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“Not a fabulous museum of western-standards but a rich collection nevertheless”

Central State Museum of Kazakhstan
Ranked #12 of 203 things to do in Almaty
Attraction details
Ithaca, New York
Level Contributor
561 reviews
152 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 175 helpful votes
“Not a fabulous museum of western-standards but a rich collection nevertheless”
Reviewed January 1, 2014

.. the layout and collections might seem haphazard to the western eye but there is al ot to see and learn about in this museum, There is plenty of English signage. I was part of a study tour and this museum added a lot to our understanding of the region.
Appreciate the low-cost entry.

Visited May 2013
Thank rh24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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188 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Czech first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Gladstone, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Informative and interesting”
Reviewed November 24, 2013

I had the benefit of visiting with a local so I had a free guided tour.
In winter time it was a nice reprieve from the snow and wind outside, pleasantly warm and clean. The cloak room was nice with helpful staff and nothing went missing from my jacket pockets. The entrance price was minimal as is typical of this sort of institution in former Soviet countries and value for money was wonderful. The exhibits were well laid out and quite informative and most had some English descriptions. I cannot recall if there were English audio tours, but I have a vague recollection that there may have been.

I liked the way it was divided into distinct areas and each was again divided into sequential displays. Overall I thought it was very well laid out. The exhibits were interesting but without a wow factor, as you would expect a state run enterprise to be. Don’t expect laser shows and interactive displays with 3D woo hoos’ and bells and whistles, but do expect everything to be tastefully presented and with a politeness I have come to expect from Kazakhstani government. While you may not experience a great deal of politeness dealing with officialdom in a general sense they do very much try to be nice to tourists.

As is typical in winter time there was maintenance work going on and some displays were under construction, but it was still well worth the visit and encouraging enough to warrant a return visit in tourist season.

I did notice a lack of ramps and general wheelchair access, but if you were persistent I think you could get some very helpful assistance. Obviously you would not expect a 70 year old woman to help you down stairs when she requires her herself, as much as you also would not expect the site to be staffed by strapping big lads who could fireman carry a camel up a mountain. I am certain that the disabled access will be remedied soon if indeed it has not already been done; they seem to have an understanding that culture and history can be big draw cards.

I liked the natural history and also the traditional Kazakh displays, both being very informative and with quite nice artefacts. The Kazakh house, ‘Yurt’, was nice and had a great lay out but I can say that taking a nap inside is frowned at. Yes, there are many ‘do not touch’ signs, but I did not see a single ‘no nanna naps’ sign. I will put that down to a cultural misunderstanding. ;)

The building itself is nice, with an interesting entrance of many wooden doors; Signs will point you in the correct direction. There are plenty of stairs to keep your fitness up and all in all you can expect to stay indie for an hour for a quick review or three to four hours for a fairly detailed study. I enjoyed my walk around and would recommend it as a nice outing while in Almaty.

Getting there is easy and a great opportunity to ride the new Metro, but that is another review.

Visited January 2013
Thank Stephen1975
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
92 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Not that good”
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Positives, admission is very cheap, like a dollar. There is an exhibit on carpets/textiles on the main ground floor with alot of English.

Otherwise it falls into the 'dull museum' which you either goto on a rainy day and kind that bored you on your school trips. Alot of articles in glass cases, lots of 'do not touch' signs, very little English, not really what you are looking at or what you could learn from it.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Terry J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Level Contributor
53 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Interesting Place for Foreigners and Locals”
Reviewed September 20, 2013

This Museum, especially its lower floors, including the schema of the night star-sky, attracts with its unobtrusive and informative exhibits on the evolution of man and nature. The upper floors of the latter historic periods are perhaps not so interesting, but there are regularly held exhibitions of paintings which rarely leave anyone indifferent!

Visited October 2012
Thank LenchikR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Confusing and disorganised”
Reviewed September 14, 2013

As an expat in Almaty, I often take my visitors to this museum. And even after so many visits I still can't figure out the concept.

First of all, it is layered in several levels with no stroller access (as almost everywhere in this city), so if you are disabled or with a baby, forget about it. Don't expect any help from people around you, they simply never offer, it's probably a cultural thing.

Secondly, only 10% of the exhibits are translated, albeit through google translate, the rest is Kazakh and Russian only. So if you want to understand what you are looking at, better learn some of these two languages.

Thirdly, it is totally disorganized. There is no chronological order of display, no walking directions, it is just a mess.

Maybe this is due to cheap entrance fee, I don't know but my four year old can do a better job in presenting what should be the most important part of Kazakh history, something they take major pride in. All in all, a sloppy job that needs large scale updating, translating, rearranging, reconstructing etc.

If they want a national rebirth and break out from soviet influence, they first need to start with their history.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Anica9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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