History

Travel items. © Tourism Almaty

History

First settlements in this area appeared in the IX-X c. BC. In the VII c. BC the area became inhabited with Saka and later Usun tribes, as proved by the kurgans – burial mounds – of “sakas tsars”. The most famous found is the “Golden man” of the Issyk Kurgan. In X-XIV centuries the cities located in this area were involved in the commercial relations of the Great Silk Road. Its own mint is built in Almaty. Later the distinctive culture “Zhetysu” (Semirechye) is formed in this region, the Kazakh state arises and Kazakh nationality forms.

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In 1730, 70 km to the north-west from Almaty, Kazakh soldiers won a historic victory in Anyrakay mountains. That victory became the turning point in the Patriotic war of Kazakh people against Jungaria.

On February 4, 1854, in interfluve of two Almaatinka Rivers, appears the fortification of the Russian Empire – The Fortress Verniy. In summer here comes the first group of Cossack immigrants, near the fortress was laid the Big Almaty stanitsa. Later, next to stanitsa, appears the Tatar (Tashkent) settlement, inhabited by merchants and artisans. In May, 1859, there were already 5 thousand people.

April 11, 1867, military fortress Verniy was transformed into the town Almatinsk, however the name didn’t get accustomed and the town was called Verniy. The territory, allotted for the new town, was divided into quarters, and quarters into sections.

On May 28, 1887, a damage earthquake happened in the town. At 4 a.m. the pushes, that lasted 11-12 minutes, destroyed  almost the whole town. Almost all city was left in ruins, big brick houses were damaged. On June 1, 1887, the military governor of Semirechenskaya area issued the order: “Due to the unreliability of brick buildings, in case of soil shaking, it is offered to build a wooden houses.” Great contribution to the rebuilding of the town and changing its appearance made A.P.Zenkov – a military engineer. He was the first architect in Semirechye who developed and implemented the principles of seismic construction. Next earthquake in 1910 confirmed the validity of his developments.

Town governors paid great attention to the urban greening. The history still stores the names of Baum brothers, Edward and Otto. Older brother O. Baum – the scientific forestry specialist, became the manager of the State garden (Gorky Park) in 1883 and in 1880 put the groove, bearing his name.

The revolution of 1917 didn’t change the appearance of the town, unless there were new signs and slogans. On March 2, 1918 the Soviet system was established, the regional executive committee was elected, headed by P. M. Vinogradov. Three years later it was decided to rename Vernyy into Alma-Ata.

An important milestone for the region was the construction of the Turkestan-Siberian railway (1926) therefore Almaty was elected as the capital of Kazakhstan. In 1930 the Almaty airport was opened, and the Kazakhstan capital has developed an air connection with Moscow. A small provincial town was turning into the capital – government and office buildings were built, theatres and schools were opened.

In the fall of 1929 the city’s population had grown to 100,000 people, compared to 45 in 1926. During the Great Patriotic War more than 30 industrial facilities were thrown to the Alma-Ata from the front line, 8 evacuation hospitals were deployed, 15 universities and colleges, 20 research institutes, more than 20 cultural and educational institutions were located. In Alma-Ata worked leading film studios of Leningrad, Kiev, Moscow.

Also, three infantry divisions (including the famous 8th Guards Panfilov division), two infantry brigades and three air regiments based on the Almaty Aeroclub, were formed here.

After the war, Almaty, together with the whole country, has experienced a rapid growth. Construction of schools, hospitals, cultural and entertainment facilities, including the Palace of Lenin, hotel “Kazakhstan”, sports complex “Medeu” and other projects, was actively conducted. Recreation zones were designed and built, much attention was paid to environmental problems, the city transport has developed. Since 1981 the works on subway design were carried out.

In 1993 Alma-Ata was renamed by government decision into Almaty.

In 1997 the capital was transferred by the Decree of the Republic Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev from Almaty in Astana. A year later the Law on the special status of Almaty was adopted. It was defined as the scientific, cultural, historical, financial and production center.