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coat of arms
coat of arms
Basic data
State : KazakhstanKazakhstan Kazakhstan
Founded : 1854
Coordinates : 43 ° 17 '  N , 76 ° 54'  E Coordinates: 43 ° 16 '39 "  N , 76 ° 53' 45"  E
Height : 500-1,700  m
Area : 682  km²
Residents : 1,916,822 (Jan 1, 2020)
Population density : 2,811 inhabitants per km²
Time zone : EKST ( UTC + 6 )
Telephone code : (+7) 727
Postal code : 050000-050063
License plate : 02 (old: A)
Community type: City with special status
Structure : 8 boroughs
Äkim ( Mayor ) : Baqychan Saghyntayev
Website :
Location in Kazakhstan
Almaty (Kazakhstan)
Paris plan pointer b jms.svg
View of the modern business center of Almaty

Almaty ( Kazakh / Russian Алматы / Almaty , in the new unofficial Latin script Almatı ), from 1867 to 1921 Werny ( Верный ), 1921 to 1993 Alma-Ata (from Kazakh алма alma "apple" and ата ata "grandfather"), is with the largest city in Kazakhstan with around 1.9 million inhabitants . It is located in the southeast of the Central Asian state not far from the border with Kyrgyzstan , was the capital of the Kazakh SSR from 1936 to 1991 and, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, of Kazakhstan until 1997.

In addition to the capital Nur-Sultan , Almaty is still the country's cultural, scientific and economic center with universities and numerous sacred buildings, museums and theaters. The most famous sacred buildings include the Ascension of Christ and the St. Nicholas Cathedral . The 371.5 meter high Almaty television tower on Mount Kök-Töbe , completed in 1983, is one of the tallest structures in the world. Since the beginning of the 21st century, some skyscrapers have also appeared in the city. The city has two train stations and two airports. The Almaty Metro, which opened on December 1, 2011, and trolleybuses provide for inner-city passenger transport.


Geographical location

View over the city to the Tian Shan Mountains

Almaty is located in the southeast of Kazakhstan; to the south it is about 25 km from the city center to the border with Kyrgyzstan and to the east about 300 km to the border with China (both as the crow flies ).

The city is located at the northern foot of the northernmost mountain range of the Tian Shan - Transili-Alatau (Russian Zailijskij-Alatau ), whose mountain ranges are difficult to negotiate with glaciers from Pik Talgar ( 4978.9  m ), which can be seen from almost everywhere in the city , to be crowned. The largest mountain within the city's territory is called Kök-Töbe and is 1070  m high. There are also around 300 glaciers in the vicinity of Almaty, of which the Korschenewski and Tujuksu glaciers are the largest.

To the north of Almaty lies an area with steppes and semi-deserts that merges into the Mujunkum (Russian Mojynkum ) desert .

Seismic activity

Due to its location north of the Tian Shan Mountains , an intraplate orogen with high topography , strong horizontal displacements and strong seismicity , the region around Almaty is frequently affected by earthquakes, which have destroyed the city several times in the last 250 years (1770, 1807 , 1865, 1887, 1889 and 1911). In 1887 the town of Werny was completely destroyed and rebuilt in the same place. The Kebin earthquake of 1911 claimed more than 700 lives and the city was quickly rebuilt. In 1974 four earthquake control stations were built to improve the analysis of the seismic hazard . The Almaty television tower on the Kök-Töbe mountain is earthquake-proof and made of a tubular steel construction; no concrete was used.

City structure

Almaty boroughs

The city is now divided into eight autonomous districts (Avtonomnyj (-e) Okrug (-a)) : Alatau, Almaly, Äuesow, Bostandyq, Sheetyssu, Medeu, Nauryzbai and Türksib. The most populous district is Bostandyk with around 350,000 inhabitants, Nauryzbai is the poorest of the districts with 140,000. The city's first administrative districts were formed in 1936. At that time, the urban area was divided into the four districts of Proletarski (Russian Пролетарский), Leninski (Russian Ленинский), Stalinski (Russian Сталинский) and Frunzensky (Russian Фрунзенский). In 1966 another district was added with the Kalininski district (Russian Калининский) and another district in 1972 with the Auesowski district (Russian Ауэзовский). After the population of Almaty had already grown to more than one million in the early 1980s, two further districts were added by decision of the Soviet authorities on October 17, 1980: Alatauski (Russian Алатауский) and Moskovsky (Russian Московский). In 2014, Nauryzbaiski (Russian: Наурызбайский) was added, the so far last district.

Administrative district Kazakh name Russian name Residents Area [km²]
Alatau Алатау ауданы Алатауский район 280,663 104.1
Almaly Алмалы ауданы Алмалинский район 217.274 18.4
Äuesow Әуезов ауданы Ауэзовский район 303.077 23.6
Bostandyq Бостандық ауданы Бостандыкский район 350.610 99.4
Shetissu Жетісу ауданы Жетысуский район 170.080 39.5
Medeu Медеу ауданы Медеуский район 213,663 253.4
Nauryzbai Наурызбай ауданы Наурызбайский район 141,150 69.7
Turkic Түрксіб ауданы Турксибский район 240.305 75.4
Almaty 1,916,822 682
As of January 1, 2020

Water resources

South of Almaty, in Kyrgyzstan , lies the great Issyk Kul in the Tian Shan Mountains . This lake is the most popular destination for city dwellers. The Qapschaghai Dam , which was built on the Ili River in 1970, is located 70 km north of the city . With a reservoir area of ​​1847 km², it serves as the main reservoir for supplying the metropolis with drinking water.

In the nearby mountains of the Transili-Alatau, numerous rivers arise that cross the city, including Ülken Almaty and Kitschi Almaty .

Flora and fauna

Landsat image of Almaty and the surrounding area

The city is surrounded by numerous gardens in bloom (especially apple orchards, of course), fruit , grain , tobacco and melon plantations and vineyards . In the foothills there are groves with apricots , hawthorn and wild apples . Coniferous forests with thick trunk, alpine meadows and finally the snow-covered ice peaks begin a little higher. From the very beginning, plants and trees from all corners of the world were planted in the city's parks and gardens, and species from North America , the Crimea , the Caucasus and the Far East continue to thrive in Almaty and the surrounding area .

The animal kingdom around Almaty is also rich in species. In addition to the usual rodents, bears and large cats such as the lynx and the city's heraldic animal, the snow leopard, live in the mountain forests . Mountain goats and sheep (Arhare) also inhabit the Tian Shan. In the steppe regions you can meet wolves , red foxes and steppe foxes .

In order to preserve the extraordinary flora and fauna of the Transili-Alatau (Zalij-Alatau), the "Almaty Nature Reserve" was founded in 1935.


Almaty has a pronounced continental climate with large daytime temperature fluctuations. Since the individual districts differ considerably in terms of their altitude, they are located in different climatic zones. This means that the weather can be completely different at different parts of the city on the same day.

Despite the continental climate, the climate of Almaty is much milder than that in northern or central Kazakhstan. The summer heat is dampened by the town's high location (650–950 m above sea level). It can therefore get quite cool on summer nights too.

Winters are usually snowy, with the cold again being subdued by warm air currents from the deserts of Central Asia.

The mountains, which are constantly visible in the city, are always covered with ice and snow - even in the summer months. When the thaw sets in in spring, large amounts of melt water flow from the mountains into the city, which is why Almaty is known for its many small rivers and streams. The water is drained in numerous ditches along almost every street, which has a pleasant influence on the urban climate in summer.

The mean annual rainfall is 656 mm; the average temperature in July is 23.7 ° C, in January it is −5.4 ° C; the annual average is 9.4 ° C. The highest temperature ever measured was 41.7 ° C (in July 1997), the lowest -37.7 ° C (in February 1951).

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: ;
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Almaty
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 0.3 1.4 7.0 17.4 22.1 27.2 30.0 28.9 24.1 16.1 7.6 2.6 O 15.5
Min. Temperature (° C) −9.3 −8.2 −2.6 5.9 10.5 15.2 17.8 16.3 11.1 4.2 −2.0 −6.3 O 4.4
Temperature (° C) −5.4 −4.1 1.7 11.4 16.1 21.0 23.7 22.3 17.2 9.5 2.0 −2.7 O 9.5
Precipitation ( mm ) 33 41 62 111 106 61 38 26th 29 56 52 41 Σ 656
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 3.8 4.2 4.7 6.5 7.8 9.3 9.9 9.5 8.2 5.9 4.2 3.3 O 6.5
Rainy days ( d ) 6th 6th 10 10 10 7th 5 4th 4th 7th 7th 6th Σ 82
Humidity ( % ) 75 76 73 60 57 50 46 45 49 63 73 77 O 61.9
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec



Development of the place name
Vernoje 1854-1867
Werny 1867-1921
Alma-ata 1921-1993
Almaty Since 1993

As early as the 10th century BC There were human settlements on the territory of Almaty, as evidenced by the findings of various bronzes from excavation areas north of the place. Since the 7th century BC There are cultural traces of Saken and Wusun . The best-known and most interesting testimony of the Sakian culture is the so-called "Altyn Adam", "Golden Man" from Issyk-Kurgan near the town of Issyk, 48 km from Almaty. This is a completely preserved, richly decorated armor made of gold that belonged to a young Sakian prince.

The excavations show that there were four larger settlements on the territory of Almaty at the latest since the 10th century AD, three of which grew together to form the city of Almatu after about two centuries. This name is mentioned for the first time on a silver dirham from the year 684 (according to our era 1285/86). Such coins were minted in the predecessor city of today's Almaty during the Mongolian rule (Khanate Chagatai ). The name Almatu also appears in some Arabic sources and in travel notes from a Chinese monk.

In the 14th century, the city was almost completely destroyed by the Mongols (probably in the course of suppressing a rebellion). Since trade on the Silk Road - the city's livelihood - also came to a standstill, the remains of Almatu withered in the 16th century. Its ruins could still be seen in the middle of the 19th century, the Russians used them as a stone pit for the city of Werny.


Kazan Cathedral in old Werny

In opening up Central Asia, the Russian Empire set up several outposts in the region to secure the territory. It was also contractually obliged to protect the Kazakhs against the Djungars .

On February 4, 1854, the troops under the command of Major Mikhail Peremyshelsky (Russian Михаил Дмитриевич Перемышельский) founded the fortress Vernoje ("The Loyalty") as a military fortification at the foot of the Transili-Alatau. The construction of the plant was completed in autumn of that year; it consisted of a pentagonal area, which was bordered with a wooden fence and at the central point of which the training facilities were located. The crew at that time comprised 470 officers and soldiers. On July 1, 1855, the first expelled Kazakhs arrived in Vernoje and a little later Russian peasants were also allowed to settle in the village. As a result, people also settled in the area around the fortress: the Russian immigrants founded the Stanitsa ( Cossack settlement ) Bolschaja Almatinskaja not far from the fortress and with the influx of Tatar craftsmen and merchants, the settlements Malaja Almatinskaja and Tatarskaja (Tashkentskaja) sloboda built. In May 1859 the population had already reached 5000 people.

On April 11, 1867, the fortress and the surrounding buildings were granted city rights. At the same time it was renamed Almatinsk, which was rejected by the population and reversed a short time later. The city of Verny (the ending was changed according to the Russian grammar), the population of which has now exceeded 10,000, became the capital of the Semirechye (Seven Rivers Land) region, which encompassed present-day northeast Kazakhstan and parts of Kyrgyzstan. The city was divided into different residential areas, which in turn were assigned to the two newly created city districts. In the city center there were one- and two-story buildings, and administrative buildings and public facilities were built in the city park (now the Park of 28 Panfilowzy ).

On June 1, 1887, Werny was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake within about ten minutes. Only one of 1700 buildings withstood the quake. Taking into account the seismic danger, the city was rebuilt within a short time, whereby the governor of Semirechye Oblast stipulated that buildings should only be made of wood , as these could withstand an earthquake more easily than those made of bricks . The next big quake occurred on January 3, 1911. The Kemin earthquake had a magnitude of 7.8  M w on the moment magnitude and destroyed around 700 buildings in the city.

A description by Werny for 1909 gives the following overview of the city:

"В Верном сосредоточены все областные учреждения Семиречья во главе с военным губернатором, и имеет местопребывание епископа туркестанского и ташкентского. Население города достигает 37 000 (26 000 - русские, остальные таранчи, дунгане, сарты, татары, киргизы); в нем имеется 2 100 домов, 9 церквей, 4 мечети, 18 учебных заведений, небольшой областной муизей, 66 дабразасвоизей, 66 дабрзасвоизей, 66 дабрзасвоизей, 66 дабрзасвоизей, 66 дабр. Городские доходы составляют - 119.515 руб., Расходы 119.113 р. "

“All government institutions of Semirechye Oblast led by the military governor are concentrated in Verny and it is the seat of the bishops of Turkestan and Tashkent. The city's population is 37,000 (26,000 - Russians, the rest Taranchi , Dungans, Sart, Tatars, Kyrgyz); there are 2,100 buildings, 9 churches, 4 mosques, 18 educational institutions, a small regional museum, 66 factories and businesses with 313 workers. Urban income - 119,515 rubles, expenses 119,113 rubles. "

- Russia. Complete geographical description of our motherland, 1909

On the eve of the First World War , Werny was already a prosperous city with 62 educational institutions, factories, banks, a telegraph and a small telephone network. In 1907 the Holy Resurrection Cathedral was completed, which for a long time was the largest building in the city, at a height of 45 meters. The population in 1909 was about 37,000.


In the 1920s and 1930s

Like many cities in the former Russian Empire , Werny was renamed by the communists . However, the city did not get the name of a Bolshevik leader like the Kyrgyz capital (Frunze, today Bishkek ). Werny was given a Slavic form of his earlier name. It was renamed Alma-Ata ( Russian Алма-Ата ) after the two rivers on which the fortress was built . The Kazakh ending -tu or -ty (attribute ending ) was mistakenly understood as the word “Ata” - father, grandpa . This is how the “Apple City” became the “Father of Apples”. The decision was made on February 5, 1921. However, the designation is grammatically incorrect in Kazakh: "Alma-Ata" is just a string of two words without putting them in relation to one another.

As early as March 2, 1927, the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars decided to move the capital of the Kazakh Socialist Soviet Republic from Ksyl-Orda to Alma-Ata. Simultaneously with the connection of Alma-Ata to the Turkestan-Siberian Railway , the government authorities moved to the new capital in May 1929. With the relocation of the capital to Alma-Ata, the communist leaders pushed ahead with further large infrastructure projects in the city. Alma-Ata airport was opened as early as 1935 and the tramway started operating just two years later. The government of the Kazakh SSR prepared an action plan for Alma-Ata for 1929 and 1930, in which investments of 6.5 million rubles in housing, 2.9 million rubles for the construction of administrative buildings and 2.2 million rubles were intended for utilities. The enormous growth of the city, which it has seen since its appointment as the capital, was directed mainly northwards towards the Almaty-1 train station and westwards.

During the Second World War

In 1941 the city name in Kazakh was changed again from Alma-Ata to Almaty, in Russian the name remained Alma-Ata. In the war years 1941–1945, many factories, authorities and institutes were relocated from the western part of the Soviet Union, which was occupied by the German Wehrmacht, to Central Asia. More than 30 industrial companies, 15 universities, 20 research institutes and the film studios from Moscow , Leningrad and Kiev were relocated to Alma-Ata alone . So it came about that almost all Soviet wartime propaganda films were shot in Alma-Ata. During this time, many townspeople fought on the front lines. 48 of them were honored with the " Hero of the Soviet Union " badge . In Alma-Ata the POW camp 40 existed for German POWs of the Second World War.

Post-war years and perestroika

View of the center of the city

After the war, Alma-Ata grew faster than ever in every way. Leonid Brezhnev lived here as the first secretary of the Kazakhstan Central Committee for a year before he was promoted to general secretary of the party, and this acquaintance naturally benefited the city during his reign. The Kazakh capital was most favored by the head of the republic Dinmuchamed Kunajew , who ruled from 1960 to 1986 with a brief interruption. Under him, the city essentially got its present appearance and it became a metropolis of millions. Even today, the name Kunayev has positive associations in Kazakhstan.

In 1978 delegations from 123 governments and 67 non-governmental organizations met here for a WHO conference that ended with the Alma-Ata Declaration on Basic Health Care and Health Promotion and laid the foundation for the 1986 Ottawa Charter .

The Perestroika started for Alma-Ata under an unlucky sign. In December 1986 the plenum of the Central Committee of the Kazakh SSR decided without further ado to exchange Kunayev for Gennady Kolbin , who did not know the country, the people or the language. As a result, young people demonstrated at a rally against the arbitrariness of the Central Committee, which degenerated into a riot ( Sheltoksan riots ). It was the first major demonstration in the Soviet Union in two decades.

The communist leadership reacted late with a military action to overthrow the demonstration - "Metel '86" ("the snow storm 86"). Hundreds of people were arrested and two youths later shot as instigators. The Central Committee described the protests as a nationalist uprising. Kunayev died in 1993.

Almost exactly five years after the "Metel '86", on December 21, 1991, the heads of state of the 12 Soviet republics signed the Alma Ata Declaration on the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), thereby sealing the final collapse of the Soviet Union . Alma-Ata became the capital of the independent Republic of Kazakhstan.


In 1993 the city was renamed again, Almaty, which means the city of apples or apple trees.

Soon the new Kazakh leadership decided to move the capital from Almaty to Aqmola (now Nur-Sultan , formerly Akmolinsk , Zelinograd and Astana ). However, the “Law on the Special Status of Almaty” guarantees the city the preservation of a special position as the historical scientific, cultural and financial center of Kazakhstan. Some government organizations, 36 foreign embassies and consulates, representations of the UN and UNESCO remained in Almaty. The move of the capital was justified by the earthquake hazard in the region around Almaty and the shortage of space for new construction projects. The demographic situation in northern Kazakhstan, where the majority of the population is of Russian descent, certainly played a role. This would counteract a possible spin-off.

Nevertheless, Almaty remains an important cultural, scientific and economic center of the country.


Until 1997 Almaty was the capital of Kazakhstan and the area of ​​the same name. Now, however, it is neither, as the capital was moved to Aqmola (now Nur-Sultan ) and the regional capital to Taldyqorghan . Although the area is still called "Almaty Oblysy", Almaty is not part of it. It is an autonomous "city with special status", of which there are two more in Kazakhstan - Nur-Sultan and Baikonur .


The current mayor ( Äkim ) of Almaty has been Baqychan Saghyntayev since June 28, 2019 . During the Soviet period, the city administration was headed by the chairman of the executive committee. Below are the mayors of the city since 1992:

Town twinning

Almaty has 16 city ​​partnerships with cities in Africa , Asia , Europe and North America . The first town twinning was concluded in 1989 with Tucson in the United States, the last in 2004 with Varna in Bulgaria . The Medeu district also maintains a partnership with Alpen am Niederrhein in Germany . The following table lists the places with which Almaty has partnered cities (sorted by year of conclusion):

The town twinning of Almaty
Tucson City Coat of Arms
Tucson United StatesUnited States United States 1989
Blason Rennes.svg Rennes FranceFrance France 1991
Daegu Logo.svg Daegu Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea 1991
Coat of Arms of Moscow.svg Moscow RussiaRussia Russia 1994
Kazan city coat of arms
Kazan RussiaRussia Russia 1996
Coat of Arms of Saint Petersburg (2003) .svg St. Petersburg RussiaRussia Russia 1996
Coat of arms of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.png Bishkek KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan 1997
Coat of arms of Minsk.svg Minsk BelarusBelarus Belarus 1998
The town twinning of Almaty
Grand Coat of Arms of Vilnius.svg Vilnius LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania 1998
Ibb emblem.svg Istanbul TurkeyTurkey Turkey 1998
Coa Riga.svg Riga LatviaLatvia Latvia 1998
Emblem of Tel Aviv.svg Tel Aviv-Jaffa IsraelIsrael Israel 1999
Coa Hungary Town Budapest big.svg Budapest HungaryHungary Hungary 2003
Alexandria Logo.jpg Alexandria EgyptEgypt Egypt 2003
Urumqi China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 2003
Varna coat of arms.gif Varna BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria 2004


Population structure

Since 1981 Almaty has been a metropolis of millions, one of the largest cities in the former Soviet Union and the second largest city in Central Asia after Tashkent . Around 8% of Kazakhstan's population lives in Almaty. The population growth in the last few years was about 0.6%, the death rate was exceeded by the birth rate by almost 30%. As of January 1, 2015, around 1.642 million people lived in Almaty, of whom 0.75 million were male and 0.89 million were female, resulting in a gender ratio of around 45 to 55 percent (male / female). About 16 percent of the population were children up to nine years of age. Around a quarter of the residents were under 20 years of age. The Aksakals , as the respectable old men and women of over 80 years of age in Kazakhstan are called, make up about 1.5%.

Age pyramid for Almaty
Number in thousands
Men Age level Women
over 85

In 2003, 5630 people moved abroad, 839 of them to Germany . 5,496 people have moved here, 1,174 of them from China and 46 from Germany. The balance of internal migration was + 18,658 people.


Nationalities in Almaty (2010)
nationality percent

Almaty is an international and cosmopolitan city ​​with representatives from almost 120 nations. Until recently, Russians made up the majority of the urban population - which was the case in most of Kazakhstan's major cities. According to the first population census from 1897, 58% of the residents were Russian during the Tsarist era. The Kazakhs came in third with only 8.2%, behind the Uyghurs with 8.7%. Due to the geographic proximity of the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in the People's Republic of China , they are still the third largest minority in the city.

Today the Russians are represented with 33% and the Kazakhs with 51.1%. Traditionally, the Kazakhs of the Elder Shus , the Dshany clan of the Dulat tribe and the Tschibyl clan and Aikym of the Schap surprisey tribe live in the vicinity of Almaty . In the city itself, the tribal affiliation of the Kazakh population is very different and in some cases can no longer be determined. In addition to the Uyghurs, many other Turkic peoples are represented, such as Azerbaijanis , Turks , Tatars and the East Turkestan Dungans or Jungars . The largest Slavic minority after the Russians are the Ukrainians with 1.2%. The fourth largest population group with a share of 1.9% in Almaty are Koreans , who in Kazakhstan and other states of the former Soviet Union also refer to themselves as Korjo-Saram and were deported from the Russian Far East to Central Asia under Stalin . The proportion of Germans is only 0.6%. Fifteen years ago there were far more Germans in Almaty, but even then they were barely more than 3%, as their main settlement areas were predominantly northern and central Kazakhstan.

The signage in the city is mostly bilingual, Russian and Kazakh

When looking at these numbers, one should note the high level of interstate migration triggered by the fall of the Soviet Union. After its dissolution, many Russians, Ukrainians, Germans and Jews left the city and often the country as well. However, since the late 1990s, the economic situation has stabilized and migration has slowed significantly. In recent years, the trend has even been completely reversed, with numerous people migrating to Almaty from poorer former Soviet republics.

The main lingua franca, as in most parts of Kazakhstan, is Russian . Since independence, however, the government has been trying to spread the Kazakh language again among the population. Street signs or official documents are mostly bilingual. In addition, the languages ​​of the respective minorities are common in the city.

Population development

Almaty today has around 1.9 million inhabitants, making it the largest city in Kazakhstan. At the time of its founding, the city only had around 400 inhabitants, but by May 1859 its population had already increased to 5,000. In the following years the population continued to grow and in 1913 it had already reached the 40,000 mark. The 1926 census showed that what was then Alma-Ata had a population of 45,600; only 13 years later the city had more than 200,000 inhabitants. Almaty has been a city ​​of millions since 1982 . The rapid increase in population in recent years is mainly due to the expansion of the city limits, as a result of which many surrounding places were incorporated into the city area and the population increased by almost 150,000 in 2014.

year Residents
1854 400
1859 5,000
1879 18,423
1913 40,000
1926 45,400
1939¹ 222,000
1959¹ 456,000
year Residents
1970¹ 665,000
1979¹ 899,700
1989¹ 1,071,900
1999¹ 1,129,400
2000 1,130,439
2001 1,128,759
2002 1,132,424
year Residents
2003 1,149,641
2004 1,175,208
2005 1,209,485
2006 1,247,896
2007 1,287,246
2008 1,324,739
2009¹ 1,361,877
year Residents
2010 1,390,701
2011 1,413,526
2012 1,449,801
2013 1,475,429
2014 1,507,509
2015 1,642,300
2016 1,703,481
year Residents
2017 1,751,308
2018 1,801,713
2019 1,854,556
2020 1,916,782

¹ census result


Religions in Almaty 2009
religion percent

Most of the Kazakhs are Muslims and of the Sunni faith. The majority of Kazakhs took in the 14th century under the influence of the Golden Horde to Islam at. In connection with perestroika , a reform process also took place among the Muslims of Kazakhstan at the end of the 1980s. In November 1989, numerous imams met in Almaty and founded the “Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Kazakhstan” ( Dukhovnoe upravlenie musul'man Kazakhstana DUMK). The DUMK delegates elected five Qazis in January 1990 , one of whom was responsible for Almaty. The DUMK also founded its Higher Islamic Institute in Almaty in 1990, which offered a two-year religious education that 300 students had already completed in 1996. The DUMK also built new mosques in the city, including the large central mosque , which was opened in 1997. In the 1990s, Kazakhstan's Muslims came closer to the Arab-Islamic states. In 1997, for example, Arab foundations supported the establishment of the Kazakh-Arab University and the Kazakh-Kuwaiti University in Almaty. After DUMK had closed its Higher Islamic Institute, it opened the Egyptian University for Islamic Culture Nur-Mubarak as a replacement in 2001 , a cooperation project with the Egyptian Ministry for Religious Foundations . This college also houses a mosque.

Most of the Christians in Almaty are members of the Russian Orthodox Church . The most important Russian Orthodox church buildings are the Ascension Cathedral , built in the early 20th century , which is one of the greatest attractions in the city, and the Nicholas Cathedral . Almaty is also the second seat of the Russian Orthodox Eparchy Astana and Almaty . In Almaty there is also a parish of the Roman Catholic Church , which consists mainly of the German and Polish minorities. The city is also the seat of the diocese of the Most Holy Trinity in Almaty with the Trinity Cathedral. A small congregation of the Armenian Apostolic Church was only founded in 1994. With the Church of St. Karapet it maintains one of only three Armenian Apostolic Churches in all of Central Asia; the other two are in Samarkand and Tashkent in Uzbekistan . The community belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Diocese of New Nakhchivan and Moscow .

Furthermore, there is a large number of Protestant free churches whose influence was already evident in the 19th century. The Catholic communities consist mostly of Germans and Poles who settled there after the Second World War .

Culture and sights

The cultural life of the southern capital of Kazakhstan is extraordinarily rich and diverse by Central Asian standards.

Theater, music, film

The Abai Opera House , built from 1936 to 1941 in the neoclassical style

Of the theaters, the city has nine state and seven non-state. The State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater , which bears the name Abai - after Abai Qunanbajuly - is the oldest and most important not only in the city, but also in the republic. Also worth mentioning are the State Academic Äuesow Theater , the State Academic Lermontov Theater for Drama , the 'Novaya Szena' theater , the National Theater of Russians, Germans, Koreans and Uyghurs, as well as three puppet theaters .

  • At the Kazakh State Shambyl Philharmonic, you can attend concerts by the State Symphony Orchestra, the State Wind Orchestra, the State Ethnographic Orchestra, the Qurmanghazy Orchestra of Folk Musical Instruments, and the Baikadamov Choral Band. In addition, there are some municipal orchestras and ensembles such as the Akim Symphony Orchestra of Almaty, the ballet “Samruk”, the ensembles “Saltanat”, “Gulder”, “Sasgen Sasy” and others.
  • Kazachfilm Studio: In Almaty there is the only state film studio in Kazakhstan, 'Kazachfilm', where the monumental historical epic “The Nomads” was recentlyfilmedby Ilias Jessenberlin . Compared to the Soviet times, however, the activity of the film studio has decreased.
  • The AChBK Palace of Culture was closed.

An alley dedicated to the film Igla (Russian: Игла) was opened in Almaty on 2017: metal plates with quotes from the famous Russian singer Viktor Zoi were laid on a stone-lined path . On June 21, 2018, a monument to Victor Zoi was opened at the beginning of this alley.


Ykylas Museum of Folk Musical Instruments

The Central Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan is one of the oldest and largest museums in Kazakhstan. It was founded in 1931 and was initially housed in the building of the closed Ascension Cathedral. The museum deals with the history of the country. Another important museum is the Kasteev State Museum of Arts . With around 22,000 art objects, it is one of the largest art museums in Central Asia. The collection mainly includes exhibits from Kazakhstan and Russia, but also from Europe and Asia. The Yqylas Museum of Folk Musical Instruments is located at the 28 Panfilowzy Park and is housed in a historic building from 1908. Mainly Kazakh musical instruments are exhibited here, but the museum also provides insight into the origins of Kazakh folk music . The Almaty Museum was only established in 2001 and deals with the historical and cultural heritage of the Shetissu region. The collection includes household items from different eras and cultures, numismatics , photos and documents. The Republican Book Museum is a museum of literary history and publishing in Kazakhstan. It has a collection of more than 500 rare books and manuscripts from the 18th to 20th centuries.

In 2010 a science and museum center was set up in the building of the Academy of Sciences, which unites several museums under one roof. The Archaeological Museum of Kazakhstan was founded in 1973 and shows in its exhibition all periods of the ancient history of Kazakhstan from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages . It shows unique materials of great importance from excavations of tombs of the Bronze Age and from the medieval cities in southern Kazakhstan. The Kazakh nature museum has also been located here since 2012 . The fossilized remains of animals and plants as well as the skeletons of dinosaurs and other living beings are shown, all of which were found in Kazakhstan. The Museum of the History of Kazakh Science deals with the works of medieval thinkers such as al-Fārābī , Ahmed Yesevi or Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat . But also the life and work of the Kazakh educators of the 19th century such as Ybyrai Altynsarin , Abai Qunanbajuly or Schoqan Uälichanuly are discussed. The Museum of Rare Books contains historical, cultural and scientific manuscripts and books written in Kazakhstan.

There are also a number of biographical museum houses that deal with the life and work of well-known Kazakh personalities. The Äuesow house museum is dedicated to the writer Muchtar Äuesow . There is also the State Literature and Memorial Museum Complex for Ghabit Müssirepow and Säbit Muqanow, as well as house museums for the writer Akhmet Baitursynuly , the painter Äbilchan Qastejew and the politician Dinmuchamed Kunajew .

Secular historical buildings

The oldest surviving building in the city dates from 1892. A children's nursing home once resided there, and today it is the city's medical college. The office building of the merchant Gabdulvaliyev, who today bears the name "Kyzyltan", is built in the once splendid, rich style. Typical representatives of the Russian colonial style of the 19th century are the municipal educational institute, the boys' grammar school, the girls' grammar school and the officers' house in the park of the 28 Panfilowzy (today: Museum of Folk Musical Instruments).

Many handsome buildings were erected in the 1930s and 1940s, including the Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, the former government and treasury offices. The Academy of Sciences, the children's and youth theater and the Almaty II train station followed in the 1950s. The Palace of the Republic was built in 1970 and the Hotel Kazakhstan in the late 1970s , which at almost 130 meters was the tallest building in Kazakhstan for a long time.

The Almaty TV tower , located on the Kök-Töbe mountain, is 371.5 meters high and is one of the tallest structures in the world.

Almaty has 13 exhibition halls and art galleries (Central Exhibition Hall, “Tengri-Umaj”, “Tribuna”, “Ular”, Art Center “Alma-Ata”, Salon of Art and Numismatics etc.) as well as 12 cinemas (including: the film theater Arman ). The Almaty Circus is the oldest circus in Kazakhstan.

Sacred buildings

Ascension Cathedral

The main attraction of the city is the Holy Ascension Cathedral (Sofia Cathedral of Turkestan), the seat of the Bishop of Turkestan , built in 1907 . The cathedral was built in the "Russian" style, whose shapes, ornaments and bright colors are reminiscent of the Terems, the old Russian palaces (an example of this is the Terem Palace in the Moscow Kremlin ). This cathedral, with its vaults, domes, bell tower and a system of stairs and galleries, is often compared to St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, which has been given Baroque features. The church was included in the Russian catalog of 100 wonders of the world.

The cathedral was created by the architect AP Senkow. The city of Almaty (then Werny) is located in an area particularly prone to earthquakes. In 1887, an earthquake struck here that lasted ten minutes and left the whole city in ruins. At that time it was noticed that the buildings made of wood were the least damaged, and so the cathedral was built entirely from wood (more precisely from the fir wood of Tian-Shan). Senkow not only used the latest architectural findings of the time for the construction, but he also based himself on historical models, such as the Japanese pagodas in seismically active areas . The result was that the Turkestan Cathedral was one of the few buildings to survive the two great earthquakes of 1910 and 1921 unscathed. Surprisingly, the church never went up in flames and thus remains one of the few completely preserved wooden sacred buildings in the world.

In addition to the Ascension Cathedral, the St. Nicholas Cathedral , the Peter and Paul Church and the Kazan Cathedral have been preserved from the time of the Tsars . The last one is built in a style reminiscent of Ukrainian baroque. In the 1990s, based on the Moscow cathedrals, the Orthodox Christ the Savior Cathedral was built. In 2007 the St. Sophia Cathedral was rebuilt. In the north of the city is the Paraskewi Church .

All of the mosques in Almaty today were not built until the 1990s. The central mosque , the Sultan Kurgan mosque, the mosque on Ryskulov Prospect, the mosque in the Orbita district and the Nur Mubarak mosque of the Islamic University are particularly beautiful . The Tatar mosque of old Werny, however, has not been preserved.

There is also a modern Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.


Medeo ice rink

The football club Kairat Almaty was the model club of the Kazakh SSR during the Soviet Union. With a total of 24 seasons in the top division of the Soviet Union, Kairat is the front runner for teams from the Central Asian republics and is in fourteenth place in the all-time table of the Soviet league, just ahead of Pachtakor Tashkent . Today the club takes part in the game of the Premjer League , in which the championship has already been celebrated twice. In addition, Kairat has won the Kazakh Football Cup seven times . The club plays its home games in the central stadium in Almaty; he emerged from the sports club Dinamo Alma-Ata . In the second Kazakh league, the city is represented by Zesna Almaty . The city is also home to the CSHVSM Almaty women's football team and the MFK Kairat Almaty futsal club .

The HK Almaty ice hockey team takes part in the Kazakh Championship . In women's ice hockey, the city is represented by the Aisulu Almaty club . The BC Almaty basketball club plays in the Kazakh National League.

The internationally known speed skating rink of Medeo is located about 16 km south of Almaty . The 2012 World Bandy Championship was held there. On February 14 and 15, 2015, the World Cup Grand Prix of Kazakhstan took place in Medeo in the ice speedway .

The only ski jumping hills in Kazakhstan are located in Almaty . Originally there was a K 15, a K 35, a K 45 and a K 70 ski jump, but these were demolished. A normal hill (K 95) and a large hill (K 125) were built for the 2011 Asian Winter Games . At the end of September 2010 the two ski jumps were opened with a Continental Cup competition . Both competitions were won by Kamil Stoch from Poland . On August 30, 2011 a Summer Grand Prix was held here, won by Jurij Tepeš from Slovenia . The ski jumping complex is called Gorney Gigant . Almaty applied to host the Nordic World Ski Championships in 2019 and - just as unsuccessfully - those of the 1994 , 2014 and 2022 Winter Olympic Games .

Nature and leisure

"Eternal fire" in the park of 28 Panfilowzy

The city of apples has numerous parks and recreational facilities.

  • Tree grove: The oldest park - called tree grove - was planted by a German-Russian botanist couple during the times of the Russian Empire.
  • Central Park for Culture and Leisure : The Central Park for Culture and Leisure, formerly Gorky Park, was created shortly after the city was founded. Fountains, statues, many exotic flowers and trees, a mini-train, a lake and the boat trips with the snow-capped peaks of the Tian-Shan in the background make this park the most popular resort in the whole city. Today there are many carousels and other modern attractions such as B. installed an aqua park. The 28 Panfilowzy Park is located in the city center.
  • Recreational parks : Almaty has three more of the modern recreational parks modeled on Disneyland: Ajja Fantasy Park, 'Bobek' Park , and 'Family' Park.
  • Zoo: Animal lovers can watch elephants, hippos, crocodiles and many other animal species in the large Almaty zoo. However, according to western understanding, the zoo is on a low level. Many animals are cooped up in enclosures and cages that are far too small, are continuously supplied with unsuitable food by visitors and show considerable behavioral disorders.
  • Conservatory of the Academy of Sciences: Exotic plants can be viewed in the Conservatory of the Academy of Sciences.

Economy and Infrastructure

Economic situation

Almaty is the economic center of southern Kazakhstan and, alongside Nur-Sultan, one of the country's economic centers. The gross domestic product was around 42.6 billion US dollars in 2013 and was therefore more than double the economic output of the capital Nur-Sultan. The share in the total economic output of Kazakhstan amounted to 19 percent. The vast majority of economic output comes from the service sector (mainly wholesale , retail , information and communication, transport and storage as well as real estate ) and only around ten percent comes from industry . The agricultural sector is no longer relevant to Almaty's economic performance. Tourism and finance also make a significant contribution; Almost a third of all those employed in the Kazakh financial sector are employed in Almaty. The city plays an important role in the regional economy as a distribution center for goods and as a hub for international organizations and companies.

The monthly income per capita is around 169,000 tenge , which is significantly higher than the national average. The number of people in employment in the city in the first quarter of 2016 was 889,047, resulting in an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent.

The structure of industrial production is as follows:

Commercial street in Almaty
Line of production proportion of
Food production 38.0%
mechanical engineering 15.4%
Wood, paper and printing industries 10.3%
metallurgy 10.3%
Building materials industry 7.6%

On January 1, 2005, 1668 companies were registered in the city, including 168 large and medium-sized companies, which account for almost 78% of urban production. The range of manufactured industrial goods is very broad. The food industry produces tea, wine, confectionery , pasta, dairy and meat products; washing machines, televisions, carpets, leather shoes, leotards, bricks, metal structures and much more are manufactured in other areas.

Foreign trade in 2004 amounted to US $ 5,294.6 million, the unemployment rate was 8.9%, and average wages reached US $ 192 per month. More than 577,000 people in the southern capital were employed in 2003.

The Mega Center Alma-Ata is one of the largest shopping centers in all of Kazakhstan. In addition, Almaty is home to the largest shopping center in Central Asia, the Aport Mall .

Almaty is the largest exhibition location in Kazakhstan. The Atakent Expo Exhibition Center, where the trade shows are held, is the only exhibition center in the country. The most important fairs held in Almaty are WorldFood Kazakhstan , KazBuild , Kazakhstan International Healthcare Exhibition , Kazakhstan International “Oil & Gas” Exhibition , MiningWorld Central Asia and Kazakhstan International Tourism Fair.

Established businesses

Food production is an important industry. Most of the major food manufacturers are located in the city. Among them are Rakhat , the largest confectionery manufacturer in Kazakhstan. The spirits manufacturer Bacchus and RG Brands , a beverage manufacturer, are also based in Almaty.

Almaty is also Kazakhstan's most important financial center and the country's insurance center. Like Kazkommertsbank , Halyk Bank , ATFBank and BTA Bank , almost all of Kazakhstan's major credit institutions have their headquarters in Almaty.

Despite the relocation of the capital to Nur-Sultan, some state-owned companies such as Kazpost , Kazatomprom or Air Astana have remained in Almaty. The retail companies Meloman , ABDI Company and Sulpak are also headquartered in Almaty.

In the south of the city is the Kazakh Stock Exchange , the only stock exchange in the country. Almaty is also home to most of the publicly traded companies, such as Kazakhstan Kagazy , Almatyenergosbyt and KazTransCom .

At the same time, the former capital is the country's largest media location. Numerous Kazakh television stations, radio stations and newspapers are located in the city.


Local transport

Trolleybus in Almaty
Almaty Metro train at Rajymbek batyr station

The public transport in Almaty is for the most part by the municipal companies Almatyelektrotrans organized (AET). It operates more than 100 bus routes and currently eight trolleybus routes . Since insufficient funds were made available for the operation and maintenance of the public transport systems after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the condition of the trolleybus and tram system deteriorated increasingly. The route network has been steadily reduced in recent years, so that only eight of the original 25 trolleybus lines are still in operation. Most of the public transport is still provided by the numerous buses, which have now been completely privatized. To improve control over the development of inner-city transportation, the city began outsourcing the bus system to private providers in the late 1990s. However, this only led to a deterioration in the quality of local transport, as the private operators often use small vehicles with few seats. In order to counteract this development, stricter requirements for operators were introduced in 2005 in order to ban minibuses from urban traffic again. Under the leadership of the United Nations Development Program , the optimization and modernization of the city's transport system began in 2013, including the purchase of new buses and the optimization of the route network. There are regional and national connections from the two bus stations Sairan and Saychat.


Trolleybuses have existed in Almaty since 1944, as in many cities in the Soviet Union. In its greatest expansion, the line network of the trolleybus Almaty covered a length of 220 kilometers on 25 lines; however, it was massively reduced in size, especially in the 1990s, and now only comprises eight lines. After all other trolleybus systems in Kazakhstan ceased operations in recent years, the one in Almaty is the last remaining system in Kazakhstan.


Until 2015, AET also operated a tram network, consisting of two lines, whose operation was suspended until further notice due to ailing infrastructure and frequent accidents with trams.


Since 2011 there is also a subway in the city . With the Metro Almaty , the construction of which began in 1988 and the opening of which has been postponed several times, there is the first underground railway network in Kazakhstan. It initially has a line with nine stations, an expansion by two more stations is planned for 2019.

Long-distance transport

Since the completion of the Turksib (1930), Almaty can also be reached by train. Today the city has two large train stations, Almaty-1 and Almaty-2 ; also some smaller regional railroad stations. Almaty can be reached from Moscow in four days without having to change trains.

air traffic

Almaty Airport has existed since 1935 , succumbing to about 18 km outside the city center. In 1977/78 the world's first supersonic flight connection led from Alma-Ata to Moscow (with Tupolev Tu-144 as a passenger aircraft). Today there are various daily international flight connections. The regional airports in the country are also served daily. The small Almaty-Boraldai Airport is located northwest of the city . From Frankfurt am Main there is a daily connection through Lufthansa .


There are a large number of schools and universities in Almaty. In addition to 187 secondary schools, there are 16 grammar schools and lyceums. Young city dwellers can acquire the intermediate professional qualification at 21 state and republic colleges or 57 private colleges. There is an intensive collaboration with schools in Germany and France.

Almaty has 13 universities:

There are also quite a few universities of applied sciences and academies, of which the following are worth mentioning:

  • Kazakh Institute of Management, Economics and Forecasting (KIMEP)
  • International business academy
  • Kazakh Academy of Transport and Communications
  • Kazakh Academy of Sports and Tourism
  • Academy of Labor and Social Relations
  • Academy of International Journalism
  • Kazakh National Shurgenov Art Academy: provides higher education in the field of arts
  • Kazakh National Conservatory : offers artistic courses in music and the history of music

Scientific research is concentrated at the Kazakh Academy of Sciences founded in 1946 by Kanysch Imantajewitsch Satpajew . It is also the top scientific institution in Kazakhstan. In the mountains near Almaty there are several observatories ( Assy-Turgen Observatory , Tian Shan Observatory ) operated by the Fessenkow Astrophysical Institute .

  • 30 libraries: the National Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Central Chekhov Municipal Library, the Begalin Children's Republican Library, etc.


Sons and Daughters: Almaty is the birthplace of numerous prominent personalities.


  • Aitzhan Sh. Nurmanova, Asilbek K. Izbairov: Islamic education in Soviet and post-Soviet Kazakhstan. In: Michael Kemper, Raoul Motika, Stefan Reichmuth (Eds.): Islamic Education in the Soviet Union and Its Successor States . Routledge, London 2010, pp. 280-312.

Web links

Portal: Almaty  - Articles, pictures and more about Almaty
Commons : Almaty  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  3. a b History of Almaty. City of Almaty, accessed June 12, 2016 .
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  6. Erich Maschke (Hrsg.): On the history of the German prisoners of war of the Second World War. Verlag Ernst and Werner Gieseking, Bielefeld 1962–1977.
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  14. See Nurmanova, Izbairov: Islamic education in Soviet and post-Soviet Kazakhstan . 2010, p. 288.
  15. See Nurmanova, Izbairov: Islamic education in Soviet and post-Soviet Kazakhstan . 2010, p. 289f.
  16. See Nurmanova, Izbairov: Islamic education in Soviet and post-Soviet Kazakhstan . 2010, p. 290.
  17. Адреса и телефоны действующих церквей Ново-Нахичеванской и Российской Епархии Армянской Арминской Апосто. ( Memento from July 7, 2012 in the web archive ) (Russian)
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  24. Embarrassing for the International Olympic Committee. ( Memento from July 31, 2015 in the web archive ) at:
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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on June 3, 2005 .