The Lower Quarter
Okay, we’ll admit it: there’s really no such thing as the “Lower Quarter.” The area around Panfilov Park and the Green Bazaar doesn’t have name at all, but is just part of the larger downtown area locals call “the center” (tsentr). The Golden Quarter, one central neighborhood that did get a name, is in the most central part of the center, so what do we call the area below that? Well, now we call it the Lower Quarter.
All of this is based on the famous internal compass of local Almatians, who give directions by saying “up” (toward the mountains, but south) or “down” (toward the steppe, but north). Baked into this local topography is a parallel moral topography: the further up, the classier, the further down, the trashier. Snobbier Almatians may even avoid going below Gogol Street. But this area has all the historic highlights of the city: its most famous park (Panfilov), its most famous market (Green) and its most famous mosque (Central). And please, it certainly isn’t trashy: it’s clean, diverse and alive, with a whole lot more street life than the hushed alleyways of the Golden Quarter.
On our tour of the Lower Quarter, we offer a two-hour tour of the area’s landmarks (each of which, should be noted, has its own standalone tour, for those who are looking for something slower and deeper). In Panfilov Park, we stop in at the awe-inspiring Ascension Cathedral and take in a brutal Soviet WWII monument. At the Green Bazaar we’ll show you how to get the best view of the colorful rows and how to bargain for dried apricots. We’ll wrap up the tour at the Central Mosque, where we’ll learn how Kazakhs have adapted Islam to their ancient nomadic worldview. Combine the Golden Quarter and Lower Quarter tours, both of which are given as daily group tours, and you’ll have seen the greatest hits that central Almaty has to offer.
What You'll See
Ascension Cathedral (Zenkov’s Cathedral)
28 Panfilov Guards Memorial
What You'll Learn
Why do ladies outside the Arasan Bathhouse sell bundles of birch leaves?
Why is Andrei Zenkov called Kazakhstan’s “father of seismic engineering”?
Why are Korean salads doing at the Green Bazaar?
Which pagan icon can be found inside the Central Mosque?
Tölebaev St. and Töle Bi St.
Nearby: Park View Starbucks, Panfilov Walking Street
1 km (0.6 miles)
Gentle walk, some steps
Everything you'd ever want
A charming tour guide!
A bottle of the finest Kazakh spring water!
More advice than you've asked for!
Pushkin St. and Mametova St.
Nearby: Bolshaya Stanitsa, Sayakhat, Raimbet Batyr Station
Walk fast? We might finish early.
Have a lot of questions? We might finish late.
Transportation to/from tour