. Tick-borne encephalitis is a problem in mountains and forests, particularly during April, May and June. There is some presence of rabies. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Han, E. Olga
    Djambula Street
    H 63 „Evelina-med“
    Almaty 050013
    Republic of Kazakhstan
    Tel. +7-727-272-1818

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

    IATA Travel CentreIATA Travel Centre