Gorky Park in Moscow

Gorky Park is a Central Park of Moscow, with 100, 000 people a day on the weekend.  It features Europe’s largest skating rink with artificial ice in winter.

What made Gorky Park #1 in Moscow? Apart from being a fantastic spot for our Moscow night tours, there are some other reasons…

most beautiful park in Europe

Local Fun. Gorky Park. Photo: gazeta.ru

Gorky park was a fashionable place in Soviet times with its carnivals and ballet in the water. Since 2011 the park has been setting new standards for social events, so it has earned a reputation as one of the main urban areas of leisure for Muscovites. This space is designed for a young progressive audience focused on the European way of life.

How Gorky Park started

Gorky Park celebrated its 85th anniversary on August 12, 2013. The story of Gorky Park started with All-Russian agricultural exhibition, which was first held here in 1923, and later moved to the modern V.V.C. (VDNKH).Over a million people visited that exhibition in 1923. Fun fact here is that the whole population of all Moscow that year was 1.5 million people. And it was in 1923 when the first population census was held in Moscow. Anyways…

The whole idea of an open park where you can relax and have fun was mind blowing for people back in the 20s. On the official opening of the park, 12 August 1928, Muscovites found out that they have to pay an entrance fee, which most of them did not want to. As a result, more than 100 thousand people broke into the park, breaking barriers and trampling grass and flowers on the tracks.

The most unusual carnival in Gorky Park was staged in 1987, in honor of the 840th anniversary of Moscow. To motivate people to dress up, the management of the park  made the entrance free for people in costumes and even negotiated with the managements of Moscow Metro to let people use the subway for free if they were dressed up in some fun costumes. There were especially many Musketeers that day in the subway :)

Symbols of Gorky park

The main symbol of the park for many years was a plaster sculpture “Girl with a Paddle”, which, however, was not destined to survive. In 1936 the Soviet citizens found the sculpture girl too naked and embarrassing. The focus was on sports programs, so there were other famous sculptors, like “Girl Diver”, “Discus Thrower” and others.

Another Girl with a paddle was destroyed in 1941 during the war and, finally, the third sculpture was damaged by vandals in 2011.

One of the modern symbols of the park was a space shuttle “Buran”. This was also a hello from the USSR, though Buran had never been in the space. When the monument just appeared in the park in the early 90s, no one knew what to do with it, so the employees just started giving tours of the ship and feed people with food from a tube. That was a hit.

off the beaten path in Moscow

Moscow Gorky Park. Girl with a paddle Photo: mosday.ru

More Fun Facts about Gorky Park

  • Until 1923 the area was simply a garbage dump.
    In the beginning of the 1950s, Gorky Park housed a small factory for the production of soda (lemon peel was used for making lemonades)
  • In the 1930s here was built 35-meter tower for parachute jumps, where young people from various military and sports clubs trained.

  • Gorky Park was named after a Russian writer Maxim Gorky Park in 1932.
  • In 1932 Gorky Park first launched the first children’s railway, with the length of as only 528 meters.
  • Gorky Park has its own Rose sort, called “Gorky Park”. It was brought by the French breeder Philip Manga. This rose is resistant to low temperatures. Presentation of the Rose was held in 2012, to the accompaniment of a symphony orchestra from the Netherlands, who played the music of Shostakovich.
  • On May 1, 2013 the park got its Hyde Park area for public events.
  • The English writer H.G. Wells was among the fans of Gorky Park. During his Moscow visit in 1934 at the invitation of Joseph Stalin, Wells called the park “Factory of Happy People”, which was later shortened simply to “Happiness Factory” and actively used in the guidebooks. He wrote: “When I die for capitalism and will rise again in the Soviet heaven, then I would wake up directly in the Park of Culture and Rest (the present-day Gorky Park)”.
  • Gorky Park has its own ice-cream brand of the same name. The leader is the Soviet “plombir”, while creme brulee, chocolate ice cream and fruit sorbets are also popular.
Moscow in winter

Gorkly Park in winter. Ice-cream installation. Photo m24.ru

  • Gorky Park released a series of souvenirs – pieces of the park, which you can always carry with you.
  • A new mobile application from PlayDisplay will take you back into the past. «Historama» allows you to see ancient views of park by scanning special tags in the park.
  • In 2011 and 2012, Gorky Park was named the best park in Moscow.
  • In 2012, Gorky Park received Tourism and Hospitality Award “Guiding Star”, established by the Committee of Tourism and Hotel Business in Moscow and became the leader of the rating among amusement parks in Moscow according to RIA Novosti.
  • Golitsyn pond in Gorky Park can boast 400 kg of fish – grass carp and silver carp.
  • The park has a snowboard hill «Burton x Gorky Park”, located on the slope of a variety of shapes for jibbing. All pieces are designed and installed under the guidance of renowned professional riders.
  • The park has its own mobile app for iPhone.
  • Gorky covers an area of ​​119 hectares and, though looks huge,  is considered one of the smallest touristy parks of Moscow. If you are curious, here are some of the famous landmarks, listed from the smallest to the largest: Abramtsevo (50 ha), Tsaritsino (100 ha), Gorky Park (119 ha), Kolomenskoe and Sparrow Hills (390 ha), Sokolniki (600 ha), Izmaylovskiy Park (1534 ha).
  • Gorky Park is opened to public 24/7 for free. Before 2011, the park had an entrance fee for all 83 years of its existence.
  • Nowadays, the park is popular among locals for its dance classes, yoga classes, lectures, festivals and all kinds of cultural and modern events.
  • Europe’s largest ice rink with artificial ice is also in Gorky Park. However, in winter 2014-2015, All-Russia Exhibition Centre took the championship for one of the biggest skating rinks in the world: 20,510 square meters, which is 1310 square meters larger than that of the champion of the previous years, FlevOnice rink in the Netherlands (19 200 sq. M).

Sources: inmsk.ru, aif.ru

Would you like to visit Gorky Park when in Moscow? 

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