Although the rest of the world is already back to their moody workplaces, Russians are still partying into a full swing. In fact, a good half of January is a one big holiday in this no less big country of Russia. Considering that Christmas here is celebrated on January 7, as per the Julian calendar and as opposed to the wide-spread December 25, Russians usually do not get into real holiday fuss up until December 31. Add to this, the Old New Year, another Orthodox set-off to the Western world that stands for the unofficial beginning of the year and is usually celebrated on January 14. You want it or not, but eventually, you do end up with a month full of festivities in Russia. And if you happen to be around Irkutsk particularly around this time, do not hesitate to get into Orthodox New Year's mood, too. Come and celebrate it on Konnyi Island.
Konnyi Island is located in the middle of Irkutsk. Although close to the glorious Youth Island (Yunost in Russian), a primary get-together spot for youth in the summers, Konnyi Island was only recently made accessible to the wider public. However, the neighbouring area of the mentioned Youth Island was organised as a recreation area already back in the 1960s. Thanks to the Soviet architects, this place saw the pedestrian alleys and a spacious beach edged with cosy bushes and blossoming trees shortly after the implementation plan was improved. It is also then when the motordrome for kids, numerous sports playgrounds and a summer stage were erected. A similar infrastructure was designed for Konnyi Island in 2007, too. Still, this place is also suitable for those who seek solitude and some good nature views.
As mentioned before, Konnyi Island is fully filled up with the New Year's mood these days. With the state-provided bright illumination, the cozy paths that walk you through the entire island look almost magical. Not only you can get a cup of warm tea in a local café, but also you can take part in some local games. Starting already from December, you have a chance to meet a Grandpa the Frost (Ded Moroz in Russian) and probably get a present - if you behaved well in the last twelve months. But a definite highlight of the Konnyi Island is an open-air ice-skating rink. Opened at the end of December, it invites everyone to enjoy some winter breeze on its 2000 m2. If you are lucky enough and have your skates with, the ride will cost you zero rubles. If not, there is a rental point and luggage lockers, and several pit stops available for you in case you crack under the Siberian temperatures.
Another reason why you get completely into the New Year's mood whilst walking through Konnyi Island is a stunning masked ball. Planned as a show on the ice, this promising ball should take place around the middle of January. Hence, get ready for some positive vibes, fancy costumes, and intriguing masks. You can also see the Christmas tree (Elka in Russian), undoubtedly one of the main symbols of this festive winter time.
Do not miss your chance to enjoy one of the jolliest times of the Russian year, come and celebrate Orthodox New Year in Irkutsk.
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