Almaty, formerly known as Alma-Ata and Verny, is the largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1,552,349 people, consisting the 9% of the country’s total population. Almaty is considered a World City with a Beta classification according to GaWC. It served as capital of the Kazakh state in its various forms from 1929 to 1997, under influence of the former Soviet Union and its appointees. Alma-Ata was the host city for a 1978 international conference on Primary Health Care where the Alma Ata Declaration was adopted, marking a paradigm shift in global public health. In 1997 the government relocated the capital to Astana in the north of the nation.
Almaty continues as the major commercial and cultural centre of Kazakhstan, as well as its biggest population center. The city is located in the mountainous area of southern Kazakhstan in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau at an elevation of 2,300–3,000 feet (700–900 m), where the Bolshaya and Malaya Almaatinka rivers run into the plain.