Medeu Ice Rink

Medeu, some 16 km out of town, is located at an attractive spot in the valley at an altitude of between 1500 m and 1750 m, among a mix of evergreens and birches standing beside the fast-flowing waters of the Malaya (Little) Almatinka. The focus of the place is the ice rink, a stadium of a building, with eight large floodlights, which fills the valley floor. Originally built in 1972 but fully renovated in time for the 2011 Asian Winter Games, it was a major training base for the ice skaters of the USSR, and many speed skating world records were set here. A relief on the outer wall of the building depicts two speed skaters straining for victory. Medeu is still an important centre for the training of winter sports athletes from Kazakhstan and elsewhere in the region, though from around November to March, the ice rink mainly plays host to somewhat less talented city-dwellers, cautiously circling the rink. The rink stays open until well into the evening. 

The other main attraction at Medeu is the dam across the valley, which rises up immediately to the south of the rink. Constructed in the 1960s by means of controlled explosions, the dam was built to protect Almaty from potentially devastating stone and mudflows precipitated by a combination of heavy rains and the rapid thawing of snow in the mountains.