At first, I liked Almaty, but then I fell out of love with this city. Apparently, when you return from Southeast Asia, any more or less European city immediately seems good.
In fact, there is nothing to do in Almaty. The city resembles a Moscow bedroom community, where copies of Moscow objects were compactly packed and Kazakhs were settled.
So you just walk around and think: damn, it’s Moscow!
No matter how much a former Soviet republic tries to pretend that it is not a former Soviet republic, it will still be a former Soviet republic.
And any former Soviet republic should have a Central Universal Department Store (TSUM). The store with three letters can be found in Minsk, Tashkent, Dushanbe, and even in Kiev. But only in Almaty, even the sign was taken from Moscow.
There is also their own television tower in Almaty.
It is even visible from the local Arbat.
The Almaty Tower is one and a half times lower than the Ostankino Tower in Moscow. But to the south of Almaty, there are mountains. It turned out to be great savings to launch the television tower on a huge hill.
The Hotel Kazakhstan remotely resembles the building of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It’s a unique building, by the way. Built to withstand a 9-point earthquake.
Next to it stands the Palace of the Republic, which apparently was taken from Minsk.
The Nazarbayev Park is located on the outskirts of the city. It is an analogue of the local Poklonnaya Gora mixed with a mausoleum and VDNKh.
It’s an absolutely monstrous place. Kilometers of stone desert under the scorching sun. There wasn’t enough money for water, so they had to paint a ditch in blue.
There is a monument to Nazarbayev in the park. Even our modest Vova Putin would have envied such a personality cult. After all, he never thought of erecting monuments to himself in his lifetime. He only managed to rewrite history.
However, they even named the capital of the country Astana after the current President of Kazakhstan. So, it’s no surprise that a monument was erected in his honor.
The only thing that brightens up the dreary park is the view of the mountains and the alley with trees.
Otherwise, it’s just a neglected field of scorched earth.
But it’s better to have a field than to end up with “skyscrapers” built on another such field, and here’s what happened:
This is the “Nurly Tau” business center. The developer’s website assures that the center was built “on the principle of a city within a city,” and every detail in it was “created for the comfort of those who work and live there.”
According to the developer, the comfort of residents means squeezing in painted swings and planting two Christmas trees between piles of glass.
It’s an absolutely dreadful place that resembles not Moscow City at all, but rather greenhouses with tomatoes grown up to 50 meters.
As for residential areas in Almaty, they resemble the suburbs of Moscow. The Nazarbayev Park leads to a microdistrict via an insane pedestrian bridge that ends up right at the windows.
The entrance to the stairwell is indistinguishable from the door to a garbage chute.
They still beat carpets on horizontal bars.
The facades are decorated in a national style. There are relatively few air conditioners, considering the terrible heat in summer.
Modern playgrounds are rare and quite primitive.
More often than not, the courtyard is a trampled wasteland with children’s play equipment sticking out in the middle.
And we haven’t even been to the outskirts yet. To give the reader an idea: the outskirts of Almaty are as far away as from the Kremlin to Belorusskaya station, a 10-minute subway ride.
And there, on the outskirts...
There, on the outskirts...
The places are so exclusive that even children ride on Geländewagens.
Aestetic of the bumblefucks.
This is what Almaty looks like around the Raiymbek Batyr metro station. As soon as you step out, the vendors ask if you want to sell a phone. It’s an atmosphere of hustle and bustle resembling a bazaar.
Shopping centers that should be blown up with dynamite.
And I came here to see two things. Firstly, there is the famous “Green Bazaar” here. Well, the bazaar is nothing special.
But the central mosque is decorated so poorly that it looks like siding from a distance.
One thing I don’t understand: why build a mosque in the 21st century with a nod to Samarkand? It’s obvious that it will not turn out to be a mosque, but rather a muezzin’s summer house.
Danger! Keep out if not in hijab.
In short, there’s nothing to see in Almaty.
Moscow residents running away from the war discovered that civilization exists beyond the Moscow Ring Road. It turns out that in Kazakhstan they have built their own country with blackjack and government services. I must admit, I was very surprised when Kaspi Bank printed a personalized card for me on a printer within a minute.
But technology can be implemented in Africa too. And the only undeniable advantage of Almaty as a city is probably its proximity to the mountains.
There is a cable car that goes straight from the city to the Kok-Tobe hill. The famous Soviet-era resort of Shymbulak can be reached in just 20 minutes. From there, there is a long ski lift that goes up to an altitude of 3200 meters.
It’s like some Soviet Switzerland here, even the advertisement for watches is on display.
A mountain hike has never been so easy. Just get on the funicular and go.
This is where the “best view” of Almaty opens up, as well as from the Kok-Tobe hill, especially in winter. The fact is that Almaty is one of the dirtiest cities on the planet. In fact, the city is in a state of ecological disaster.
Almaty is surrounded by mountains in a semicircle, which already creates a bowl effect. In addition, thermal power plants in Kazakhstan still run on coal, and many houses are heated with car tires.
And if the air in Almaty is normal in the summer, in the winter the concentration of harmful substances is 10 times higher than the WHO norms. In winter mornings, there is so much smog in Almaty that the sun cannot break through the smoky veil.
So the first charm of Almaty is quite superficial. Moreover, the city does not have a historical center or even a center in general. In the conditional “center” at the Republic Square, a piece of “Ohotny Ryad” sticks out of the ground and there is a building of the city council (akimat), burnt down as a result of the riot in January 2022.
“Looks not so bad”
“You want it like in Almaty?”