Sunday, 20 June 2010

Almaty, Kazakhstan

I have to say I know hardly anything about Kazakhstan (or any other central Asian states, for that matter), and I think I've only received one postcard from there before this (and the one in the following post). It does look pretty impressive, though. Thank you for the swap, Assel!

This card shows the Central State Museum in Almaty. Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1,348,500 (as of 1 September 2008), which represents 9% of the population of the country. It was the capital of Kazakhstan (and its predecessor, the Kazakh SSR) from 1929 to 1997. Despite losing its status as the capital to Astana, Almaty remains the major commercial center of Kazakhstan.

Almaty is situated in the center of the Eurasian continent on the southeast of the Republic of Kazakhstan in longitude 77 East and 43 latitude North on the bottom of Zailiisky Alatau – the most northern mountain range of TyanShan. Gagri and Vladivostok are situated on the same parallel.

The Almaty climate is sharply continental with significant temperature fluctuations during the year and the day. At the 500-meter height you can see city streets directed to the north, steppes, hottest Prikaskelenskiye Muyunkumy. You can feel glaciers’ breath in the residential areas on the south while being at the 1500-1700 meter height over the sea level in Medeu and Kamenskiy Plato tracts.

Flora and fauna of Zailisky Alatau are impressively diverse and luxuriant. Almaty suburbs are considered to be the part of the Ile-Alatauski national park that is hosting natural reservations and wildlife sanctuaries. Most rare kinds of birds and animals that live on the protected territories are recorded in the Red Book of Kazakhstan, including a snow leopard (irbis) that is now depicted on the Almaty emblem.

At the bottom of the mountains tobacco, melon, grain and grapes plantations are replaced by orchards and berry fields. Over 8 thousand hectares of the city territories are cultivated and planted with gardens, parks, squares and boulevards. This is the place of origin of the Almatinskiy aport.

The city area is over 170 square meters and situated between the Bolshaya and Malaya rivers and their inflows. City rivers and lakes are the main water supply sources for Almaty.

The big stamp is a commemorative stamp issued in 2008, representing Torch Relay of Olympic Games. The stamp at the bottom is from a set of 3 stamps issued in 2007, for Centenary of Birth of Maulen Balakaev. The other green stamp is from a set of 8 definitive stamps issued in 2006, representing Astana. The stamp on the top was also issued in 2006 and is from a set of 4 stamps, issued for the 75th Birth Anniversary of Mukafali Makataev.

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