World’s largest ice rink in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s capital Astana will become home to the world’s largest ice rink thanks to the work of Turkish contractors.

Astana’s ice skating arena, which is currently under construction, has aroused excitement as Kazakhstan prepares to host the 2011 Asian Winter Games.

The construction of the rink alone will cost $130 million, said Ahmet Duran Karahan, the project manager, who added that it will be complete in October.

“The Asian Winter Games 2011 will take place between Jan. 30 and Feb. 6. The arena, built by Sembol, [a design, construction and project management company], will be the 2011 games’ center in the capital, and the games will start here. Therefore, we will complete the construction in the middle of October at the latest. Following a trial period of three months, we will deliver it to authorities.”

The Turkish team is constructing the center on 13 hectares of land, including landscaping, while the arena will cover 7.28 hectares, including stands, said Karahan.

Noting that there will be two ice hockey rinks and a speed racing track 400 meters in length, Karahan said: “Through these features, Astana’s arena will grab the title of the world’s largest ice rink. Besides the ice skating rink, the arena will have a hotel, shopping center and a sauna.”

Noting desires to lead children away from the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol, Karahan said: “The Kazakh government is willing to direct them to ice sports, which are widespread in Western Europe and Nordic countries. Young people will have the chance for any entertainment and sports here at the same time.”

The Astana Ice Rink Arena has a capacity for 9,000 spectators. The arena has drawn attention with its three different air-conditioning methods. The temperature will be around 18-23 degrees in the stands, 10 degrees at ice level and 15 degrees at the roof.

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The arena will be delivered into Kazakh hands fully equipped, including live broadcast systems.