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  Almaty city Culture

Culture and customs

    Kazakhstan is a multinational state. There are more than a hundred of nationalities living here. It is clearly reflected in the culture — rich and multifaceted.

    The Kazakhs, who constitute the majority of the population, were nomads for many centuries. Although they have almost abandoned their traditional way of life in the 20 century, something still remains in their living. For visitors of the country these traditions are an interesting discovery.




     Kazakhs are hospitable people and love to receive guests. Respect for elders, love of peace and tolerance, which are laid in the childhood, is a key national trait of Kazakhs. For better acquaintance with the customs and traditions of Kazakh people we invite you here to see everything for yourself.


                 yurts           юрта    

     Yurt is one of the most sophisticated types of portable houses. This is a convenient and practical home, ideally suited to the conditions of nature and life — one of the greatest inventions of Eurasian nomads. It is easily disassembled (it is said that the Kazakh woman can do it for half an hour) and transported on horses or camels. The yurt consists of three main elements: a collapsible lattice base «kerege”, poles supporting the dome» uyk " and the round top of the dome “shanyrak”.

     Even in ancient times the Turks are called the most skillful people in the manufacture of felt. Kazakhs use it for cover and interior of the yurt, as well as for the manufacture of carpets, clothes, shoes. Kazakhs live in the world of ornaments; they richly decorate their yurts with tapestries and colorful embroidery.


National clothes Kazakhs varies depending on the region


     Chapan — a men's clothing like a robe with a belt, made of velvet and decorated with embroidery. Men also wear a soft cap – “tyubeteika”, a high felt cap or a hunting cap with earflaps of fox fur (Malakai).



    Women's clothes consist of a white cotton or a colored silk dress and an embroidered velvet jacket, a cap or a silk scarf.

     National Games are a compulsory part of the holiday. Some types are Kazaksha kures (Kazakh wrestling), bayga (long-distance races), kokpar (the riders trying to tear each other's goat carcass), kiz-kuu (catch the girl) and alty tank (in the six pillars of swing).



     The main national dish of Kazakhs is beshbarmak (five fingers). Fragrant meat is eaten with thin slices of rolled out and boiled dough. Excellent addition to the dish is a rich aromatic broth — sorpa, which is usually served in a bowl.




     Beshbarmak prepared from mutton, horse meat or beef. Boiled meat is usually served in large intact pieces. The honored guest is presented by a specially cooked sheep's head. Kazakhstan is very fond of horse meat products: kazi, karta, zhal, zhaya.

     National beverages are kumyss and shubat. Curative drink kumyss (mare's milk) has healing properties and tonic effect and is used to cure diseases of the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Shubat (camel`s milk) has healing properties and tonic effect and is used to cure diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and to quench their thirst.



          баурсаки        кумыс


     On the modern dastarkhan not only Kazakhs gather but also many guests, who live in a large multinational republic — Russian, Tatars, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Germans, Uighurs, Dungan, Koreans.


     That is why in modern Kazakh cuisine while maintaining a purely national features it is easy to see international lines, where the most popular product is meat.

The bread is often baked as cakes, the most popular baked good is baursak.


About Kazakh culture and national traditions


     By tradition guests are treated with Kazakh national dishes above dastarkhan (set table), and of course in a yurt.

      Objects of everyday life — harnesses, felt carpets — tekemets, wood, bone and metal goods — all lavishly decorated. With rich embroideries covered hats, clothes, bags and blankets. Masters make bowls and ladles for kumyss (drink made from mare's milk) from wooden and cover them with exquisite carvings. Beds and chests decorated with argali’s and mountain goat’s horn. The skin is made for whip, belts, harnesses and flasks (Torsyk) for water and kumyss.

      Kazakh masters are also very skillful in jewelry. Steppe Zerger (jewelers) prefer to work with the noble white silver. You'll love our Kazakh earrings in the form of bells, crescents, with lots of earrings, bracelet-bleziki and traditional sets of three rings connected by a thin chain bracelet.

     National clothes of Kazakhs varies depending on the region. Chapan is a men's clothing like the robe with a belt, made of velvet and decorated with embroidery.

      Men wear also soft cap as high felt caps or hunting cap with earflaps of fox fur (Malakai). 

      Women's clothes consist of white cotton or colored silk dress and embroidered velvet jacket, cap or silk scarf.

     Older married women cover their heads with kimeshek — white cape, leaving the face open. Brides wear a tall, sharp-pointed, richly decorated cap saukele with bunches of feathers on top.


Music and Musical Instruments


     Kazakhs appreciate the art of eloquence and honor their akyns — poets improvizators, speakers at public competitions (aytys) to the accompaniment of the national musical instruments: 2-stringed dombra and bow instrument kobyz. 



     Nauryz (New Year) is one of the main holidays in Central Asia. It is celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, March 22. This day the streets of towns and villages are different. Guests are greeted at the festive yurts and are treated with the ritual meal «Nauryz kozhe» made of the seven traditional ingredients. Those who celebrate this holiday nearly a month in length, forgive each other`s debts and grievances.

     National Games is an indispensable attribute of the holiday. There are Kazaksha kures (Kazakh wrestling), bayga (jumps over long distances — 25, 50 or 100 km), kokpar (riders try to grab and tear each other's goat carcass), kiz-kuu (catch the girl) and Alty Bakan (swing on six pillars).

     Modern Almaty is rightly considered as a cultural center of the country. The city has 9 leading state Republican Theaters, 7 cultural and entertainment facilities and concert halls, more than 30 libraries, 24 art groups, the state circus and the zoo. 126 monuments are taken under the state protection. The city has 32 museums, city art galleries are developing.


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