Exploring Almaty – Street Festivals

The weather here is starting to cool off a bit, as Fall is definitely in the air.  Though cooler, it’s still a great time to walk about and explore the city.  Looking back through my posts, I’ve realized that besides Panfilov Park and the Green Bazaar, I haven’t really given you many scenes of the city, so here goes…

A few blocks north of Panfilov Park is a pedestrian mall situated along Zhibek Zholy Avenue.  Lots of shopping and restaurants as you might expect but recently, the city has also featured an outdoor arts exhibition called, “Artbatfest.”  The current installation revolves around the theme of “trash art.”  All of the sculptures are made from discarded materials, highlighting an environmental message.

Artbatfest information booth

I say giant slinky but maybe it's supposed to be some sort of mobius model

Water lily

Made from car parts (and baby dolls!), I like to call this one the Mr. Potato Head Transformer

Some sort of health prevention message?

One of my favorites! The dung beetle. That little guy sure did collect a lot of used tires.

For some reason, most people just kept walking past this one as if no one wanted to admit he was there.

A modern take on the Iron Age era stone sculptures found in the area. Interestingly, it's titled, "Adam & Eve."

The big festival of the weekend, however, was AppleFest ’10.  Given that the apple originated in the region and also serves as symbol of the city, it’s no surprise that this is a pretty large event.  It took place in the Old Square (also known as Astana Square).  Live music acts and demonstrations took place all day long with a huge fireworks display Sunday night at the closing.  Vendors selling every imaginable food item that could contain an apple were omnipresent.  Much like a country fair, they also had a judging contest for the best apples from every variety.

AppleFest '10

Not sure if this is one of the various edible sculptures of apples or if it has some other purpose.

The building behind the stage is the former House of Government, where the Parliament met prior to moving to the new capital in Astana in 1997

I was too late and missed out on this edible sculpture

...and this one.

Old Square Park

Old Square Park. Every major park in the city is teeming with roses it seems!

The centerpiece of the park was once a statue of Lenin but is now a monument and tribute to two female Kazakh heroes of World War II.  Manshuk Mametova and Aliya Moldagulova were posthumously awarded the highest military honors of the Soviet Union for their courage and bravery.  In fact, they are the only central Asian women that were given such honors.  Unfortunately, I don’t know the specific deeds for which they were cited for.

Aliya (left) and Manshuk (right) heading into battle! Infants behind and above them are releasing doves of peace.

Well, that’s it for this week’s post.  Let me end here at Old Square Park by riding off into the sunset on my carriage below!  Next week is another trip out of town.  This time, we are doing a day trip to Charyn Canyon.  Till then…

Carriage rides like these were a common site in most of the big city parks.

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