Posts tagged Panfilov Park

More All Seasons Photos of Almaty, Kazakhstan

High Rise apartmentspigeons and peopleRamstor grocery storeShimbaluk skiing area IIIf you are hankering for cooler weather where you are living, then think Shymbaluk where you can ski  the slopes in the winter near Almaty. If you are thinking about how lovely spring can be with tulips, check out the photo of blooms in front of Ramstor off of Furmanova St.  If you just want to people watch, go to Panfilov park and check out the pigeons as well.  Something for everyone, all seasons in Almaty, Kazakhstan!

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Photos of Victory Day Celebration in Almaty

medals for saleThe president put out a proclamation about the annual Victory Day celebration on one of the billboards. (I wish I could read what it says in Kazakh) Many old men and their families were walking around Panfilov Park this morning. I caught several with their chest full of medals. However, you do the math, any surviving war veterans of the Great Patriotic War have all probably passed away or nearly so. That war was almost 70 years ago and if those still walking the streets started fighting at age 16 or even 20, they are at least 90 now. Some who did actually see real war during the campaign and are still living are perhaps bedridden. Others may have fought in the Afghanistan war, those ones I see usually have one leg or one arm. In any case, Victory Day is all about Soviet Union nostalgia or becoming more so with each passing year. The old music plays, the male choruses sing, the parades with all the military tanks and missiles come out. What a beautiful day to remember those who fought valiantly during the Great Patriotic War.

chest full of medalsBazaar mandeer in headlights lookflowers and medalsbillboard for May 9Presidents quote

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Almaty Street Scene: Sheeps Heads, Horses and Pigeons

p4180218Yesterday I walked down to the Green Bazaar and some of the things I saw looked “normal. ” I’ve lived in Almaty over a year and a half. The horses and pigeons in front of the old Orthodox church in Panfilov park, normalna. Sheeps heads at the Green Bazaar, again every day stuff. Even found the Easter egg sleeves to actually celebrate Orthodox Easter this weekend by boiling up the eggs. Many cultures converge in this busy city of Almaty to make it a fantastic place to live!!! That is, if you are “into” variety!p4180220p4180219p4180224



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Everywhere Roses in Almaty!!!

east side of churchchurchrosesrose laneroses and churchred roses

I met up with Wendy, a new British friend of mine, who lives next to Panfilov park.  Naturally I had to take photos of ALL the roses along the way from my walk down to meet her.  What was extra beautiful was for both of us to hear the church bells chiming right at 8:00 a.m. A steady beat of 4/4 time with three notes and then another busy cadence sounding above the reassuring throb of the heavy church bell.  We went inside and felt very much the tourists without our heads covered and not giving proper respect with crossing ourselves as all the other worshippers did when they entered or drew near to this well preserved relic of Russian Orthodox.  Of course, it still is a functioning church and the priest was behind the altar chanting his words while the bells rang overhead. 

Outside God had all His roses arranged in different hues out on display everywhere I walked this morning.  I have a true appreciation for the gardeners who take care of these thorny friends, they seem to thrive in Almaty.  Perhaps, sadly the same can not be said for Russian Orthodox churches.  What was odd to me was seeing a Kazakh woman hugging a tree just a stone’s throw from the church, I guess that was her own form of worship. Meanwhile, Wendy and I walked to a coffee shop and enjoyed an early cup of coffee and vowed we would do this again.

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“Diplomatic Stars” – Famous Actor and Melancholy Brides

orchestrabride 5bride 4bride 3bride 2bride 1oleg tabakov

Many beautiful but sad looking brides dressed in their ceremonial white were roaming all around Panfilov Park yesterday afternoon.  Last night at the Music Conservatory Hall we saw more “stars” for the sake of Russia’s diplomacy with Kazakhstan at a concert of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.”   Featured guest was the famous Russian actor Oleg Tabakov who is known for his voice in the cartoons of the talking cat Matroskin.  (Some would even say Tabakov has cat-like features in his face, so much has he been identified with his most recent notoriety.) 


The first part of last night’s concert was an impressive young violinist from Kazakhstan who expertly played his several hundred year old instrument.  The talented orchestra behind him played a Prokofiev’s number, then his Mozart piece.  Apparently, both composers were ahead of their time.  Supposedly many ballerinas or musicians refuse to dance or play Prokofiev, so complex are his compositions.  The Kazakh violinist was fantastic with the Mozart number and the Kazakhstani crowd gave him a standing ovation and many bouquets of flowers.  Of course, as an encore he had to play an even more complex piece.  Stunning!


At the end of intermission, I heard a flute player practicing a strain of the hunters theme in  Peter and Wolf number.  Then I knew I recognized it from listening to Leonard Bernstein’s rendition when I was a child.  In an earlier Skype conversation, I had asked my Mom if she could hum me a few bars, she couldn’t remember it.  That whimsical refrain was woven throughout the number along with narration by Oleg Tabakov of the story concerning Peter.  The animals in the story were first identified by Tabakov, such as the bird = flute, the duck = oboe, cat = clarinet, Peter’s grandfather was a bassoon and the wolf was portrayed by three French horns.  The hunters with their guns were featured with loud timpani and bass drum.  The voice of Peter came through with the stringed instruments, I was amazed to see six bass fiddles. 


Fun to watch the expressive faces or body movements of players especially of the cellists, the flutist, and the timpani player.  The French horns were excellent as were the many violinists.  It would seem that all the musicians enjoyed what they were doing as professionals. The young conductor in his long tailed tux was seemingly in command of the whole travelling delegation of “musical diplomats” from Russia. 


As I write this, I have the hunter’s theme from Peter and the Wolf coming to mind.  I can’t help but think composer Prokofiev had an allegory of life in the Soviet Union when he wrote this simple child’s tale.  He had returned to Moscow in 1936 to write it after having lived abroad.  Seems that artists and musicians can sometimes survive political purges while other professionals in their respective trades cannot.  I wonder what Prokofiev’s relationship to Stalin was like and as I watched the musicians in last night’s concert, I mused what stories their parents had to tell about life in the former Soviet Union.  The musicians and actor are all “diplomatic stars” in my estimation.



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