Though it lost its status as Kazakhstan's capital to Astana in 1997, Almaty is still the country's most popular city and is often referred to as the capital of the south. Located in the mountainous terrain of the Kazakh southeast, among the foothills of Trans-ili-Alatau mountains, it is surrounded by dramatic and beautiful terrain and remains the largest and most ethnically and culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan. It enjoys a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters.
Many visitors base themselves in the city to explore, hike and ski the mountains around and from the top of Kok Tobe, a mountain to the southeast which overlooks the city, tourists enjoy the views and a number of activities and entertainment including a small amusement park. Meanwhile, the city itself is perfect for strolling and contains many historical buildings including museums and cathedrals. What's more, there are a number of parks and a plethora of fountains.