Brass band, ice carnival and hockey: Glavarchiv about the capital skating rinks of different years

December 3, 2021

Ice rinks are starting to operate in the capital. The biggest one was opened on November 26 at VDNKh. Visitors can skate on ice tracks from Central Pavilion (No. 1) to Agriculture Pavilion (No. 58) , including the place around the famous Friendship of Peoples and Stone Flower fountains. One of the oldest skating rinks in Moscow has started operating in Gorky Park: this year it turned 90 years old. In total, more than 150 skating rinks with artificial ice will be opened in the capital this season.

The very first place where lovers of winter entertainment could skate in Moscow was the ice rink on Petrovka Street. It appeared in the 1860s, and contemporaries described it as the best skating rink. Over the years, there were more places for skating. Documents related to their history have been preserved in the Moscow Glavarchiv.

At the beginning of December 1925, Muscovites could come to the Pionerskiye Ponds (from 1924 to 1992 the Patriarch's Ponds were called so). A hockey rink and a running track was arranged here.

On December 25, 1929, the winter season was opened for visitors in the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Recreation, although the ski station here started operating a little earlier. Paying 20 kopecks, anyone could go out on the ice. The skating rink was for adults and was operated from 12:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. A brass band played for Muscovites.

Six years later, the range of winter entertainment in the park has become much larger. With the first frosts, the skating rinks began to be prepared, a special pavilion was made for young skaters. Adult visitors skated near the embankment protected from the wind by spruces, visited a running track and a hockey rink on the Moskva River. As many as two skating rinks operated for children, and the total area of all ice surfaces was 140 thousand square meters at that time.

In the same 1935, visitors to the Krasnopresnensky Park of Culture and Recreation managed to watch an ice carnival in honor of the reconstruction of Moscow. The audience was entertained by jugglers, figure skaters, masked actors and acrobats. Residents of the capital could skate at the skating rink and on the rink for figure skating and hockey, there was a place for novice athletes here.

The skating rinks were located not only in the center of the capital. Many of them pleased children and adults in residential areas. In 1959, the Evening Moscow newspaper even announced a competition for the best yard skating rink. Housing and communal services, and house management, and parent committees, as well as pioneer squads and just social activists could participate in the race for this title. All they had to do was write to the editor about the winter sports life in their yard: about hockey competitions or ice skating.

In addition, in 1959, a huge skating rink with an area of 120 thousand square meters was opened at the Lenin Stadium.  Experienced skaters skated around the Large Sports Arena, and beginners skated on the Small One. For adults, the Lux skating rink worked seven days a week on the territory of the park, and they did not forget about the children — the skating rink was made for them in the children's town. Visitors could rent skates here, warm up in insulated recreation rooms, go to a buffet or a snack bar. One could skate every day except Monday.


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