Ice Russia

Bear on Seliger, Ice Russia

Bear on Seliger, best photo of the day on yandex.fotki.ru

Ice Russia. Russia, being the coldest country of the world, is naturally the place where the first known ice palace (20 meters tall and 50 meters wide) appeared. Russia had done the most amazing Ice show that for almost three centuries, was not surpassed by anyone in the world. It was in the cold winter of 1739–1740, in St. Petersburg, when Russian Empress Anna Ivanovna gave an order to build a palace made of ice in St. Petersburg. The garden was filled with ice trees with ice birds and an ice statue of an elephant. The outer walls were lined with ice sculptures. Before the palace there were artillery pieces also made of ice. The palace was also furnished with furniture made of ice, including an ice bed with ice mattress and pillows. The whole structure was surrounded with a tall wooden fence.

Empress Anna Ivanovna's Ice Palace of 1739–1740

Empress Anna Ioanovna’s Ice Palace of 1739–1740

The palace and the surrounding festivities were part of the celebration of Russia’s victory over the Ottoman Empire. She ordered the architect Pyotr Yeropkin to design the building. It was built under the supervision of Georg Kraft, who left a detailed description of the palace.

Valery Jacobi. Ice palace of Empress Anna, 1878

Valery Jacobi. Ice palace of Empress Anna Ivanovna, 1878

Ice House, Album of illustrations for the novel of Lazhechnikov

Ice House, Album of illustrations for the novel of Lazhechnikov

Ice House, Album of illustrations for the novel of Lazhechnikov

Ice House, Album of illustrations for the novel of Lazhechnikov

Ice House, Album of illustrations for the novel of Lazhechnikov

Ice House, Album of illustrations for the novel of Lazhechnikov

Ice House, Album of illustrations for the novel of Lazhechnikov

Ice House, Album of illustrations for the novel of Lazhechnikov

The festivities involving the Ice Palace included a mock wedding of two jesters. Prince Mikhail Alekseyevich Galitsin had married an Italian woman. Empress Anna saw this as an affront because she was a Catholic, not Eastern Orthodox. The wife died soon after but Anna did not forgive Galitzine and decided to punish him in an unusual manner. She first ordered him to become a jester.

Ice palace of Empress Anna Ivanovna

Ice palace of Empress Anna Ivanovna

The Empress selected prince Galitsin a new wife, an unattractive Kalmyk maidservant Avdotya Ivanovna Buzheninova. She forced the prince to marry her and displayed the newlyweds in a procession where they rode an elephant, dressed as clowns, and were followed by a number of circus freaks and farm animals. In the palace the newlyweds were closed naked into an icy nuptial chamber under heavy guard. The couple survived the night because the bride traded a pearl necklace with one of the guards for a sheepskin coat.

Russian Empress Anna Ioanovna

Russian Empress Anna Ioanovna

Empress Anna died the following year and the castle did not survive the next summer. The Russian reading public was made aware of Anna’s mock palace in 1835, when Ivan Lazhechnikov (1792–1869) described her escapade in The Ice House, one of the first historical novels in the language. The novel was made into a film as early as 1927. The Mirrored World (2012), a novel by the author of The Madonnas of Leningrad, also depicts this episode in history.

Empress Anna Ioanovna

Empress Anna Ioanovna

Empress Anna Ioanovna

Empress Anna Ioanovna

Now, traditional winter festivals of ice sculpture take place all over Russia – in Moscow, Khabarovsk, Irkutsk, Penza, Novosibirsk, Angarsk, Cheremkhovo, Shelekhov, Krasnoyarsk, Ulyanovsk and many other cities. The most successful teams represent Russia at the World Festivals and Championships of ice sculptures, which are understandably held in countries with cold winters – Sweden, Canada, USA (Alaska), China, Great Britain, Japan. It has become a tradition for talented Russian sculptors (Vladimir Zhikhartsev, Sergei Loginov, and Vitaliy Lednev) to get prizes and awards at such competitions.

Cathedral

Cathedral

Emperor Alexander I

Emperor Alexander I

Emperor Nicholas II

Emperor Nicholas II

Emperor Peter the First

Emperor Peter the First

Tsar Fyodor Alexeyevich

Tsar Fyodor Alexeyevich

Taming the Fire, ice sculpture made by artists from Krasnoyarsk and Angarsk, Russia

Taming the Fire, ice sculpture made by artists from Krasnoyarsk and Angarsk, Russia

The dreamer

The dreamer

The host of Selenga

The host of Selenga

The seal holds the legend text of the Angara and Yenisei

The seal holds the legend text of the Angara and Yenisei

A boy with a dog, ice sculpture. Moscow

A boy with a dog, ice sculpture. Moscow

Amur crystal - 2013

Amur crystal – 2013

Amur crystal - 2013

Amur crystal – 2013

Amur crystal - 2013

Amur crystal – 2013

Amur crystal - 2013

Amur crystal – 2013

Amur crystal - 2013

Amur crystal – 2013

Ancient Warrior

Ancient Warrior

Cockerel

Cockerel

Crystal apple, Krasnoyarsk ice festival

Crystal apple, Krasnoyarsk ice festival

Dinner

Dinner

Dream fated by gods, or the Way to Lake Baikal. Sculpture by Siberian artists

Dream fated by gods, or the Way to Lake Baikal. Sculpture by Siberian artists

Eagle, Kazan

Eagle, Kazan

Fish for dinner

Fish for dinner

Flowers of Yugra

Flowers of Yugra

Gold fish

Gold fish

Grey wolf

Grey wolf

Ice Russia

Ice composition God save Russia, Moscow

Ice Russia

Ice fantasy, Khabarovsk

Ice Russia

Ice fantasy, Khabarovsk

Ice Russia

Ice sculpture Butterfly, Moscow

Ice Russia

Ice sculpture in Russia

Ice Russia

Ice sculpture in Russia

Ice Russia

Ice sculpture on the Baikal

Ice Russia

Ice sculpture ‘Wolf and owl’

Ice still life

Ice still life

Ice Russia

Ice swan

Khoten (hostess of Barguzinskaya valley, Irkutsk region)

Khoten (hostess of Barguzinskaya valley, Irkutsk region)

Mermaid, Ice sculpture on the Baikal

Mermaid, Ice sculpture on the Baikal

Ice sculpture Crystal Palace, in the town of Gubkinsky, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia

Ice sculpture Crystal Palace, in the town of Gubkinsky, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia

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