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see AlmatyAlmaty
, formerly Alma-Ata
, city (1993 pop. 1,176,000), SE Kazakhstan, in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau, within but independent of Almaty prov. A terminus of the Turkistan-Siberia RR, Almaty is the industrial, financial, and cultural center of Kazakhstan and
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(in Kazakh, Almaty, or place of apples; until 1921, Vernyi), capital of the Kazakh SSR (since May 1929) and administrative center of Alma-Ata Oblast. It is located in the northern foothills of the Zailiiskii Alatau Mountain Range, at an altitude of 650–950 m, on sediments formed by the small mountain rivers that flow through the city —Bol’shaia and Malaia Almatinka—which are part of the Hi River basin. The average temperature in January is -8°C and in July, 22.3°C. In 1969, Alma-Ata’s population was 684,000 (45,600 in 1926, 222,000 in 1939, and 456,000 in 1959). Alma-Ata is divided into five city raions.

Historical survey. In 1854 the Russian military fortress of Zailiiskoe was built on the site of the Kazakh settlement of Almaty; this fortress was later renamed Vernyi. In 1867 Vernyi became the center of the newly formed Semirech’e Region within the Turkestan governor-generalship. On the eve of the October Revolution, the city had practically no industry and a great part of the population was engaged in agriculture. In the second half of the 19th century, Russian social democrats, who had been exiled there by the tsarist government, actively disseminated progressive ideas among the populace. M. V. Frunze studied in Vernyi from 1894 to 1904 and began his revolutionary activity there. During the 1905–07 Revolution, a social democratic group was active in the city and political demonstrations and strikes took place. A Bolshevik organization was formed in 1917; it headed the uprising of March 2–3, 1918, which led to the establishment of Soviet power. During the Civil War, Vernyi was the military and political center of Soviet Semirech’e.

Economy and geography. The city is located on the Novosibirsk-Tashkent Railway, at the junction of highways to Frunze, Semipalatinsk, and the Chinese border; it has an airport. In the years of Soviet power, Alma-Ata, which had been an administrative and trade center with very little industry, has become a large industrial center of the Kazakh SSR. The number of workers rose from 365 in 1919 to 104,000 in 1968. In 1967 there were 145 enterprises. The main branches of industry are the food industry, which uses local raw materials and accounts for 36 percent of the gross industrial output, and light industry, which accounts for 31 percent. The major enterprises of the food industry are the meat-canning, flour-milling and groat (with a macaroni factory), dairy, champagne, fruit-canning, and tobacco combines; a confectionery and pastry factory; a liqueur and vodka distillery; a winery; a brewery; and yeast and tea factories. Light industry includes textile and fur combines; a cotton-spinning mill; knitted-goods, footwear, and clothing factories; and a printing combine. Heavy industry is represented by enterprises of heavy machine building; an electrical equipment plant; a foundry; railroad car repair, bearing repair, construction materials, and woodworking plants; a plant for reinforced concrete structures and construction elements; and a housing construction combine. For fuel and power, Alma-Ata relies on coal from the Kuznetsk and Karaganda basins, several thermoelectric power plants operating on coal and fuel oil, and a hydroelectric power plant on the Bol’shaia Almatinka. The Kapchagi Hydroelectric Power Plant has been under construction on the Ili River since 1969.


Architecture. Before the October Revolution, Alma-Ata had a rectilinear narrow network of unpaved streets with one-story buildings of wood and clay. Alma-Ata has suffered from numerous earthquakes (those of 1887 and 1911 were particularly strong) and mud- and pebble-laden torrents. Antitorrent installations have now been built.

Alma-Ata is one of the most beautiful cities of the USSR. The rectilinear planning has been retained, but with enlarged blocks and tree-lined streets and avenues; irrigation ditches run along the streets. Alma-Ata extends over more than 20 km from north to south and as much from east to west. The city consists of the Northern Raion, which is around the railroad and was built during the construction of the Turkestan-Siberian Railway; the Central Raion, which is on the territory of the former city of Vernyi; the Western Raion, a new industrial raion; the Southwestern and Southern raions, new residential raions with multistoried buildings; and the Southeastern Raion, which is Malaia Almatinka and is buildup primarily with private homes. The major buildings are the university (1930, architect M. Ia. Ginzburg), the main post office (1931–34, architect G. G. Gerasimov), the medical institute (1939, architect A. I. Gegello), the Abai Kazakh Opera and Ballet Theater (1941, architect N. A. Prostakov), the Government House (1958, architect B. P. Rubanenko and others) with a monument to Lenin in front (1958, E. V. Vuchetich), the main building of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR (1957, architects A. V. Shchusev and N. A. Prostakov), the Kazakhstan Hotel (1960, architects E. K. Diatlov and Kim Do Sen), the Auezov Kazakh Theater of Drama (1963, architects A. A. Leppik, N. I. Ripinskii, and others) with a mosaic pediment by E. M. Sidorkin and O. P. Bogomolov, the Alma-Ata Hotel (1967, architects I. A. Kartasi and V. Chirkin), and the Lermontov Theater of Russian Drama (1968, architect V. P. Davydenko). These monuments have been erected in the city: to Amangel’dy Imanov (1950, sculptor Kh.-B. Askar-Sarydzha, architect T. K. Basenov and others), to Abai (1960, sculptor Kh. Naurzbaev), to the heroes of the revolution (1967, sculptor N. S. Zhuravlev, architect I. Ia. Tokar’), the Glory Monument (1967, sculptor R. Seidalin), and to Chokan Valikhanov (1969, sculptor Kh. Naurzbaev, architect Sh. Valikhanov). A wooden cathedral (1907, engineer A. P. Zenkov) has been preserved.

Education and cultural affairs. Alma-Ata is a large center of socialist culture. Before the revolution it had 20 general educational schools with 2,800 students. There were no higher educational institutions. In the 1967–68 academic year, Alma-Ata had 143 schools with 122,300 students, 26 vocational and technical schools, 14 specialized secondary educational institutions with 27,100 students, and 12 higher educational institutions with 63,700 students. The higher educational institutions include the Kirov State University, built in 1934, a polytechnical institute, and institutes of national economy, agriculture, zoo technology and veterinary science, medicine, pedagogy, and art. The Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR with its 19 affiliated scientific and research institutes (1968) is located in Alma-Ata. Cultural institutions include the Pushkin State Library with 2.6 million books and magazines and 115 branch libraries with 1,374,500 books and magazines, 80 clubs, six museums (the Central Kazakhstan Museum, the Shevchenko Art Gallery, the Auezov Museum, and others), six theaters (the Abai Opera and Ballet Theater, the Auezov Drama Theater, and others), the Kazakh Film Studio, 96 motion picture theaters and installations, a republic Young Pioneers’ Palace, stations of young naturalists and young technicians, and a children’s railroad. There are also 272 preschool institutions with 49,900 children.

The following republic newspapers are published in Kazakh: Sotsialistik Kazakstan (Socialist Kazakhstan, since 1919), Leninshil zhas (Leninist Youth, since 1921), Kazakstan pioneri (Young Pioneer of Kazakhstan, since 1930), Kazak adabieti (Kazakh Literature, since 1934), Kazakstan mugalimi (Teacher of Kazakhstan, since 1952), and Sport (since 1959). The Russian-language newspapers are Kazakhstanskaia pravda (since 1923), Leninskaia smena (since 1922), Druzhnye rebiata (since 1933), Uchitel’ Kazakhstana (since 1952), Trudovye rezervy (since 1968), and Sport (since 1959). Kommunizm Tugi (The Banner of Communism, since 1957) is published in Uigur. There are also two oblast newspapers and the city newspaper Vecherniaia Alma-Ata (since 1968). Kazakh magazines are Kazakstan kommunisti (Kazakhstan Communist, since 1921), Kazakstan Aielderi (Woman of Kazakhstan, since 1925), Ara (The Bumblebee, since 1956), Bilim zhane enbek (Knowledge and Work, since 1960), and Zhuldyz (The Star, since 1928). In Russian there are Partiinaia zhizn Kazakhstana (since 1931), ShmeV (since 1956), and others. The republic Kazakhstan, Zhasushi (Writer), and other publishing houses, the republic radio and television stations, and the Kazakh News Agency (KazTAG) are located in Alma-Ata.

Public health. In 1967, Alma-Ata had 5,155 doctors of all specialties (1 doctor per 126 inhabitants), 8,500 secondary medical personnel, 47 hospitals with 10,400 beds (16 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), and nurseries for 3,500 children. Alma-Ata is a big tourist and athletic center of the Kazakh Republic and of the whole USSR. The mountains of the Zailiiskii Alatau south of the city are a recreation, tourist, and sports area with resorts—Alma-Arasan, Kamenskoe Plato, and others—and tourist and mountaineering facilities. The Medeo ice skating rink, located high in the mountains where Ail-Union and international competitions are held, is near Alma-Ata.


Pronchenkov, I. Alma-Ata—stolitsa Sovetskogo Kazakhstana. Alma-Ata, 1955.
Alma-Ata—stolitsa Kazakhskoi SSR. Alma-Ata, 1960.
Nazarevskii, O. R. Alma-Ata: Ekonomiko-geograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1961.
Duisenov, E. Alma-Ata (stolitsa Kazakhstana). Alma-Ata, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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