Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev carried the Olympic flame as the first torchbearer, starting up a 20-km route on Wednesday through Almaty, the first stopover of 2008 Olympic Games flame relay outside mainland of China.
Nazarbayev presented a speech on the set-off ceremony before holding the flame to run the first leg in the Medeo ice skating rink at around 12:10 am local time.
Nazarbayev received the torch from Zhang Xiyun, Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan after taking it from the BOCOG vice president Jiang Xiaoyu.
The fence around the rink was dressed up in "Beijing 2008". The stand was fully seated with spectators in uniform of five colors representing that of "five rings".
The gigantic balloons of "Fuwa", the mascot of Beijing Olympic Games, were let off, flying high into the sky.
The Olympic boxing champion of 2004 Bakhtiyar Artaev was the second to run in the city relay.
Top athletes among the torchbearers were Ludmila Prokasheva, skating bronze medallist of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Zhaksylyk Ushekempirov, Olympic wrestling champion of 1980.
Other local celebrities comprised Adilbek Zhaaksybekov, Football Federation president of Kazakhstan, Pavel Novikov, Athletics Federation president of Kazakhstan.
Mayor of Almaty Imangali Tasmagambetov and Chinese ambassador Zhang Xiyun were available as top officials.
In addition to the world-renowned Medeo skating rink, there were another four sites for the audience to welcome the Olympic flame -- the Medeo dam in southeastern Almaty, the Republic Palace, the Republic Square and the Astana Square in the downtown area.
The city relay attempted a variety of ways including skiing, horse riding and motorcycling, pushing the relay into climax for a couple of times.
"Almaty was once on the Great Silk Road linking Asia and Europe," Tasmagambetov said. "The people of Kazakhstan and Almaty in particular are very proud."
Almaty torch relay set out the longest Olympic torch relay ever, dubbed the "journey of harmony", lasting 130 days and cover 137,000 kilometers.
The first stop in the global leg of the 130-day global relay, Kazakhstan sees the flame's arrival as a moment of national pride and seeks to promote its national sports movement.
Most parts of the city cheered up for a string of magnificent torch relays.
After Almaty, the flame is scheduled to be flown to Istanbul, St Petersburg, London, Paris, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Dar es Salaam, Muscat, Islamabad, New Delhi, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Canberra, Nagano, Seoul, Pyongyang, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong and Macao before the mainland of China relay.