Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan. Despite losing its status as the capital, Almaty remains the major commercial center of Kazakhstan. In late 1991, Almaty became the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a designation it kept until 1998, when the capital was moved to Astana. Almaty, however, remains as the country's major commercial center.
The area around Almaty used to be part of Chinese territory, but was later transferred to Russian control. A troop of Siberian Cossacks from Omsk founded the fort Zailiysky in 1854 at the foot of the Tian Shan mountain range, and renamed it one year later to Vernyj, a name that remained until 1921. In 1921, the name Alma-Ata ("father-apple") was created by the Bolsheviks. In a devastating earthquake in 1911, almost the only large building that remained standing was the Russian Orthodox cathedral. In the 1920s, after the completion of the Turkestan-Siberia Railway, Alma-Ata, as it was then known, became a major stopping point along the track. In 1929, Almaty became the capital of the Kazakh SSR.
Airlines to fly into Almaty : Lufthansa, United Airlines Turkish airlines, British Airways.