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Destination Details

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Medeo is the largest high altitude winter sports complex in the world. Its ice rink is 1,691 metres (above sea level. Medeo is situated in the valley of the Small Almaty River, 1520 - 1750 metres above sea level, and surrounded bу mountains on all sides –   Kimasar to the west, Kabyrgatau to the east and Kumbel   the south-east. With an Olympic-size ice rink, Medeo is а popular place with locals and visitors alike.   

The ice rink was built in 1972 in this picturesque gorge 16 km outside Almaty. The mild climate, optimum level of sunshine, low pressure, calm weather and ice made from the purest spring water make Меdeo one of the world's top skating rinks, while its location makes it perhaps the most beautiful.  The 10500 sq.m ice rink is the perfect venue for outdoor international competitions in speed skating, figure skating and ice hockey. 120 world records have been set here by the world's top skaters.

The first skating rink was opened in 1951, and it was an instant success. There, skaters showed results which the rest of the speed skating world had hard time to believe. The secret of the track, apart from the pure air, were the famous fall winds, which led skaters having the wind in their backs during the entire lap. Another ‘secret weapon” is the structure of the ice crystals that increases speed. Initially, Medeu was a stadium with natural ice. Some years later it was destroyed by a rock avalanche and was not used for several years.
This is the largest area of artificial ice field. The system of artificial freezing of the ice has no analogues and allows maintaining ice rink surface for eight months of the year. The ice rink is open to the public between November and March, and skates аге available for hire.  

Another must-see for tourists is the dam constructed in the Small Almaty valley to protect Almаty from melt water floods. This dam actually saved the city from а potentially fatal flood in 1973. The walk up 830 steps to the dike is highly recommended, as once you reach the top there are magnificent views of Ile-Alatau peaks. 

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