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Koktobe

Green beautiful mountain is located on the southeast of Almaty city, and is also a natural observation deck for the city. Previously known as Verigin, the name of the hill was changed to Kok-Tobe in 1972, the given new name was found in the diaries of Middle Ages merchants. At the very top, about 1,100 meters above sea level, it holds a television tower, a 327 meters high mast, that was built in the early 1980s and became one of the symbols of the city. A rounded pinnacle of Kok-Tobe features viewing platforms providing coin-operated binoculars, playgrounds for children, captive birds, and various restaurants, including one that features cement yurts.

A unique fountain with water pouring out from the stalk of an apple is one of the main symbols of Almaty city. Visitors throw a coin into the fountain to the very base of the apple, to make sure that they are very slightly poorer than before possessing that coin. A big ‘guests of Kok-Tobe’ photography board near the fountain contains photos of celebrities enjoying the fresh air and includes: Gerard Depardieu wearing a hilarious hat, the President Nazarbayev and his wife, Steven Seagal in a sweatsuit and Miss Universe with her ribbon.

Another worth visiting spots of Kok-Tobe is one of the few full-scale statues of the four Beatles to incorporate all the members of the group, and it is located quite close to the apple fountain, driven by their association with Apple Records.

This work of Almaty sculptor Eduard Kazaryan was installed in 2007, and is claimed to be the only monument in the entire world presenting all the Fab Four together. Bronze statues were contracted by a group of local businessmen, who listened to The Beatles music during their youth as an exciting alternative to the Soviet Union cultural deficiency.

The mop-headed youths gather around a park bench, where John (probably — the sculpted Fab Four faces all look alike) is strumming his guitar. Among all the graffiti written down on that bench one could find contributions from the commissioning businessmen. The road located alongside the monument is now called Beatles Avenue.

There are many souvenir shops on Kok-Tobe, a few of them are managed by migrants from the country’s southern neighbors i.e. Central Asian Republics and stock handicrafts from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan although there are less of them now. Pay attention to some bird boxes attached to the most of the trees in order to promote the development of the avian fauna. There is also a music playing all around the park silencing the bird sounds.

The best way to get to Kok-Tobe is to ride a cable-railway from the city center. The cable-railway started operating in 1967, and runs for 1,627 meters. It departs from the full-glass building with a green 'Kok-Tobe' sign on top, which situated on the south side of the Palace of Republic, at the intersection of Abai and Dostyk avenues. Walking or driving up there is also possible, however this route is outside the city center, in order to take this route head south along Dostyk Avenue, then turn left along Omarova (formerly Klochkov) street a couple of blocks south of the Hotel Premier Alatau, and then continue the road up until it reaches a barrier. A minibus transfers people from there up to the top approximately every five minutes. A bus is not necessary at all for pleasant pastime, and the way back down to the parking lot may take 20 minute of wholesome walk. Edited 2020apr21