It has been a rather quiet and restful weekend here, without any major events or excursions. As a result, I thought I would post some pictures of my many walking adventures around the city over the past weeks. I don’t have a lot of history to share with you in these shots but you can at least continue to build a more complete picture of the city and witness some of the features and architecture that I find so interesting.
Almaty is such a nice city to explore not only because of its grid layout and compactness, but with all of the sidewalks and pedestrian paths, it begs to be discovered on foot.
One interesting scene I came upon was this cardboard cut-out of a small child walking to school and propped up in the crosswalk. I’m assuming that this was some sort of pedestrian safety campaign. It really worked as cars were slowing and some even stopping until they realized they’d been had. I was even startled by it as I thought the child was real from a distance and might be trying to leap out into traffic!
Another interesting feature of Almaty is the look of city in terms of old versus new. Often times, it is a very stark contrast between the Soviet period architectural style and the coordinated effort to create a more modern Kazakh style. The picture below is a good illustration. In the center is a statue commemorating the great Kazakh musician, Zhambyl. Behind him on the right is a classic Soviet era apartment building you see all across the city. Right next door on the left is a newer, more modern apartment building whose architecture is somewhat more European but also retains some uniquely, if somewhat generic, influences of Central Asia. It will be very interesting to what the city looks like in another 20 years.
As I mentioned during the tour of the Folk Instrument Museum last weekend, Kazakhstan’s great 19th century writer, poet, and musician was Abai Kunanbaev. His image and work permeate modern Kazakh culture as well as the city. There is a wonderful statue of him on Dostyk Avenue as he stands guard in front of the Soviet era Republican Palace of Culture, a classical concert venue from the 1970’s.
Below is the Hotel Kazakhstan. This rather unique building with its golden crown, is a city landmark. It was the first western style hotel to be built in Almaty in the late 1970’s. While most of the rooms have been renovated since then, it still remains a tribute to a very different period in Kazakhstan’s history.
The final shot of the day is an art horse tucked away on one of the streets near a major shopping area. There are several art horses and camels around the city that I would like to capture. So much exploring, so little time!