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Metal Gates

There are some neighborhoods where Almaty homes are built right up to the street, but usually they are obsessively surrounded, guarded by corrugated metal fences and elaborate gates. If you're keen to psychoanalyze, it's easy to see these wrought-iron gates [кованые ворота; kovanye vorota] as expressions of societal distrust and paranoia. At the very least, the decorations certainly suggest delusions of grandeur. There are intimidating bears, pharaohs in fake gold, fanciful phoenixes and tons of lions. The most common metal ornament, in fact, is a lion wearing a crown, looking like he's either sneezing, yawning, coughing politely or picking his nose (it depends on the gate and the time of day, but the same lion is on hundreds of gates throughout the city.) 

The most common metal gate has three parts: the columns keeping it in place [стойки; stoiky], a sheet-metal screen [облицовка; oblitsovka] coated in a colored polymer, and the wrought-iron frame and grille that adds the classy (or tacky) touch. Other gates don't have the wrought-iron grilles but instead steel ornaments that have been welded right onto the metal backing; these seem more old-school, as I've even seen the logo from the 1984 Moscow Olympics still welded in place on a couple old gates. Neither style, in my humble opinion, will ever match the subtle strength of a Russian wooden gate. Homeowners can strive all the want to project glamor with their elaborately-styled iron, but it reeks of desperate modernity, instead of the wooden portal's timeless class. 

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