The Green Bazaar: A Kazakh Immersion Experience

In the former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty, stands the Green Bazaar, a coruscating swirl of bright color and exotic scents above the cacophony of good-natured haggling.

The carnival atmosphere spins you through a bewildering array of stalls displaying anything from ripe sweet melons to sheep heads to embroidered cloth and souvenirs. There is something for everyone, and if you go with an open mind, you never know what you may find!

A Feast for the Senses

Inside the Bazaar, or Green Market, vendors offer samples of traditional Kazakh foods, from fermented mare’s milk, kymyz, to horse meat sausages, to dried figs and apricots and sheep-head soup over noodles. In fact, a variety of foods from countries throughout Central Asia can be found among the crowded stalls and stands. Once you have eaten a hearty meal, peruse the stalls of spices, medicinal herbs, cut flowers, and soft embroidered cloth hats in a riotous feast for all your senses!

A Cultural Experience

Almaty, the “city of apple trees” is the largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1.4 million in 2010. As a cultural and commercial center for the country of Kazakhstan, the city offers unique opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in Kazakh culture. The city itself was established relatively recently as a Russian military outpost in 1854, on the site of a former city razed in the 13th century Mongol invasion. Not long after the city was established, the Zelionyj Bazaar appeared in 1875, as a stopover for traveling merchants. Over the past 100 years, it has grown from a small market for a few merchants to a two-story bazaar, the largest in Almaty, with the most diverse selection of food and trade goods in the city.

Sources:

Rohini Chacki. “Zelionyj Bazaar – Almaty, Kazakhstan”. Gastro Obscura. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/zelionyj-green-bazaar. Accessed 24 August 2019.

Charles Baudelaire. “Green Bazaar in Almaty”. Silk Road Adventures. https://silkadv.com/en/content/green-bazaar-almaty. Accessed 24 August 2019.

“Green Bazaar”. Explore Almaty. https://www.almaty-kazakhstan.net/attractions/entertainment/green-bazaar/. Accessed 24 August 2019

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/kazakhstan/almaty/attractions/green-market/a/poi-sig/1384125/356858

Explore Kazakhstan.https://www.almaty-kazakhstan.net/. 2017. Accessed 24 August 2019.

Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Almaty”. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Almaty-Kazakhstan. Accessed 24 August 2019.

Visit The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation

Located in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation is a beautifully designed pyramid.

The Purpose

“The four sides of our Palace are oriented to the four sides of the world. In some sense this construction embodies independent Kazakhstan that friendly embraces all people of all nations and practicing different religions.”

~Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of Kazakhstan

The Palace was designed and created for the express purpose of providing a permanent venue for the triennial Congress of World and Traditional Religions. This congress brings together religious leaders for open dialogue to promote mutual peace and understanding. 

The Architecture

Designed by British architectural firm Foster and Partners, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation took just under two years to build and was completed in 2006. The pyramid stands 62 meters (203 feet) tall with a symmetrical base that measures 62 meters by 62 meters. 

The top of the structure features beautiful stained glass work designed by artist Brian Clark depicting doves, a universal symbol of peace. The best view of the glass work can be seen from the inside in the apex conference room. The building also houses a 1350-seat opera hall and an atrium full of living trees and foliage. 

For a brilliant photograph of the full structure, wait until dark to capture it lit from within by glowing colors.

Planning a Visit

The city of Astana is very welcoming to tourists and has accommodations available to suit any price range. The city is home to not only the palace, but many other modern architectural structures that are sure to make the trip worthwhile for any architectural buff. While there you can also check out local music performances, museums, and restaurants with traditional local cuisine.

The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation is open 10-6 daily and offers 30-minute guided tours which are available in English.

Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center

Khan Shatyr is one of the most unique structures in Central Asia.

This giant transparent tent serves as an entertainment district in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana. 

Filling the Need

Kazakhstan is in the middle of Central Asia. This largely desert country can have some very extreme temperatures through the year (both high and low.) Designed by British architect Norman Foster, this giant transparent tent opened in 2010. According to Atlas Obscura, Khan Shatyr is 150 meters tall and covers over 100,000 square meters of space! The transparent material covering the tent allows sunlight to shine through keeping the building warm during the intense winter months in Kazakhstan. There is also a sophisticated heating and cooling system that maintains a very comfortable temperature year-round. 

What’s Inside? 

The overall purpose is to give people a place to go that is comfortable regardless of what the outside temperatures are in the city of Astana. Khan Shatyr is a large entertainment center with restaurants, shops, a miniature golf course, an indoor beach and so much more. It even contains a park that is perfect for jogging, exercising, playing, or just people watching. When you go in, you’ll hear the sounds of children playing and people mingling. It truly is the centerpiece of Astana. 

Going for a Visit

If you’re planning to take a trip to Central Asia, visiting the Kazakhstan capital of Astana won’t disappoint. Architectural marvels like Khan Shatyr are breathtaking to see and accessible to all. YouTuber Patmax Adventures paid a visit to Khan Shatyr and documented the experience in this video. The views of this fascinating building in the evening are breathtaking, and the oasis it provides allows people to spend their days in comfort despite the harsh weather conditions outside. Coffee shops, fast food, and fine dining are all available if you are looking for a great meal. Make Khan Shatyr a must-visit destination in your travel plans.