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Soviet Art Tour

Find hidden masterpieces of Soviet-era “monumental art,” discovering mosaics, murals and stained glass windows in the city’s Modernist hotels and quirky cultural spaces.  

Almaty Soviet Art

Having served as the capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Almaty punches above its weight when it comes to its architecture, with its Socialist Modernist buildings recognized as some of the finest in the former USSR. An important part of that legacy is the public art that was incorporated into the structures: their facades were decorated with mosaics, plaster murals and bas-relief sculptures. This under-appreciated movement, which was had its heyday from 1960 to around 1985, was known as Soviet Monumental Art. 

Soviet Monumental Art came in a variety of media. Mosaics, made from tesserae of colored glass called smalti, are the most prominent. Sgraffiti are murals made from layers of colored plaster, and bas-reliefs are 3-D sculptures that emerge from 2-D facades. Then there are stained glass windows, often created with striking slab glass called dalle de verre. The works were designed by talented artists and crafted by brigades at Almaty’s Oner Art Combine. 

Walking Almaty’s founder, Dennis Keen, has spent years documenting this rich artistic tradition with the project Monumental Almaty, and now history buffs and art lovers can encounter these works close-up with a one-of-a-kind tour. Since the tour’s introduction in 2022, it has become one of Walking Almaty’s most raved-about experiences, a discovery for visitors and locals alike. 

What You'll See

  • Children’s Theater mosaic

  • Symbat stained glass

  • Otyrar Hotel reliefs and murals

  • Arman Cinema reliefs

  • Academy of Science mosaics and stained glass

  • Hotel Almaty mosaics

What You'll Learn

  • How do Arman Cinema’s relief sculptures combine cosmonauts with the occult?

  • What makes Soviet stained glass windows different than anywhere else in the world?

  • Which Almaty landmark has a massive Lenin mosaic made of polished stone that’s been hidden for decades?


 Starting Point 

JAM Coffeehouse

Jeltoqsan St. and Maqataev St.

Nearby: Maqataev Park, Musrepov Children's Theater

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2 km (1+ miles)

Half driving, half walking

Route map here

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Everything you'd ever want

A charming tour guide!

A bottle of the finest Kazakh spring water!

More advice than you've asked for!

...and transportation during the tour

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 Ending Point 

The Academy of Sciences

Jeltoqsan St. and Jibek Joly St.

Nearby: Arbat Street, Aerovokzal



2-3 hours

Walk fast? We might finish early.

Have a lot of questions? We might finish late. 


 Not Included 

Various indulgences

Transportation to/from tour

Horse milk

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