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Panfilov Park

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altAddress: between Gogol Street and Qazybek Bi Street, downtown Almaty. Take bus # 63 & 94, tram # 4 & 6, and trolleybus # 1, 11, & 12.

A large rectangular park named in honor of the 28th Panfilov Battalion, a regiment of 28 brave troops from Kazakhstan, under their leader General Panfilov, who valiantly guarded Moscow during the Second World War. It contains a large memorial sculpture to pay homage to those revered heroes, as well as the other brave troops who lost their lives fighting Nazis during WWII.
The Zenkov Cathedral is located in the center of the park.
The park contains beautiful flowerbeds, colored shrubs, and impressive landscaping – makes for a nice, quiet evening. It is a popular hangout spot for youngsters and teenagers. Students from the Music Academy located near the park can often be seen lolling around on the grass, playing the Dombra (a two-stringed Kazakh rendition of the banjo/guitar) and singing cheerful tunes.
 

a.    War Memorial:

The large, impressive sculpture erected to commemorate the fallen war heroes. Also called the Glory Monument. It consists of three components arranged around the Eternal Flame – this was designed to commemorate the end of the Civil War and WWII.
The first, largest part of the monument is an outline of the USSR map, with troops from 16 different Soviet nations forming a human shield to defend the Kremlin.
The second component shows a soldier walking with several horses, possibly those of his fallen comrades – a subtle display of overwhelming grief and loss.
The third part of the sculpture shows a soldier blowing the victory trumpet to mark the end of the war.
The names of the fallen heroes are carved in stone and placed along the Memory Alley that runs across the park.
The War Memorial is believed to be one of the most emotionally moving sculptures around the world.
Young schoolchildren often put flowers around the Eternal Flame to mark the end of the school year – yes, another subtle display of the end of oppression! It is also a popular photo shoot for newlyweds – maybe the beginning of another long phase of oppression? Who knows! But be sure to check out this sculpture that speaks to everyone.

b.    Zenkov Cathedral:

A large, brightly colored, dollhouse-like cathedral, designed by Zenkov in 1904, built entirely of wood – including the nails used to hold the wooden components together! It is one of the city’s very few tsar-era buildings that survived the 1911 earthquake measuring 10 on the Richter scale, and later the destruction caused by the wars. The building is now counted among the 8 most unique wooden buildings in the world.
The cathedral was used as a museum and then a concert hall during the Soviet rule, and was subsequently closed to the public. It was reopened in 1995 and the Russian Orthodox Church was given custody of the place to restore it to the status of an operational church.
Today the church stands high in all its glory, with its soaring metal steeple visible from afar. The interior is richly decorated with lively painted murals and iconic statues. The church holds regular masses, and you can often hear cheerful incantations being recited inside.
A souvenir stall inside the church sells devotional objects and brightly illustrated local postcards.
 

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