VDNKh records: From mega skating rink to sea of flowers

August 6, 2020

VDNKh attracts visitors with its grandiose fountains and pavilions, as well as unique achievements. Since 1939, the exhibition’s improvised book of records has accumulated many interesting things, including a huge round dance, a thousand dancers and a sea of flowers, the largest skating rink and lots more.

Icy record

Each winter, crowds rush to caroose on a huge skating rink, one of the main local attractions. The first skating rink opened there on 1 January 1955. At that time, about 100,000 square metres were covered with natural ice between the Main Entrance and the Mechanisation, now Cosmos, Pavilion. A large Christmas tree stood near the Stone Flower fountain. This was the largest ice-covered recreational area at VDNKh and probably in the whole of Moscow.

Courtesy of the VDNKh press service

Sixty-two years on, in the winter of 2016-2017, the VDNKh skating rink set a new record and became the world’s largest artificial-ice recreational area. Since then, it is considered the country’s main skating rink, with hundreds of thousands of people using it.

First exhibit of the Cosmos Pavilion

On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial near-Earth satellite in history. Two weeks later, the satellite’s exact replica was displayed at the VSKhV’s Soviet Academy of Sciences pavilion. Over 3.5 million people went to see it in the next three months. By 1967, the model was relocated to the Cosmos Pavilion where people could see other space technology, including a model of the Vostok-1 spacecraft that carried, the first man to go into space, Yury Gagarin. By the early 1990s, the pavilion turned into an improvised shopping centre, and the famous exhibits were lost.

The Cosmos Pavilion Photo: M. Trakhman

Courtesy of the Moscow Main Archives The Cosmonautics and Aviation Centre that opened two years ago at the restored Cosmos Pavilion has an area of over 15,000 square metres and boasts over 1,500 exhibits. This is the largest national space museum and the most popular VDNKh display.

Millions of roses

Local gardeners have always focused on plants decorating the exhibition centre. Construction of many new pavilions was launched in the early 1950s, and the VSKhV also received thousands of trees, shrubs and plants. The lawns were famous and also the roses numbering about 10,000.

The Flower-Growing Pavilion.  Photo: N. Granovsky, May 1958 Courtesy of the Moscow Main Archives

By the early 1980s, trees, shrubs and plants covered over 100 ha of the exhibition’s area. Each year, the local territory received over 120,000 bulbs and 310,000 summer-time and 24-month plants (70 different kinds).

About 200,000 trees and shrubs now growing all over VDNKh. In 2019, its gardeners planted a record-breaking one million flowers, including over 35,000 roses of different hues and varieties.

Dancing in the alleys

People have always relaxed on VDNKh alleys. In 1985, they were filled to overflowing with participants in the 12th World Festival of Youth and Students who came to see an exhibition called Young People of the Land of the Soviets that took up 14 pavilions in VDNKh’s central zone. Guests from various countries sang and danced at local concert sites.

Courtesy of the VDNKh press service

In 2019, People’s Artist of Russia Nikolai Tsiskaridze gave the largest ballet lesson involving over 1,000 people on the exhibition’s Central Alley. The longest ballet bar measured 1.3 km was constructed for this purpose.

Symbol of friendship

The World Festival of Youth and Students was not the only event that brought people together at VDNKh. In 1982, the exhibition centre was the venue for celebrations of the 60th anniversary of establishing the Soviet Union. The United Family display showcased achievements of all 15 Union republics that contributed over 10,000 exhibits.

Courtesy of the VDNKh press service

Years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, VDNKh remains one of the main symbols of friendship among nations. The management continues to restore the pavilions of Union republics on the alleys, holds joint festivals and sets new records. On 12 June 2019, VDNKh witnessed a huge round dance of friendship during the Russian Hospitality Festival Samovarfest. The event involved about 1,000 people from 37 ethnic groups.

Record-breaking popularity

Since its inception, VDNKh has been setting new attendance records. On 1 August 1939, over 10,000 people visited the newly-opened All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV), and over 3.5 million people came there during the first 85 days of its work.

Near the Stone Flower fountain. Photo: N. Granovsky, May 1958. Courtesy of the Moscow Main Archives

Eighty years on, the exhibition centre became one of the most popular places in Moscow once again. All attendance records were broken in 2019, with over 33 million visitors. VDNKh marked its 80th anniversary in August 2019 and received over 1.2 million people in just four days and 3.5 million people visited VDNKh during the May holidays.

Source: mos.ru

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