The Last Wild Apple Forests

Welcome to the Atlas Obscura Community discussion of The Last Wild Apple Forests in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Ask questions or share travel tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this place, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:

I wonder if all the apples in the Almaty apple groves are edible. It is pretty risky, since I cannot talk with the Kazakh locals.
Also, do Kazakhs learn English in school? We learned that apples are of Kazakh origin just a few months ago. Really intriguing.

I’m not an expert but I am familiar with apples grown from seed rather than graft. I would imagine these apples or completely edible, but probably a bit more tart or even sour. If not eaten raw I’m sure they could be cooked into something and sweetened if need be.

When I visited Almaty and environs in 2014 for two weeks, I found that almost no one spoke English (save for people at hotel front desks and university students / employees). My graduate students and faculty hosts took me to the stunning mountains that fringe Almaty, city markets, gracious city parks, museum and other sites. I was fortunate to have them as my hosts and would return in a heartbeat. If you do not speak Kazakh or Russian, you will definitely want a guide to help you navigate the area. That said, I did not see any wild apple groves while in the mountains (though plenty in the markets), so the advice to hire a guide is sound. If you go, be sure to see Almaty’s new subway --the stops in the heart of town are palacial.

I wouldn’t necessarily call Almaty a small town. It’s the former capital of Kazakhstan and has a population of well over 2,000,000.