Kind-hearted winter fairytale: the skating rink in Gorky Park celebrates its 90th anniversary

December 1, 2021

This year the skating rink in Gorky Park turns 90 years old. For the first time it accepted guests in 1931 with alleys flooded with ice, thousands of lights, theater shows, rental centers and loudspeakers, from which dance music was heard.

"Already in 1931, Central Park became the first park in the world where winter attractions worked, where thousands of people could skate and ski, slide down ice and sledding hills on Finnish sleds, or just walk along beautiful illuminated alleys among bushes and trees covered with snow. The Winter Park was outwardly very attractive: ice-covered squares, stadiums, embankments, alleys, cheerful multicolored lights, melodious dance music  — all this resembled a kind-hearted winter fairytale for adults and children. 15-20 thousand people could visit the skating rinks of Central Park during the day," Betty Glan, the first director of the park, told in the book of memoirs "The Holiday is Always with Us." 

This year, five pavilions will work at the skating rink in Gorky Park. In addition, according to tradition, a hockey field and a children's skating rink will be opened — its area will be 920 square meters.  

The emblem of the jubilee skating rink will be a stylized image of the main entrance — the most recognizable symbol of the park. The arch can be found on various elements and structures of rental pavilions, as well as coffee cups and stewards' uniforms.

The design of the pavilions will correspond to the aesthetics of vintage park posters, and the inscriptions on them will remind guests about the Soviet neon signs.

"This year is special for us: the legendary skating rink in Gorky Park turns 90 years old! It will become a mirrorlike, and this is not a figure of speech: for several winters in a row in the middle of the last century, the skating rink in the park was called Mirrorlike. That is why there are so many references to retro style in the new concept — it is most vividly represented in the design of the pavilions. This season we have prepared a lot of surprises: branded playlists, quests on ice, a warm Fireplace zone where you can warm up by a live fire. About 90 light installations, including the starry sky, illuminate the jubilee skating rink — one of the few where alleys are covered with ice so that you can slide along them past snow-covered trees. More than 16 thousand square meters of mirrorlike ice are ready to receive visitors and withstand the vagaries of the weather until March 8," Pavel Trekhleb, Director of Gorky Park, said

This year, the skating rink will work in sessions as before. The first one will last from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., the second — from 01:00 p.m. to 03:00 p.m., the third — from 05:00 p.m. to 08:00 p.m. and the fourth — from 09:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. It will operate every day except Monday.

More information about prices and benefits can be found on the park's website. You will be able to buy tickets only online. Visitors who purchase tickets using the Mir card on the park's website will automatically receive a 20 percent discount.

Complete the quest and warm up by the fireя 

will also be a Fireplace zone with a live fire and heated benches, kiosks with food and drinks and a photo zone.

This winter season, the skating rink will once again launch a quiz quest with chases, games and a real detective story. The plot is simple: Santa Claus forgot the key to the gift chest and the secret word, and the participants will have to rush through the light tunnel, solve riddles and save the holiday.

All guests at the entrance to the pavilions will measure the temperature with a non-contact thermometer for security purposes, they need to wear masks. Skates from rental points will undergo special treatment after each use.

Photo by Yevgeny Samarin,

Facts about the legendary skating rink

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Gorky Park skating rink was considered the largest skating rink in the capital: from 15 to 20 thousand people came here every day. And the maximum area of the skating rink for the entire time of its existence was 125 thousand square meters.

The very first ice dancing school in the USSR was opened at this skating rink in 1931. It was opened and headed by the Soviet figure skater, Master of Sports of the USSR, figure skating coach Samson Glyazer. He spent more than 50 winters at the skating rink in Gorky Park! Among his pupils are Lyudmila Belousova, Irina Rodnina and Tatiana Tarasova. Gala exhibitions of figure skaters and ice dancers gathered crowds of spectators, famous Muscovites also attended the holidays: writer Alexei Tolstoy, actors Nikolai Golovanov, Nikolai Okhlopkov and Igor Ilyinsky. To stage winter shows, actors of the masks theater on ice were attracted: a cow on skates, life-size puppets depicting satirical characters Pat and Patashon, Marusya and Georgik.

Here, for the first time, the famous Soviet hockey player Vladislav Tretyak took to the ice.

The newest history of the skating rink began in the winter of 2011, when, after the reconstruction of Gorky Park, the largest outdoor skating rink in Europe with artificial ice was built in it. Its area was 15 thousand square meters.


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