Harvesting of apples of the variety “aport” near Almaty, former capital of Kazakhstan, in the early 70s. The name “Almaty” derives probably from the Kazakh word alma (алма) that means “apple” and thus is often translated as “place of apples”: we can find alma or likes also in other Ural-Altaic languages, as Ungarian and Mongolian (in Turkish: elma.) Native of this area is the species Malus sieversii, a wild apple that has recently been shown to be the primary ancestor of most cultivars of the current domesticated apple (Malus domestica). Originally called “Vernyj”, since the time of the Russian Empire up until 1993 the city was known “Alma–Ata” meaning “father of apples” (a name that is still in use). Since 1997 the capital of Kazakhstan is Astana.

(photo: © 1975 Novosti news agency, Moscow – personal collection)