If you are planning to visit Kazakhstan, you should definitely visit Almaty. Although, Almaty is no more a capital city (since 1997 the capital was transferred to Astana), Almaty still retains the title the culture, educational and business center of our country. Here are listed some of the most significant landmarks that for many years were shaping the face of our city.
St Ascension or Zenkov Cathedral
The first and probably the most popular sight of Almaty is Saint Ascension Cathedral. We can not imagine our city without it. However, if you ask a local for the direction to St Ascension Cathedral, he might get really confused. Because locals mainly know it as Zenkov Cathedral, named after Andrey Zenkov, the engineer who built it. For many Andrey Zenkov was truly a hero, who was courageous enough to build a construction as tall as 54m in Almaty – the city, where earthquakes take place every year. The cathedral was finished in 1907 and huge earthquake did not make people to wait long. Just in several years after construction, in 1911, earthquake as strong as 9/10 degree Richter scale, happened. Many even single storey houses collapsed. But the Cathedral successfully passed this “exam”. Up till now it is standing safe and sound right in the middle of the Park of 28 Panfilov guardsmen. Moreover, for the following 70 years, since it was constructed it had kept the title of the tallest building in the city until 1977, when hotel Kazakhstan was built.
However, the earthquakes was not the only trouble that the cathedral went through. Since 1927 until 1985 was used for non-religious purposes. Ironically, the cathedral that was built to become a centre of Christianity in the region, after revolution became a Museum of Atheism. Then for many years it became the Central Museum. All this saved the building from complete desolation. After all, a museum is far from being the worst use of a church in the atheistic country. It happened that in the 30s it was possible to arrange a bathhouse and a vegetable base in temples.
Another interesting thing about the cathedral is that there were always plenty of rumors about it. For example, up till now many people believe that it was built without a nail. However, it is already fact that constructors did use nails while building the cathedral – nails are mentioned in historical archives. One more popular myth is that there are tunnels under the church, where during the civil war priests were hiding from revolutionary. However, 70th , when they made general reconstruction of the cathedral in, they carefully checked all in and around it but found nothing. Despite the fact that it was built with nails and there are no tunnels, the cathedral still stays the wonderful sample of classical empire architecture style and one of the main sights of Almaty.
Panfilov Park or Park of 28 Panfilov guardsmen