Want to see the world’s most famous musical group? You’ll need to head to Almaty, the most populous city in Kazakhstan. When Kazakhstan or Almaty come to mind, most people wouldn’t be thinking that seeing a statue of the Beatles would be high on the list of things to do. Yurts, horses, mountains, and Soviet architecture makes sense, but not Beatlemania.
Of course, some may say you could head to the Beatles Museum in Liverpool or one of the other many statues around the world that depict the band that were bigger than Jesus, but then you wouldn’t be in Kazakhstan.
This is possibly the least justifiable statue of the Beatles. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Star don’t seem to have ever set foot in Kazakhstan, let alone the country playing any part in the existence or popularity of the band. This didn’t stop local artist Eduard Kazaryan from designing the sculpture of the famous four at Kok-Tobe in Almaty. Unveiled in 2007, John Lennon is sitting on a bench while the other three sit behind him. You too can sit on the bench and have your photo taken while Beatles songs are played 24 hours a day on speakers surrounding the monument.
The monument itself is quite large and impressive and adds a playful fun element to this iconic Almaty attraction. Expect locals to ask you to take photos both of them and with them as people constantly gather round to get a snap of the most famous British rock band.
To get up to the Beatles statue, you’ll need to catch the chairlift up to the top of Kok-Tobe, which means "Green Hill", the highest point in Almaty. The chair lift leaves from next to the Kazakhstan Hotel. Kok-Tobe is a popular place for families and young people to head up to in the evenings and on weekends and holidays. There is also a shuttle bus, but we recommend the chair lift!
Other than checking out the Beatles statue, Kok-Tobe offers carnival games, a giant toboggan run, a ferris wheel, cafes and food as well as amazing views over the city. Best visited in the evening as you’ll really get a feel for how the good burghers of Almaty spend their recreation time, as well as Kok-Tobe being a great place to see the sunset.