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Ice sculptors transform a Russian city into a winter wonderland

Festive illuminations are brightening up the Siberian city of Tomsk's central square. Alongside a New Year tree, there are sixteen large ice sculptures decorating the site. The artworks were created as part of Crystal Tomsk, ice sculpture festival that took place between 12 and 18 December. It's the seventh time the festival has been staged in the Siberian city. The theme for this year's competition was "Folk art and intangible heritage". Sculptors used fairy tales, myths, epics, and proverbs as a source of inspiration and themes for their frosty creations. Winners of the second prize, team Leko from the Russian republic of Yakutia, carved this "self-driving oven", inspired by Russian fairytales. Master ice sculptors worked from 9am to 9pm, some stayed overnight. On Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th, there were frosts in Tomsk and the temperature dropped to a chilly -25 degrees Celsius during the day. That didn't interfere with craftsmen's work, but getting used to the temperatures was a challenge for some. Another challenge was the sheer amount of ice needed to create the entries. To create the sculptures, 376 ice blocks with a total mass of 156 tons were prepared. Each team was given 8.5 ice blocks to craft their sculpture, every block weighs about 500 kilograms each. The event was attended by sixteen teams, which included 32 sculptors from ten different parts of Russia: Tomsk, Yakutsk, Khabarovsk, Irkutsk, Perm, Kyzyl, Seversk, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. Each team created one large sculpture and one small one. The small sculptures were made during a "blitz" tournament that was staged on December 12. The festival ended on Saturday 18 December. First place - and a certificate for 100,000 Russian rubles - was awarded to sculptors from Yakutsk, the RoK team, who made this sculpture, named "Heavenly Mare". The second prize was shared between Leko team from Yakutia with the "self-driving stove" sculpture and the Plantation team from Khabarovsk with the "Flight of the Bumblebee" creation.