There are many fun winter things to do in Budapest, but one of the best ones is surely the popular Budapest Outdoor Ice Rink in the City Park, aka Varosligeti Mujegpalya.
In the end of 1869, with the guidance of Géza Kresz the Skating Association of Pest was founded, and they also obtained the permission of the city council to create an ice rink on a part of the City Park Lake. A wooden pavilion was built on the shore of the lake as well, where the visitors could warm up and change their skates. The official opening ceremony took place on 29th January 1870 in the presence of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, and skating got underway immediately, with the first ever race held on 2nd February.This time the association had only 35 members, which increased to 432 by the end of the same
year.The outset of figure skating in Hungary can be dated from 6t January 1871, when Jackson Haines, who is regarded as the father of figure skating, presented his show for the Hungarian audience. He repeated his visit in the next year, due to that figure skating gained ground quickly among Hungarian skaters.
In 1874 the wooden cottage was burnt down, following that a new stable building was erected by the plans of Hungarian secessionist architecht Ödön Lechner. On the ground floor was found the changing room and warming room, while on the upstaris was placed the main hall and the music room.For 1879 floodlights were installed to ensure a skating opportunity at nights alike. For 1893 due to the increasing number of the visitors the main building was proved to be too small and was replaced by a bigger neo-baroque style building designed by Imre Francsek.
Beside sport events the skating rink gave home of ice feasts and shows. The fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the Pesti Korcsolyázó Egylet in 1909 was celebrated with a costume festival, in which the coronation of Matthias I of Hungary was performed, that originally took place on the frozen Danube. In 1929 Budapest hosted the Figure Skating World Championship for ladies and pairs and in the 1930s Hungarian figure skaters won a number of European and World titles too.
Regarding cronicles, the Icerink was the biggest procurer of te city: youngsters were able to meet without the elder gardedames, and a crash always gave an oppurtunity to get known eac other. It is told, that between the two wars yearly 52 marriages started on the ice!