Кош келдініздер to the first official post! So why are we here? Where the hell is Almaty anyway? Kazakhstan you say…?
Personally, when I first knew I was moving to Almaty I looked about for information on ‘real life’ here. I tried to find even some pictures of the city, and found them extremely lacking. Most of the international coverage is on politics or economic development. Even having studied Central Asia, the only ideas I had about Almaty came from my experience living in another Soviet Bloc city: Sofia, Bulgaria. For a city of over 1.5 million people, and one called the most ‘cosmopolitan’ city of the region, that should not be the case. I hope to try and fill in that gap.
Kazakhstan (and even Almaty) is generally lumped into the generic ‘silk road’ category, so one of my other goals is to deromanticize this place. Maybe I’m already cynical, but it’s not quite as exotic as some think. I’ll rather write about my observations of the day-to-day sights, sounds and feel of the city. And while the main topic will be the city itself, I’ll also try to give a sense of character to the different cities/regions in this 9th largest country of the world, and the near abroad.
So this site is basically geared towards someone like I was a year ago. Someone with an interest in Central Asia, the former Soviet Bloc, or just foreign cities in general, but who hasn’t have the chance to travel. Or maybe someone who is thinking of coming to Almaty and wants to learn about it, or already has been and wants to reminisce. Enjoy!