Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,472,866 (at 1 December 2012). This represents approximately 9% of the country's population. Almaty was the capital of the Kazakh SSR from 1929 to 1991 and of independent Kazakhstan from 1991 to 1997. Despite losing its status as the capital to Astana in 1997, Almaty remains the major commercial and cultural centre of Kazakhstan. The city is located in the mountainous area of southern Kazakhstan, near the border with Kyrgyzstan.
From 1927 to 1936, Almaty was the capital of Kazakh ASSR. From 1936 to 1991, it was the capital of Kazakh SSR, and from 1991 to 1997, it was the capital of Kazakhstan. Almaty remains the largest, most developed, and most ethnically and culturally diverse city in Kazakhstan. The city is located in the foothills of Trans-Ili Alatau (or Zailiysky Alatau) in the extreme south-east and has a relatively mild climate with warm summers and quite cold winters. Since the city is located in a tectonically active area, there is a constant possibility of earthquakes. Although most of them do not represent any significant danger or cause damage, historically Almaty does have a record of some large destructive earthquakes. In 1997, the capital was moved to Astana. Since then, Almaty has been referred to as the southern capital of Kazakhstan.
Kök Töbe: An aerial tramway line connects downtown Almaty with a popular recreation area at the top of Kök Töbe (Kazakh: Көктөбе, which means 'Green Hill'), a mountain just to the southeast. The city television tower, Alma-Ata Tower, is located on the hill, as well as a variety of tourist attractions, such as amusement-park style rides and restaurants.
Fountains: According to the city's Department of Natural Resources and Resource Use Management, as of 2007 the city has 125 fountain groups or isolated fountains. Among them is the "Oriental Calendar" Fountain, whose 12 sculpture figures represent the 12 animals of the Kazakh 12-year animal cycle (similar to its Chinese counterpart).
The historic bandy team Dinamo won the Soviet Championships in 1977 and 1990 and the European Cup in 1978. Their home ground was Medeo, where bandy was the only sport at the 2011 Winter Asian Games. Medeo is the main arena at the 2012 Bandy World Championships. The second arena, built for the championships, is an alternative field of Almaty Central Stadium. Federation of International Bandy has opened an office for Asia, which is located in Almaty. It is also home to Almaty United Football club.
Almaty was a bidder to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2014, but was eliminated from consideration, not making the "short list" of candidate cities. Almaty won its bid to host the 2011 Winter Asian Games. It will be the 2017 Winter Universiade host. The city was exploring possible future bids, such as the 2018 Winter Olympics, but did not actually submit a bid.