MOSCOW on Monday opened a brand new park to the public just steps from the Kremlin, boasting wonders such as an ice labyrinth, despite criticism over its huge pricetag.
Zaryadye Park has replaced a gigantic Soviet-era hotel on the banks of the River Moscow, which was demolished in 2006 leaving a lot that stood empty for many years as investors and City Hall clashed over the space, valued at more than $1 billion.
The park consists of a landscape with different geobotanical “zones” including one resembling a tundra, as well as attractions like a philharmonic hall concealed under a hill with a “glass crust” roof and an ice cave with a labyrinth.
Park director Pavel Trekhleb pointed out that climate control for the park’s southern plants will be provided with infrared lanterns, while fish will be supplied into the pond on a weekly basis.
Historically Zaryadye was a bustling merchant quarters and became a mainly Jewish neighbourhood in the late 19th century. However after Jews were forcibly moved out of the Russian capital in 1892, Zaryadye began to disintegrate and Soviet authorities decided to knock it down. It was replaced by the Rossiya hotel which was the biggest in the world with 3,182 rooms when it was built in 1967.
Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2017