Almaty (Kazakh: Almatı, Russian: Алматы), formerly known as Alma-Ata, is the largest city in Kazakhstan with over 1.5 million inhabitants. It is located in the southeast of Kazakhstan, almost 1000km from Astana and not far from the border to Kyrgyzstan, at the foot of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains. Almaty was the capital of Kazakhstan until 1997, when the capital was transferred to Astana. The centre of Almaty includes some parks and green areas, several universities and many neoclassical and Soviet era buildings. The city is relatively new, having been founded in 1854 as a Russian frontier fort named Verny, and having been subsequently destroyed by earthquakes in 1887 and 1911. As such Almaty is not a terribly interesting place to visit, but is useful as a travel hub due to the numerous flights departing and arriving to its airport.
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