The Medeu, (Kazakh: Медеу; Medew) or Medeo (Russian: Медео) is an outdoor speed skating and bandy rink. It is located in a mountain valley (Medeu Valley, or the valley of Malaya Alma-Atinka River) on the south-eastern outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan. Medeu sits 1,691 metres above sea level, making it the highest skating rink in the world. It has 10.5 thousand square meters of ice and utilizes a sophisticated freezing and watering system to ensure the quality of the ice.
Construction of the stadium began in the fall of 1949, and the first competition took place at the stadium on 4 February 1951. Medeu switched to its current system of artificial ice in 1972 by a team of Soviet engineers.
The Medeu Dam, built in the late 1960s, stands immediately south of the skating rink, protecting it - and the city of Almaty itself - from potentially devastating mud flows. Viewpoints on top of the dam provide great views of the stadium.
Medeu has seen many world records in all the speed skating distances from 1951 until the 1980s: 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m, 3000 m, 5000 m, and the 10000 m. In 1972, the rink made a very successful transition from natural ice rink to artificial ice rink.
The bandy team Dynamo Alma-Ata, won the Soviet Championships in 1977 and 1990 and the European Cup in 1978.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the costs to uphold the arena as a top ice rink proved too expensive for the independent Republic of Kazakhstan. The last great championship event for a long time on this ice rink was held in 1988—the Men's World Speed Skating Championship—which was won by the American skater Eric Flaim.
In the early years of the 2000s, Medeo's future status as a competition rink was uncertain. However, it was proposed as the speed skating venue both for Almaty's unsuccessful bid for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the successful one for the 2011 Asian Winter Games. In the end, bandy was the only sport here during the Games. Speed skating was held at an indoor arena in Astana. Medeo was the main arena of the 2012 Bandy World Championships.
The rink has also been used as the general venue for the popular music festival Voice of Asia (1990–2004).
Read more about Medeo: Medeu in The 2011 Winter Asian Games, Current Use, Hurricane Damage in 2011