Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, is one of the more cosmopolitan cities of the CIS. The Zailiysky Alatau mointains, which are snow-capped for much of the year, provide an impressive backdrop to this city of 1.5 million people.
The tree-lined streets and trams of Almaty's city centre give it somewhat European atmosphere, in contrast to the stark Soviet architecture in other parts of the city.
Honey eaters will love the vast range of different varieties of honey that can be purchased in Almaty's markets.
There is a big variety of pickled vegetables in the markets too.
Fresh pomegranate juice is a popular drink in Kazakhstan.
Local artists display their paintings in the pedestrian mall in downtown Almaty.
Art styles on display in the mall range from landscapes and still life, to abstract and erotic.
A flower seller waits for customers in the Almaty mall.
Apart from 'official' flower stalls, you will see many people in Almaty selling flowers from the side of the street from just a bucket or a box.I assume they have picked these from the surrounding countryside and then come into the city to sell them.
Some gypsies stop for a chat in the mall.If you look like a foreigner, expect to be stopped often and asked for money by gypsies.
You may see some of these structures in the Kazakhstan countryside.They are the frames of the traditional yurts, which were the dwellings of the nomadic Kazakhs, and are still used for some traditional ceremonies such as weddings.
The inside of the yurts are lined with colourful quilts and decorative fabrics. The outside of the yurt is covered in a thick white felt fabric, coated in sheep fat, which keeps the yurt warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
I thought this clinic in Almaty must be a pioneer in stomach transplants until I checked the dictionary and discovered that stomatology is "the science of the structure, function, and diseases of the oral cavity".
Probably the most blatant trademark infringement I have seen anywhere is on the front of this pharmacy in Almaty.They must think that Colonel Sanders looks like a physician and not a chicken farmer. I am sure if any KFC executives saw this they would choke on their nuggets.