City of Nomads
A journey back in time
To experience the feeling of being transported to the Middle Ages, there's no need to invent a time machine. You can simply visit the City of Nomads on the bank of the Ili River in Kazakhstan. This stunning fortress is a magnificent recreation of a medieval Kazakh city that was constructed for the filming of the 2004 movie «Nomad: The Warrior».
Located on the banks of the Almaty Region's most voluminous river, the movie set is set against the backdrop of the hills and infinite steppe. The large-scale structure features a plethora of buildings, including a massive gateway, a mosque, a central square, a zindan (underground prison), craft shops, a khan's headquarters, and a variety of residential structures, including shacks and houses with arched windows.
The buildings themselves were constructed of foam plastic and subsequently covered in clay to lend them an authentic look. Some structures even boast straw roofs to complete the medieval ambiance. While it's all for show, the City of Nomads exudes an astonishing atmosphere that transports visitors back in time.
A filming location
The City of Nomads has become a popular tourist attraction, with the success of «Nomad: The Warrior» being a significant contributor to its popularity. The Kazakhfilm studio collaborated with several foreign film studios to film the movie here. In addition, the fortress was also used as a filming location for some scenes in Timur Bekmambetov's «Day Watch» and for the music video «Medina» by Kazakh singer Jah Khalib, which features stunning visuals.
Thematic photo shoots and a range of cultural events are frequently held at the City of Nomads, making it an even more alluring destination for visitors. Across the river, nearly opposite the fortress, lies the Tamgaly-Tas Petroglyph Site.
Visitors to the City of Nomads should keep in mind that it is prohibited to leave litter, use matches or lighters, or start a fire on the premises due to the flammability of the building materials. As there are no nearby cafes or restaurants, it is recommended to bring along food and drink supplies.
How to get there?
To reach the City of Nomads from Almaty, travelers can take the Almaty-Ust-Kamenogorsk highway. The distance is approximately 110 km (68 mi) and takes around 2-2.5 hours by car. However, it's important to note that at some point, the paved roads will end, so it's recommended to use an SUV for better maneuverability.
For those without a car, public transportation is available from Almaty 1 railway station to the town of Konayev, from where a taxi can be hired to reach the fortress. Alternatively, travelers can opt for a special tour that not only includes a tour of the City of Nomads but also other notable areas in the region.
Other tourist attractions near the City of Nomads:
- Tamgaly-Tas Petroglyph Site
- Ili River
- Kapchagai Reservoir
- Dzungarian Alatau Mountains
- South Shore of Lake Balkhash
- Altyn-Emel National Park
- Almaty Nature Reserve
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