Must see attractions in Almaty

  • Top ChoiceSights in Almaty

    Central State Museum

    Almaty’s best museum takes you through Kazakhstan’s history from Bronze Age burials and nomadic culture to WWII sacrifices, telecommunications and the transfer of the capital to Nur-Sultan, with many beautiful artefacts on display. A large replica of the Golden Man (a national symbol of Kazakhstan; a 3rd- or 4th-century warrior whose gold-clad remains were uncovered in 1969) stands in the entrance hall.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Panfilov Park

    This large and attractive rectangle of greenery is one of central Almaty's most popular strolling and hangout places for all ages. At its heart stands the candy-coloured Zenkov Cathedral.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Respublika Alany

    This broad, Soviet-created ceremonial square provides a panoramic view of the snowcapped mountains on a clear morning and is surrounded by several landmark buildings and monuments.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Almaty

    Kök-Töbe

    This 1100m hill on the city’s southeast edge is crowned by a 372m-high TV tower visible from far and wide, and affords great views over the city and the mountains, plus an assortment of attractions at the top. The easy way up is by the smooth cable car.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Green Market

    This large, two-level market has a true flavour of Central Asia, and is worth putting on your itinerary even if you're not really food shopping. It's been somewhat sanitised in recent years, but its stalls are still piled with nuts, fresh and dried fruit, Georgian sweets, smoked fish, spices, ready-made Korean salads, vegetables, medicinal herbs, cheeses, sausages and enormous hunks of fresh meat. There's an entire row dedicated to horsemeat.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Almaty

    Kazakhstan Museum of Arts

    This is the best art collection in the country, with Kazakh, Russian and some Western European art and a room of top-class modern Kazakh handicrafts, with much explanatory material in English. Particularly interesting is the room on Russia's Mir Iskusstva movement, and also the large collection of paintings by Kazakh Abylkhan Kasteev (1904–73).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Almaty

    Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments

    In a striking 1908 wooden building (designed by cathedral architect Zenkov) at the east end of Panfilov Park, the city’s most original museum is a must for musicians. As well as a fine collection of traditional Kazakh instruments (wooden harps and horns, bagpipes, the lute-like two-stringed dombra and the viola-like kobyz), there are also Turkish, Uzbek and Kyrgyz folk instruments for comparison and it's possible to attend the occasional performance of traditional music.

  • Sights in Almaty

    WWII War Memorial

    This dramatic socialist-realism memorial in Panfilov Park depicts soldiers from all 15 Soviet republics bursting out of a map of the USSR. An eternal flame honouring the fallen of 1917–20 (the Civil War) and 1941–45 (WWII) flickers in front of the giant black monument. Nearby, a monument depicting three ragged soldiers honours Kazakh soldiers who'd fallen in Afghanistan.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Kök-Töbe Cable Car

    This smooth, gleaming cable car runs from beside the Palace of the Republic up to Kök-Töbe hill on the southeast edge of Almaty, taking six minutes to glide high above the city. Great for views; less great for people with vertigo.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Zhibek Zholy

    The pedestrianised stretch of this street in the lower, northern, part of the centre is Almaty’s (sort of) version of Moscow’s Arbat. It's dotted with inexpensive cafes, a few buskers and kitsch art stands.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Zenkov Cathedral

    Candy-coloured Zenkov Cathedral is Kazakhstan's nearest (albeit distant) relative to St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow and one of Almaty’s few surviving tsarist-era buildings. Designed by AP Zenkov in 1904, the cathedral is built entirely of wood (including the nails). Used as a museum and concert hall in Soviet times, it was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1995 and has been restored with colourful icons and murals.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Dawn of Freedom Monument

    This striking monument honours those killed and injured on Respublika alany on 17 December 1986 during the Zheltoksan (December) protests, the first unrest unleashed in Central Asia by the Gorbachev era of glasnost. Possibly as many as 250 people were killed when police opened fire on rioters protesting against the appointment of a Russian, Gennady Kolbin, as head of the Kazakhstan Communist Party.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Independence Monument

    This stone column is surmounted with a replica Golden Man standing on a winged snow leopard. Around its base are statues of a Kazakh family; behind is a semicircular wall of low-relief bronze sculptures depicting scenes from Kazakhstan’s history, from Golden Man times at the left end to Nazarbayev at the right.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Gorky Park

    Central Almaty’s biggest recreational park is a somewhat untidy place whose boating lakes, funfair rides, pony rides, a waterpark, rather sad zoo, cinema, cafes and shashlyk and beer stands are particularly popular with families on Sundays and holidays.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Central Mosque

    Almaty’s multitowered, gold-domed, white-marble central mosque, built in 1999, is one of the largest in the country, with space for 3000 worshippers in the finely decorated main prayer hall. Women must cover their heads, arms and legs when visiting.

  • Sights in Almaty

    Maslikhat

    Neoclassical-style City Council building.