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"Russian ALMA-ATA(Vernyi) is a former capital of Kazakhstan. It lies in the northern foothills of the Trans-Alay Alatau at an elevation of 2,300-3,000 feet (700-900 m), where the Bolshaya and Malaya Almaatinka rivers emerge into the plain. The modern city was founded in 1854 when the Russians established the military fortification of Zailiyskoye (renamed Verny in 1855) on the site of the ancient settlement of Almaty, which had been destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century. Cossacks, peasant settlers from European Russia, and Tatar merchants soon established themselves in the vicinity, and in 1867 the fortification became the town of Verny and the administrative centre of newly created Semirechye province of the governorate-general of Turkistan. By 1906 the population had grown to 27,000, two-thirds of whom were Russians and Ukrainians. Soviet rule was established in 1918. Now Almaty(Alma-Ata) is the largest city and commercial capital of Kazakstan. Almaty has beautiful streets and it's easy to find your way around.