site.btaUPDATED Largest Ice Park in Balkans to Be Inaugurated in Sofia Thursday
The largest ice park in the Balkans will be inaugurated in downtown Sofia on December 1, City Hall said on Wednesday. Ice Park Sofia in Prince's Garden, near Eagles' Bridge, has been built after the fashion of a skating rink complex in Vienna on an area of half a football field. It consists of two rinks and many tracks branching off throughout the park.
Two thousand pairs of ice skates will be available to rent. There will be 50 simulators to teach kids how to skate, 12 instructors and a full-time medical service.
A visit to the place will cost BGN 20 for a two-hour session. Discounts will be offered for multiple use. A pair of ice skates can be rented for BGN 2. After January 1, school students in Sofia will be able to use the skating complex free of charge in organized groups between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Two huge screens, an LED lighting system and colour music displays will create a dazzling winter fiesta in the evening. The place will be open to visitors every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The installation can work at temperatures of up to plus 18 C. It was built on Austrian know-how in support of a campaign for Sofia as European Capital of Sport. Next to the Ice Park is one of the Christmas bazaars set up around the city for the holiday season.
The inauguration ceremony on Thursday will bring together Bulgarian winter sport stars. Short track speed skating legend Evgenia Radanova, winner of three Winter Olympic medals from Salt Lake City (2002) and Torino (2006), will lead demonstrations by talented young speed skaters. The best Bulgarian figure skaters will show their new routines under the guidance of Silvia Denkova and Ina Lutai.
A siren will be sounded at 6 p.m. on the opening day to mark the start of the first lap around the Ice Park. The facility will operate until March 1.
The lights of the Sofia Christmas Tree in front of the National Theatre will also be turned on December 1. The ceremony will involve performances by dance and music acts and a 3D mapping show. The 10 metre tall tree is decorated with many lights and garlands. The performances will begin at 6 p.m. and the lights will be switched on at 7 p.m.