News / Europe

Moscow's Famed Gorky Park Gets Makeover

James Brooke
MOSCOW — During the Cold War, the movie thriller "Gorky Park" gave the real park a scary reputation.  Then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the park suffered from two decades of decay.

Fast forward to today, and the largest downtown park in Europe’s largest city has a totally new look.

Irina Datsiuk now comes to the park to play beach volley ball, in the heart of Moscow.  Dressed in a bright bikini, Irina talks to VOA, “I really like that you can play sports and then go relax, and visit the little shops.  They made everything so comfortable.”

The new Gorky Park offers yoga lessons, tango lessons, salsa lessons, an open air movie theater, and space to play African drums outdoors by the Moscow River.

Stefano moved from Italy to here in June to work as a pizza chef.  Unable to speak Russian, he says in Italian that Moscow is a beautiful city and the customers are happy to find his pizzas are made with Italian ingredients.

During the next five years, Moscow is spending $100 million a year to rebuild its parks.  The goal is to inject some green into the gray cityscape, and to take the rough edges off a city often called "kameni gorod" or stone city.

Assistants put the finishing touches on artwork project in Russia's Gorky Park, June 26, 2012.
Assistants put the finishing touches on artwork project in Russia's Gorky Park, June 26, 2012.

Gorky Park director Olga Zakharova says before the total remake started 18 months ago, only 2,000 people a day ventured into the 120-hectare park.  She says, “This year, we have from 40,000 people on weekdays, and from 100,000 on the weekends.”

“Gorky Park has a huge amount of programs,” she answers when asked if there are now traffic jams near the park seven days a week.  “We do not miss any holidays.  For us, Gorky Park is a place where we spend a great deal of time.  And we want to make it so that everyone comes here and feels happy. Like every day is a holiday.”

Opening in a few months is a modern art center, designed by Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect.  Guaranteed to provide more buzz, and more visitors, the project is bankrolled by Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire.

And all this may good politics too.  Young people who are outdoors, having fun, may have less interest in political protest.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More