Central State Museum
Mikrorayon Samal-1, No 44 · interesting places nearby
Central State Museum information
Almaty’s best museum, 300m up Furmanov from Respublika alany, takes you through Kazakhstan’s history from Bronze Age burials to telecommunications and the transfer of the capital to Astana, with many beautiful artefacts. A large replica of the Golden Man stands in the entrance hall.
Downstairs, hall 1 deals with archaeological finds and early history up to Chinggis Khan, with balbals (totemlike stones bearing the carved faces of honoured warriors or chieftains, placed at sacred spots by nomadic early Turks) and models of some of Kazakhstan’s major monuments. Next to it is the ‘Open Collection’, an exhibit of outstanding ancient gold adornments, mainly from Scythian burials between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC, which requires a special 1300T ticket (you do get a tour in English, Russian or Kazakh for your money). The ethnographic display in hall 2, upstairs, features a finely kitted-out yurt and some beautifully worked weaponry and horse and camel gear, plus musical instruments and exotic costumes going back to the 18th century. Halls 3 and 4 on floor 4 deal with the 20th and 21st centuries, including exhibits on some of Kazakhstan’s many ethnic groups. It’s just a pity that the museum's signage in nonlocal languages is limited to ‘Don’t touch, please!’ Get there by bus 2, 63, 73 or 86 up Furmanov.