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In the 1960s the artist N. Vorobeva made a series of etudes of the Swimming Pool "Moskva", which amazing story we present in this article.
The construction of the swimming-pool instead of the Christ the Savior Cathedral knocked down in the 30s started in 1958 and in 1960 the pool received its first visitors. The new sports structure quickly became a favorite spot for the Muscovites where they could rest and do sports. The swimming pool worked all the year round, even in winter time you could see people swimming there. It used to be the largest swimming pool in the USSR and one of the largest in the world at the time. It implemented a brand new concept of recreation on water with the lanes located only in a small segment and the rest of the area available for free style swimming.
Right after the opening of the pool there were lots of rumors around Moscow of people drowning there rather often. Especially in winter. There was said to exist a sect of «drowners» taking revenge for the construction of the “giant puddle” in place of the church. The authenticity of the gossip is still not confirmed. It is likely to be another urban tale.
Swimming Pool "Moskva" used to have a round shape and was divided into several sectors with changing rooms for men and women. There was also a sports sector with a separate entrance which could not be accessed from public ones. The sports sector had a high-board with different levels for divers, a sauna and a sweating room.
A doctor’s certificate was not necessary to swim in the Swimming Pool "Moskva". The tickets were sold in a ticket office near "Kropotkinskaya" metro station. At the swimming pool you could rent swimming costumes, trunks, flip-flops, caps, flippers, goggles and snorkels. To disinfect water various disinfectants were used. The medical staff of the Swimming Pool "Moskva" strictly monitored the sanitary state of the water and showers.
The pool was open all the year round, even in winter. The water temperature was maintained artificially… Here is how one of the visitors described his winter experience: «In winter, I remember, it was frightening to watch those «lunatics» from land, paddling in water at minus twenty wrapped up in steam. But not once I did it myself in winter. The water was warm, it was not freezing at all. Though I had to dive frequently since the hair was starting to catch ice».
The Central Swimming Pool "Moskva" had stopped operating four years before it was pulled down. In 1991 the prices on hot and cold water along with electricity rocketed, and the service became unprofitable. For more than 3 years the pool basin remained without water, which led to the deformation of the expansion joints. The pipework system became corroded. Eventually, the Christ the Savior Cathedral was re-erected to replace the Swimming Pool "Moskva".
Search for artworks by Nadezhda Vorobieva from Swimming Po ol "Moskva" series (1960s) in our gallery: