euronews Life - Almaty: Kazakhstan's Garden City

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Trade and economy are still at the heart of Almaty which was once the country's capital. It is the financial centre of central Asia and attracted some six million tourists last year. History, hot summers and a raft of winter sports on tap are among the top attractions.

In the hustle and bustle of modern development Almaty has not forgotten long held traditions like the famous steam baths, the Russian Banya.

Some like it hot first thing. Bagdat Yermagambedov has been taking the steam for 30 years.

"Its a tradition here and everyone likes to start the week with a Banya to gather energy for the rest of the week, but what is a Russian bath without the steam - its not a bath! It's a great pleasure to come here to the steam rooms to re-charge our energy," he explained.

The vast Arasan complex was opened in 1982 and has been hailed as the best 'Banya' in central Asia. If a massage is not for you there are many other ways of ending your visit.

Some people like to start the day with a good thrashing; birch leaves pummel the skin and its supposed to stimulate the circulation to take the stress out of the day before you have even started. It doesn't so much hurt as it stings.

A morning in the Banya is perhaps the perfect preparation for a visit to the busy Green Bazaar. On the Silk Road it is Kazakhstan's biggest market and brings to life all the finest traditions of the Asian bazaar, buying selling and meeting people.

The word Almaty means city of apples and the region is believed to be the ancestral home of the apple as one stallholder pointed out: "The apples from Almaty are considered to be top quality and we have many different varieties, and of those the most appetising, the most popular and well known, is this one here - the Aport."

Underground for the commuter its all less crowded where you can get a seat at any time of the day on the new metro.

Opened just six months ago the metro was 23 years in the planning and finished at an estimated cost of 900 million euros. The platforms and seven stations on the 8.5 kilometre stretch have gleaming marble floors.

Two more stations are set to open. Soon they will be buzzing with more passengers.

Beyond the city boundary you will hear the motto of a group of children echo in the mountain air. "We don't take the easiest path," they chant.

Local climber Maxut Zhumayev started this childrens' camp. He is one of only 12 mountaineers to scale the 14 peaks over 8,000 metres without oxygen, a remarkable feat.

Not quite the heights which 11-year-old Iskander Temirtas is aiming for. At the summit he wants to take an easier route down but is told he can't. Maxut has banned mobile phones, iPads and computer games.

"I want children to believe in themselves, in their power, their force. Its very important for me that they use me as an example so that they can see that you can climb Everest, you can be the strongest and win Olympic medals. There is nothing too difficult in this life," he said.

Maxut is hoping his philosophy will catch the imagination of a new generation and his mountain camps will grow to become an integral part of life in Almaty.

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💬 Comments on the video

It looks like a really good place with a thriving economy, culture and industry. I'd like to visit Kazakhstan. It's a shame here in the west we have grossly distorted the reality of the country with the stupid 'Borat' film. 

Author — Simon Naylor


kazakhstan is the next big thing. A lot of potential hope one i'll be able of doing business there

Author — Hassan Jawad


My first city in central Asia.
From Islamabad to Almaty.
I can't forget the ABAYA MUTZALQA, the apartment, where, I lived.
June 1998 to August 1998.
I miss you in chicago USA.

Author — M K HEALTH TV


I don't know much about Kazakhstan but I'd love to visit this country... Salam Manis (from Indonesia)!

Author — Rony Ramdan


I love Kazakiztan From Turkey Istanbul

Author — Xewon


Just posting here to give a shoutout to Kazakhstan from America. Peace!

Author — polyrhythmatics


Spectacular people here, i wanna go visit my love

Author — Casper Ablij


the same bout you guys! Tashkent is amazing!

Author — Mira Batyrkhanova


Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan you very nice place.

Author — AstrumEltanin


I miss my Homeland. The future of my country is uncertain. :(

Author — M. M.


Welcome to our perfect and beautiful country :)

Author — Ksenia Pisareva


peace bro:) from ALmaty with love! come visit!

Author — Mira Batyrkhanova


I'm from India and I would love to visit kazhakstan...I'm ashamed to say that I had an extremely wrong impression of your country after watching Borat...Infact the only reason I searched for your country on youtube was to see how it was like and if it was anything like how it was portrayed in that film

and I'm pleasantly surprised by what I see :)

Author — Anshuman Tripathy


Best cities in the world to live in: Almaty, Lisbon, Hong Kong, Berlin...?

Author — Allistair Neil


They didn't even film the "Kazakhstan" part in Kazakhstan, they filmed it Romania.

Author — blooshla


come visit :) welcome always to Kazakhstan.

Author — Mira Batyrkhanova


I like Kazakhsthan and I would like to visit Kazakhsthan.

Author — sal jak


Fantastic news in June London will do more direct flights to Kazakhstan regular it's fantastic news rather fly that way with air Astana than wizzair via Budapest. Flying via Budapest not good idea

Author — steverfc7


If you want to go to Kazakhstan it's great for studying Russian Kazakh and you can try new stuff so I'm Kazakh Kazakhs are not bad at all

Author — Sanzhar


Almaty looks good I will come I will fly via London and Astana with air Astana rather do that than fly via Budapest might be cheap but 34 hours I would rather pay 1 thousand euros to come here than pay less for 34 hour flight

Author — steverfc7