A replica of the original Ice Palace from 1740 has been mounted on Dvortzovaja Ploschtjad near Hermitage Palace by the team of 14 ice-art masters led by famous ice-sculptor from St. Petersburg, Valerij Gromov (www.icestudio.ru) The replica has been build according to the original descriptions of Prof. G.Kraft from St.Petersburg Academy of Science which worked with original project 1740. This event was dedicated to the victory in Turkish war. Ice building on Dvortzovaja Ploschtjad was in these times part of carnival tradition. Ice art belongs also the Russian national tradition. In XVIII Century Russian ice artists worked systematically with design plans and drawings for ice sculptures and buildings. Current composition consists of the main house with 3 rooms decorated with ice sculptures and ice furniture, the bath, 2 elephants sculptures, 6 small canons and many smaller sculptures surrounding the palace. There are 22 sculptures all together. The carnival events consisted of parades, baths, and weddings. Now, after more than 100 years long break, these traditional events was revived in February and March 2006. The pictures were caught during 25 minutes long press release on 8th February 2006 (at minus 22 °Celsius).
Just in case you mistakenly heard that it was all ice and snow in Russia, take a peek at the Big Bikini Exposition. This is right on the river Moskva in Moscow!Moscow has been the capital of Russia for almost its entire history. The exception is during the period of the Russian Empire, which lasted from 1721 until the Russian Revolution 1917. For these two centuries the capital was St. Petersburg. The Russian Empire was the second largest contiguous Empire in world memory; only the Mongol Empire had been greater.Check out what's happening north of Mongolia these days, in ChitaAlthough you may not have heard of Sochi, on the Black Sea, they're building up quickly and hope to host the 2014 Olympics.Other periods of Russian history include the Tsardom of Russia, from Ivan IV to Peter the Great, and the Grand Duchy (14th-16th centuries).The earliest period of Russian history was ruled by the Novgorod Republic and Kievan Rus, which was the first Russian state dating back to 800AD in Kiev.Modern Russia remains one of the world's superpowers. They launched the earth's second satellite, called Sputnik 1, and were the first country to put a human being into orbit around earth. (The first one is called the Moon.)After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia became a federal republic of 83 states.Text by Steve Smith.