Almaty formerly known as Alma-Ata and Verniy, is the largest city in Kazakhstan. The leafy city of Almaty with a backdrop of the snowcapped Zailiysky Alatau, has always been among the more appealing Russian creations in Central Asia. Today Almaty’s new rich have expensive suburban apartments, large SUVs, glitzy shopping malls, Western-style coffee lounges, expensive restaurants, dance-till-dawn nightclubs and new ski resorts to help them enjoy life to the full. Meanwhile, others from the city’s outer districts and the countryside squeeze into packed buses and rickety marshrutkas around the Green Market (Zelyony Bazar) or Sayakhat bus station.
Being a financial and cultural center of Central Asia, Almaty boasts moderately-sized tourist and expatriate communities.On a clear day you can see the beautifully rugged, snow capped mountains, right at the city’s doorstep to the south. The city, in general, slopes from south to north which makes navigating the streets easy. If you are traveling uphill, you’re going south. There is also a small mountain range bordering the city to the east.