Country name: Republic of Kazakhstan
Almaty (Алматы; formerly known as Alma-Ata, also Verny, Vyernyi (Верный) in Imperial Russia) is the biggest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1,185,900 (2004) (8% of the population of Kazakhstan) citizens.
The name "Almaty" means "appled" (the place with apples), the more stately version of its name, Alma-Ata, means "apple's father".
Almaty is located at 43.27° N 76.91° E. A troop of Siberian cossacks from Omsk founded the fort Zailiysky in 1854 at the foot of the Tian Shan mountain range, and renamed it one year later to Verny, a name that remained until 1921. In a devastating earthquake in 1911, almost the only large building that remained standing was the Russian Orthodox cathedral. In the 1920s, after the completion of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway, Alma-Ata, as it was then known, became a major stopping point along the track.
In 1929, Almaty became the capital of the Kazakh SSR. In late 1991, Almaty became the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a designation it kept until 1998, when the capital was moved to Astana. Almaty, however, remains the largest city in Kazakhstan and the country's major commercial center. In 2005, the city launched an Olympic application to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games in the year 2014. A short bus ride into the Tian Shan mountains brings one to Medeo, a popular tourist destination, with several hotels and an olympic-size skating rink.
On 21 December 1991, the Charter that ended the Soviet Union creating the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed there.
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last updated 24.04.2006.