Monuments of h`istory and culture
ALMATY is large political, scientific, cultural, financial and industrial megalopolis of the Republic of Kazakhstan. City establishment and its culture have century traditions. During establishment Almaty experienced specific stages of lay-out, architectural style and way of life. Every subsequent stage inherited the results of material activity indicative of spirit, tastes, life, economic and technical possibilities, and requirements of an epoch from previous stage. Each historical period brought something new into city appearance.
The earliest evidences of settlements found in the territory of modern Almaty related to VI-III centuries BC. In VII-X centuries there were few small settlements. One of them was named Almatu (Almaty). In XI-XII centuries these settlements grew to small cities. In XVI century after Dzungars invasion there was only small settlement at the place of
ancient city. In order to confront the conquerors, in 1845 Kazakhs of Senior Zhuz has taken Russian citizenship. The territory occupied by Senior Zhuz (down to the Ili River in the south) has been included in structure of Russian Empire. To consolidate the positions in the whole territory of Zailiysky region, in 1848 Russian Empire approves the post of police-officer of Big Horde (Senior Zhuz). In July, 1853 Russia has send the group under command of Major M.D. Peremyshlsky, police-officer of Big Horde, to Zailiysky valley. On the 4th of February, in 1854 the decision was taking to construct military defenses in this valley. In spring the group of Major M.D. Peremyshlsky has begun the construction of Zailiysky fortress under the direction of military engineer L.I. Alexsandrovsky on the left bank of the Malaya Almatinka river.
The fortress territory has been fenced with cob wall having the form of irregular polygon and moat fi lled in with the waters of the Malaya Almatinka River. Offi cers’ houses, barracks for soldiers, small wooden church, guardrooms and warehouse were constructed inside the fortress.
From the middle of 1855, fi rst immigrants – peasants from southern provinces of Russia began to arrive in Vernoye fortress. They began to establish structures of Big Almaty Stanitsa near to fortress. With arrival of a great number of immigrants, Siberian Cossacks as well as Tatars from Semipalatinsk, Small Alma-Ata Stanitsa and Tatar Sloboda arose in autumn.
On the 11th of April in 1867 by Decree of Cabinet Council of Russian Empire a decision was taken to give the fortress of Vernoye the status of a town. By decree from July 11th, 1867 this town, Verny, became the center of the Semirechye District.
But the regional city should still be constructed. For this purpose by the order of military governor of Semirechye District General G.A. Kolpakovsky, dated October 19th, 1867, Committee on Verny establishment was formed. The fi rst session of Committee where careful consideration was given to the problem choice of the place for future city – to the south from Bolshaya Stanitsa along the Malaya Almatinka river to distillery and to the west to the Bolshaya Almatinka river, took place on the 20th of October.
Later Bolshaya and Malaya Stanitsa, Tatar Sloboda and fortress have been included in city plan. Squares and parks of future city have been defined. It was ordered to build Verny of a brick. The city should resemble provincial brick cities of Russia.
According to regional specialist V.N. Proskurin, Russian national historical archives keep the Plan of current lay-out of regional town Verny of Semirechye District with indication of assumed lay-out in 1884 with remark «This plan was not confi rmed at the government level till now». This plan together with explanatory note concerning Verny plan, made on May 23rd, 1885, is a composite document of history of Almaty town-planning, confi rmation of existence of two master plans for development of Verny in 1868 and 1884.
From the moment of establishment of new part of the city, expansion of the territory was conducted (till earthquake of 1887) in western and then in southwest direction (from today’s Makataev and Pushkin streets).
In the late eighties of XIX century administrative-public centre was located in the district of today’s park of 28 Panfi lov Guardsmen (former urban cemetery). The biggest buildings were located round the square: the house of military governor, house of offi cer meeting (now it is a museum of national musical instruments), building of public meeting (today’s puppet theatre), etc. All these buildings differed in rather rich furnish, some of them are made in classical architectural style (house of military governor existing till earthquake of 1887). After major earthquake it was offered to establish the city in a new place. Corresponding topographical researches have been conducted on the right bank of the Ili river. But the authorities have refused this project. Further construction was performed taking antiseismic standards into account. Houses were basically one-storeyed and wooden. These years are also characterized by initiation of fi rst and rather modest in volume works on beautifi cation of the streets.
In the fi rst decade of XX century in the centre of city garden the cathedral which later became local attraction of the city was constructed under the project and guidance of A.P. Zenkov.
Writer Yury Dombrovsky writes about the cathedral: «…Highest, many-domed, patterned, multi-coloured, with artful eaves, with goffered iron roofs, with belltower, ladder - the whole system of ladders, passages and galleries, and even after major earthquake in Verny none of magnifi cent palaces of Zenkov has destroyed. The wood didn’t let him down! And in the most grandiose creation of Zenkov, in Cathedral, even glass has escaped destruction.
Another large earthquake struck Verny on the 22nd of December, 1910. 616 dwelling houses have been completely destroyed, 300 constructions were damaged. One of the first restored buildings was Vernensky orphanage (now Almaty Medical College).
The map containing major administrative and largest buildings in Verny streets in the end of XIX and beginning of XX centuries are stored in Central National Archives of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Only few dwelling houses and public building of that time has remained. The plan of Verny has remained to this day. It was made by K. Bogdanovich, I. Kark, D. Mushketov in 1910 as appendix to Works of Geological Committee. This map contains the names of 43 streets of the town and 8 names of streets of Bolshaya Almaty Stanitsa.
Eastern outskirt of the city was Poberezhnaya street which went along the Malaya Almatinka river, in the west of the Goncharnaya street and in the south, along the border, there was Main (Head) aryk and nearby Arychnaya street and in the north it was Tashkentskaya avenue.
With establishment of Soviet power the new stage of Almaty development of begins. On the 14th of March, in 1921, Decree on renaming of Verny to Alma-Ata has been issued. On the 3rd of March, in 1927, Central Executive Committee of Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic made a decision on carrying over of the capital of Kazakhstan from Kzyl-Orda to Alma-Ata. Carrying over of the capital has considerably advanced the construction of the city.
In the early thirties large public buildings which experienced the influence of constructivism have been constructed in the Alma-Ata. It is the Houses of Government (today’s Academy of Arts), constructed under the project of architect M.Ya. Ginzburg and Glavpochtampt constructed under the project of architect G.G. Gerasimov.
Since second half of the thirties architects began to use heritage of Russian classical architecture and national Kazakh architecture. For architects it was the period of creative search.
Among constructed buildings of that time we can see new architectural image. Multicolumned porticoes, pediments, rich eaves are entered into architecture of public and dwelling houses.
During 1933-1941, permanent structures which fundamentally changed architectural image of Almaty have been constructed in a place of shabby one-storeyed structures. In November, 1941 construction of the building of Opera and Ballet Theatre has been completed. Traditions of classical heritage are used in architecture of the theatre. Rich decor with motifs of Kazakh ornament is applied. Constructions of that period have played a positive role in formation of architectural look of the city.
In days of Great Patriotic War the construction has been regulated in connection with the needs of wartime, it volumes have been considerably reduced.
In post-war years the construction started to develop in larger scales. Like in previous period, methods and forms of classical architecture and national art of building as well as motifs of national ornament are used (new House of Administration, main building of Academy of Sciences, building of Kazpotrebsoyuz, air terminal, etc.). At that moment Almaty experienced new period in city decoration: erection of monuments to heroes of civil and great patriotic wars in public gardens and squares (monuments to А. Imanov and S.D. Lugansky).
From the middle of 50th, architects did a great work on review of designing methods. Central stadium, Kazakhstan Hotel (Zhetysu), Auezov Drama Theatre (Theatres for Young People) constructed during this period has already met state-of-the-art requirements. They are progressive in design, laconic and expressive according to architectural forms and lay-out.
Highest possible industrialization, rationalization and unifi cation of architect elements, searches of the best is design-architectural decisions according to environmental conditions of the city become a basis of further development of architecture.
In 60-80th, architectural development of the capital has been directly connected with general tendency of development and creative orientation of architecture in all-Union scale. But at the same time, the works of Almaty architects of this period nevertheless have certain colour peculiar only to Almaty objects. Architects creatively master progressive traditions of national architecture, methods and forms, use motifs and elements of national applied and decorative art. Increase in number of storeys, rationali sty of lay-out, clearness and novelty of architectural forms are characteristic for this period.
Monumental sculpture and other forms of decorative art are used in formation of the look of streets and squares. Monuments to fighters of revolution, to writers and poets are constructed in Almaty squares. There is a new form of monumental art - memorial ensemble («Glory» memorial). These years are characterized by construction of new kind of monuments – gravestones: monumental monuments built on a place of burial places of outstanding public figures, scientist, and literature and art workers.
In 60-80th considerable town-planning works have been carried out, such as formation of town-planning knots, architectural ensembles and a number of unique constructions. The square of Academy of Sciences came into being on the base of unity of architectural and plastic decision owing to construction of monument to Ch. Valihanov. V.I. Lenin Palace (today’s Republic Palace) and 25-storeyed hotel «Kazakhstan» together with surrounding buildings and Abai Monument have formed one of the best architectural ensemble of the city.
At the crossing of Abai Avenue with Vesnovka River there is architectural ensemble of great importance: circus, Wedding palace, A. Kasteev State Museum of Art, M.O. Auezov Kazakh State Academy Drama Theatre. Contours of grandiose panorama of the centre with main architectural ensemble of the city – Republic Square with the building of Central Committee of Communist Party of Kazakhstan (today’s municipal Akimat) come into sight behind Abai Avenue in t he south.
After dissolution of Soviet Union in 1991 and formation of sovereign state of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Almaty experienced the new stage of development.
In 1995 construction of three large objects has been completed: Residences of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Marco Polo Rakhat Palas Hotel, and Ankara Hotel. Sculptural compositions play key role in formation of architectural look of the city. Monument of Independence was erected in principal square of the city - Republic Square, monument to Zhambyl Zhabaev on Dostyk avenue, monument to K. Satpaev at a crossroads of Satpaev and Baitursynov streets, monument to T. Shevchenko at a crossroad of Dostyk avenue and Shevchenko street, and monument to Abylai Khan at the square near Almaty-2 railway station, etc.
On the 20th of October in 1997 in connection with carrying over of the capital to Astana, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan has signed the Decree «On status of Almaty city and measures on further development», according to which Almaty is a city of republican value. The law of the Republic of Kazakhstan «On special status of Almaty city» was made on the 1st of July, 1998, President Decree No. 1019 «On government program of Almaty development for 2003-2010» was issued on the 10th of February, 2003, and this Government program is the guarantor of city further development. Intensive construction, reconstruction and town-planning development of Almaty gave the city a unique architectural image. A great number of buildings is unique and enter the list of monuments protected by the state. For today master plans of Almaty stipulate preservation of separate planning areas of historical centre, working out and detailed elaboration of standards and conditions of restricted areas as well as kinds of reconstructive measures. It allows not only to preserve the monuments of history, architecture, monumental art but also to favour preservation of individual image of Almaty.