If you happen to be in Russia’s capital city Moscow during New Year celebrations, strap on your ice skates and glide your way through the city’s most unique and spectacular ice-skating rinks.
This year, the capital celebrates the winter season with the opening of nearly 1,500 ice rinks: indoors, outdoors, in courtyards and neighborhood parks. Although Moscow can’t boast a large quantity of snow this year because of an abnormally warm winter, technologies made it easy for everyone to slide and skate even when it’s zero degrees Celsius (32° Fahrenheit) outside.
Caspian News checked out some of the best spots to glide on in the capital this winter.
GUM Ice Rink
Have you ever imagined skating on the iconic Red Square? Try not to miss this chance since the GUM ice-skating rink in the city center is now opened to the public daily from November 20 through March 1.
The 3,000-square-meters ice rink in the city center is a perfect place for those who want to take a photo in front of the gingerbread department store, buy a couple of souvenirs at the Christmas booth and take a walk around New Year's Moscow with a glass of hot beverage after ice skating. If you are a fan of this quintessential winter pastime, you can be extra happy, because every week the GUM rink offers ice skating lessons led by famous figure skaters and hockey players.
This year, the theme of the skating rink next to the GUM department store is the country’s favorite children’s show “Good Night, Little Ones!” dedicated to the show’s 55th anniversary.
Ice Skating At VDNKh
A trip to Russia is not complete without visiting VDNKh park in northern Moscow, which is hosting the largest artificial ice rink in Europe. The 20,000-square-meter rink can take about 4,500 ice-skating fans at a time, which is ten times more than the GUM rink’s capacity.
This year, skating enthusiasts are spoilt for choice at VDNKh, a gigantic entertainment complex, as it is divided into three ice rinks. The main zone covering about 16,000 square meters welcomes visitors of all ages and skating skills, while another one is a small rink for pre-school kids accompanied by adults. You will find the third rink zone, “Alley of lovers,” built around the Stone Flower fountain, one of VDNKh's most prominent fountains. Single or not, you won’t feel lonely in a crowd of people making rounds and rounds along the decorated trees.
If you want to spend the holiday in a truly holiday manner and feel the Russian spirit, enjoy dozens of winter entertainments at VDNKh that offers opportunities for tubing slides, dog-sledding, snowmobile riding and skiing. VDNKh park also has a large-scale program of events, as do many museums and libraries around the city.
Sokolniki Park Ice Rinks
Another rink which is worth trying, locates at Sokolniki, a picturesque park which is settled 30-minute outside the city center. Similar to the VDNKh, Sokolniki offers three separate ice skating rinks: two natural and one artificial.
Sokolniki's natural rinks, named “Giant” and “In the Forest,” will be opened when sub-zero temperatures become firmly established, while the Lyod (ice) rink covered with artificial ice is ready to welcome visitors. Spanning 5,300 square meters, the Lyod rink is considered to be the best in its category by amateur figure skaters. Frequent service breaks - every two hours from 10 a.m. to midnight – and plenty of space in the middle lets them practice their spins and other tricks without any problems.
You can also buy multiple entry passes which will save you money and time. Note that children under three years old are not allowed on the rink.