Almaty, also Alma-Ata, largest city of Kazakhstan, on the Great and Little Almaatinka rivers in the southeastern part of the country. Almaty is located in the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains near China.
The city is the processing centre of a fertile fruit-producing region. Besides its fruit produce, its industries include mining machinery, electrical equipment, textiles, motion pictures, and tobacco products.
Almaty is also known as one of the loveliest cities of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Almaty has opera and ballet houses, a symphony orchestra, a state university, and an academy of sciences. Founded around the Russian fort Zailiyskoe in 1854, the city was known as Verny from 1855 to 1921.
Earthquakes in 1887 and 1911 and a flood in 1921 badly damaged the city. In the 1920s Almaty developed into a major economic centre when it became a terminus on the newly built Turkistan-Siberian Railroad. In 1929 Almaty was made the capital of the Kazakh Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR), later the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), and in 1991 it became the capital of independent Kazakhstan. The capital moved to the northern city of Astana (formerly Aqmola) in 1997. Its current population is 1,176,000 people.