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Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan, which itself is the biggest country in Central Asia. The name Almaty comes from the Kazakh word for apple, and the area around Almaty is thought to be the origin of the apple. Almaty, like other cities in Kazakhstan such as Shymkent and Taraz, is an ancient site that was once on the great Silk Road from China to Europe and now lies closer to the border with Kyrgyzstan. Almaty sits at the base of the beautiful Tien Shan mountains, which offer hiking, skiing, and views of rare wildlife like the snow leopard. Almaty is also a popular place to travel for visitors to Kazakhstan to enjoy mineral spas from the mountain gorges of Central Asia.
AlmatyAlmaty was the official capital of Kazakhstan for nearly one hundred years, and today it is still the center of commerce and culture for Kazakhstan. Tours to Almaty include sites like the Museum of Musical Instruments, the magnificent Russian Orthodox Zenkov Cathedral in Panfilov Park, the ski resort Chymbulak, and Medeo, the world's largest speed skating rink. Almaty is full of many fountains, parks, and shopping districts, and travelers can take a cable car to the top of scenic Kok Tobe Mount for a panoramic view of Almaty.