First sports stadiums appeared in the Soviet Union in the 20th century. World War I prevented them from building a stadium in Kiev in 1914 but in the 1920s they started construction of Red Stadium of Trotsky designed by L. Pilvinsky. On August 12th, 1923 the stadium hosted a sports contest making that date the stadium’s birthday.
“Alive chess”. The photo was taken either in 1923 or in 1929.
In 1924 they rebuilt the stadium’s football field, encircled it with a race course, installed shower stalls and built locker rooms. It was the best stadium in the city. Opening the stadium triggered development of the sports movement in Kiev.
A performance of the athletes, 1933.
The stadium closed in 1933 when a new stadium Dinamo seating 18,000 viewers opened. Kiev needed to have a larger sports arena when the city became the capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic so they decided to reconstruct Red Stadium. The new stadium was to seat 50,000 viewers and occupy 800,000 m2. They wanted to make it one of the largest stadiums in the Soviet Union, following those in Moscow and Leningrad.
The new stadium’s project.
Construction works started in 1936 with thousands of workers involved. The stadium featured an administrative building, a hotel and gyms. Lighting and radio systems were installed. Tennis, volleyball and basketball courts were built.
The stadium in the late 30s (maybe in the early 40s).
Its opening ceremony was scheduled for June 22nd, 1941. It was named Republican Stadium of Khrushchev. However, the ceremony was not meant to happen on that day.
This ticket is for a football game that was to take place at the stadium on June 22nd, 1941.
The stadium was hardly recognizable when Kiev was liberated on November 6th, 1943. They never bombed it deliberately though. Retreating fascists took off its gate and fence, windows and doors; they destroyed its water supply and radio systems. That’s why the stadium needed major repairs again. It took them half a year to fix it and the stadium opened on June 25th, 1944 with that very football game that was to take place in 1941. However, just two of those 22 football players were present.
Its central stands on the opening day.
Further reconstructions dragged on for years. In the 50s, they installed a wooden scoreboard and in 1954, they built a colonnade by the western stands. In 1956 they installed four 45-meter metal towers featuring 320 projectors which made it possible to hold games both during the daytime and in the evening. The same year there appeared a more up-to-date scoreboard with electric lights and a clock in the center.
In the background you can see construction of the Palace of Sport.
In 1962 the stadium acquired a new name. It became Central Stadium. The same year they dismantled the old scoreboard to replace it with a new electronic one showing the time the goal was scored and the name of the player who kicked it.