The most famous procurer of the Hungarian capital – the Icerink of Budapest
From the end of October half of the lake in the City Park of Budapest is converted into an icerink. Up to late evening music, rentable skates, hot marrone and mullwine anchor a thumbs up fun for everyone from 3 to 90. Imagine skating hand by hand in the gently falling snow at the foot of the Vajdahunyad - a Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, all at one – Castle! What is more romantic?
The first icerink was opened here after the foundation of Skating Association of Pest in 1869. On the shore of the lake a wooden pavilion was built , where the visitors could warm up and change their shoes for skates. The official opening ceremony took place on 29th January 1870 in the presence of Rudolf, the Crowne Prince of Austria. The first ever race was held on 2nd February. At that time the skating club had only 35 members, which by the end of the year increased to 432. The outset of figure skating in Hungary can be dated from 6th January 1871, when Jackson Haine ,- who is regarded as the father of figure skating -, presented his show for the Hungarian audience. He repeated his visit in the next year, due to that figure skating gained ground quickly among Hungarian skaters.
Skating became quickly popular among the ordinary citizen of Budapest as well. There was no special clothes or acessories needed, and skates could be rented from the beginning. On the ice no fortune or nobility counted – everyone was let into. The icerink of Budapest witnessed numerous romances as well – schmoozing was easy, the by-chance or sometimes voluntary head-ons and muckers gave an excellent peg to hang on it. Moreover dating on the icerinke was convenient and easy too, as the elderly and dump duennas were not able to follow the lovers gliding on the ice. According Browsing the social columns of the that time newspaper it turns out, seventy percent of the marriages in a year started with a „schock” on the Budapest Icerink.
In 1874 the wooden cottage of the changing room was burnt down, following that a new stable building was erected by the plans of the Hungarian secessionist architecht Ödön Lechner, It was the first important order of the young Lechner. On the ground floor he placed the changing room and warming room, while on the upstaris the main hall and the music room. For 1879 floodlights were installed to ensure a skating opportunity also at nights.
For 1893 due to the increasing number of the visitors the main building was proved to be too small and was replaced by a bigger neo-baroque style building designed by Imre Francsek. The building was just freshly renovated in this year. The total cost of the restoration was about €16 million. The skating area grew by 15 percent, and now it consist a 180x67 metres skating rink and an international standard ice hockey rink. The quality of the largest ice surface in Europe is ensured by the about 210 kilometres (130 mi) long embedded cooling tube system.
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