After a spurt of industrial growth in 1930s, Chelyabinsk saw more industrialization when Stalin moved parts of the Soviet production factory to the city during WWII. Chelyabinsk's industrial past is evident even today in the busy city. However, the many parks and green spaces across the city stand in stark contrast. Among these parks, the most famous one is Gagarin Central Park. It is a large recreational space located in the heart of the city. The park gets its name from Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut and the first person to enter space.
An urban retreat
The 12-hectare park is a vibrant space full of forest walks, lakes, and a combination of rugged, natural grounds and landscaped gardens. As you enter the main park gates, you are greeted by an avenue which runs the length of the park through the center. Residents enjoy this city retreat on a daily basis whether it is for strolling through the park, jogging, biking, roller blading, or even horse riding. It is the ideal place to lay down your blanket and enjoy a family picnic.
More than just a park
The park's boating pond is also a great place to feed the ducks. On one side of the park is Shershnevskoe water reservoir, a favorite among bathers in the summer. In winter, part of the park is transformed into a winter paradise frequented by skiers. There is a summer stage for holding various events, and a show ground with rides and amusements for those who are brave enough. Surrounding the park are other recreational facilities including the Traktor Ice Hockey Stadium and the Central Football Stadium. You will find the city zoo on the edge of Gagarin, a great attraction for children. Small reminders of the city's industrial past can be seen even within the park boundaries, such as several quarries that were primarily used to extract granite.