Ice Sculpture Festival In St. Petersburg, Russia

Ice Sculpture Festival in Saint Petersburg
Ice Sculpture Festival in Saint Petersburg

Ice sculpture festival “ICE Fantasy” takes place every winter in the centre of Saint Petersburg — Peter and Paul Fortress. 170 tons of ice right in the heart of Saint Petersburg — but for a good reason! It’s a temporary exhibition which brings us to a fairy-tale world of Chinese dragons, Egyptian Pyramids and Polar bears.

The festival takes place every winter, in December — January. The sculptures differ each year, so the exhibition is interesting every time.

It takes almost one month to prepare the ice exposition. More than 30 leading ice-sculpting artists from Russia and other parts of the world to create this frozen kingdom.

Ice sculpture festival in St. Petersburg : dragon made of ice
Chinese dragon made of purest ice

Ice Sculptures Festival — Frozen Kingdom

Ice sculptures are placed in a special tent. The tent protects the sculptures from snow, wind and other nasty weather conditions. Winter weather in Saint Petersburg is unpredictable. Snowfalls, rains, sun, storms — everything is possible. During the whole time of the festival, the temperature in the tent is kept below-zero. In fact, the tent is a kind of huge refrigerator!

Besides, it’s rather dark inside. Ice compositions are illuminated day and night with all the colours of the rainbow. Transparent ice sculptures glow in this darkness. The frost sparkles on the ceiling… Hence the atmosphere is truly magical!

Ice sculpture festival in St. Petersburg : New York city
Cheers to frozen New York City!

Each time organizers choose a new theme for the festival. In 2019 it’s “A Trip Around the World”, obviously dedicated to travelling around different countries and continents. We travel from the underwater world of Australia to the hot and dangerous jungles of South America. At the same time, we meet the ever-cold Antarctic to the Egyptian pyramids in Africa, from North America to Europe and Asia…

Moreover, we see Venetian gondoliers, tigers, dragons, magical Indian totems, ancient statues of the pharaohs, the Statue of Liberty, penguins from the South Pole and a polar bear from the North Pole.

All the sculptures are not miniatures. They are more than man-size figurines made of purest transparent ice. Very elaborated works!

I can’t even tell which of sculptures is more impressive. For example, I adore the ice diver surrounded by ice seaweed, turtles and octopus. Great idea and realization! Same with the magnificent Chinese dragon — we can distinctly see every small detail.

Ice sculpture festival in St. Petersburg : tribute to Australian divers
Ice sculptures dedicated to diving in Australia

Of course, the festival sculptors honour Saint Petersburg sights. As soon as you enter the exhibition, you see the famous city’s drawbridge — the Palace Bridge. And a magnificent ship with scarlet sails!

Ice sculpture festival in St. Petersburg : frozen landmarks of St. Petersburg
Icy Palace Bridge, the famous drawbridge of Saint Petersburg

What Are The Scarlet Sails In Saint Petersburg?

The ship with the scarlet sails is a symbol of summer Saint Petersburg. The Scarlet Sails festival is a celebration of the end of the school year. During the celebration, a boat with scarlet sails goes along the English Embankment and the Admiralty Embankment towards the Winter Palace. The fest is incredibly popular because of the unique show: spectacular fireworks, numerous music concerts and a massive water show.

The Scarlet Sails is celebrated while the period of the white nights. Usually, it takes place during the shortest night of the year — summer solstice (21-22 June).

If you are in Saint Petersburg during the Scarlet Sails celebration, you’re lucky! Never ever miss the chance to watch the show. It’s a busy night, but 100% worth seeing!

Now let’s come back to our ice festival. The ship with the scarlet sails is held under the wide-open ice arches of the Palace Bridge. By the way, it’s a copy of the legendary sailboat. The highest and the most romantic sculpture of the festival, in fact. This wonderful ship symbolizes a beautiful dream which will be surely fulfilled in 2019!

Ice sculpture festival in St. Petersburg
The most romantic sculpture of the ICE Fantasy Festival — the ship with scarlet sails

The ice sculpture festival is interesting both for adults and children. besides, there are also additional entertainments for kids. For instance, they have to find and count all the hidden pigs, symbols of the 2019 year. If the answer is correct, the most attentive kids receive a reward. Adults can make a wish and freeze a coin to the pigs — for good luck.

Ice sculpture festival in St. Petersburg : symbol of 2019 year
Visitors make a wish and freeze a coin to this pretty Piglet. It supposed to bring luck in 2019

To sum up, I would say: include Ice Sculpture Festival to your list of thing-to-do in St. Petersburg. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the cool atmosphere of this frozen world.

If you visit Saint Petersburg in summer, instead of ice, you can see the sand sculptures festival! Head to the same place: the beach of the Peter and Paul Fortress. There you’ll see amazing sculpture masterpieces made of sand.