Forty ice sculptures on Poklonnaya Gora in honour of the World Cup teams

13 December 2017

The ice sculptures will be installed in late December as part of the Ice Moscow: In the Family Circle festival, which is dedicated to the 2018 World Cup countries. Visitors will see an ice Sherlock Holmes, Baron Munchausen and Karlsson, as well as replicas of world famous architectural landmarks.

Over 40 ice sculptures of symbols from the World Cup countries will be installed in Park Pobedy on Poklonnaya Gora. They will be put up in eight groups that will correspond to the groups the 32 national teams were divided in after the Final Draw on 1 December. Each composition will include symbols of the four countries that will compete against each other in each group. The sculptures will be presented as part of the Ice Moscow: In the Family Circle annual festival that will take place on 29 December – 8 January. The festival is sponsored by the Moscow Department of Culture.

“About 2,000 tonnes of natural ice will be used to carve the sculptures. The ice will be brought in from Lake Baikal, Yekaterinburg and Arkhangelsk lakes. Sculptures of each country will include several symbols. Visitors will see ice replicas of architectural landmarks and cultural monuments as well as images of world football stars, fairytale characters and other national symbols from the competing nations,” said project organiser Alexander Kovtunets.

The Russian national team will compete with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay in Group A. Accordingly, the sculptures will feature a caravan from Saudi Arabia in front of the Egyptian pyramids. Next to it will be Russian traditional huts (izba) and churches. The fourth element will be the famous Uruguayan monument, The Fingers.

The motherland of football, England, will be represented by a scaled-down Big Ben, a sculpture of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver and the famous double-decker bus. There will also be a Sherlock Holmes. The UK national team is in the same group as Belgium, Panama and Tunisia, thus, the group composition will include ice sculptures of the Panama Canal. Along the “canal” will be figures of exotic animals. The installation will also depict a typical Belgian town with a curvy paved street with a horse drawn cart, and the legendary ruins of ancient Carthage from Tunisia.

Mexico, Germany, Sweden and South Korea will be represented together, as they will play each other in Group F. Mexico’s landmark, the Mayan Pyramid of Kukulcan, will be next to South Korean Taekwondo masters, German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and the Rudolf Erich Raspe character Baron Munchausen sitting on a cannon ball. The composition will be complemented by fairytale characters from Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren – Pippy Long Stocking and Karlsson.

The remaining five sculptural compositions will display symbols of the rivaling countries at the World Cup:

-Spain, Morocco, Iran, Portugal;

-Argentina, Iceland, Nigeria, Croatia;

-Mexico, Germany, Sweden, South Korea;

-France, Australia, Denmark, Peru;

-Switzerland, Brazil, Serbia, Costa Rica.

Each sculpture will be 3 to 6 metres high. In the centre of the festival site will be a 12 metre high ice replica of the Moscow Kremlin with five towers. Eight ice slides of up to 30 metres long will come down from its walls. Four more slides (each stretching up to 120 metres) will be available on the hill at Poklonnaya Gora. Next to the Kremlin, there will be a photo zone with ten ice sculptures each three metres high. Visitors will be able to lie on a Russian oven, sit on a tsar’s throne, emerge from a gigantic sea shell and climb on a dragon or a Dutch windmill.

One of the key ice buildings will be an ice izba house. It will have two rooms that will be made solely of ice including all its interior items. The first room will include a table, chairs, TV set, a hassock and a mirror. The next room will have a Russian steam bath with a chimney stove, stove benches, a bucket of water and an oak whisk.

Every day, a show will be available on Poklonnaya Gora with winter games and entertainment for children, and in the evenings, open-air programmes for young people by Moscow DJs. A Christmas fair will also be presented. Visitors will have a good time at Zakrutikha (Twirl) town of national play structures and attractions. There will be wooden amusement rides recreated from unique designs, descriptions and engravings of Christmas festivities from the 18th-19th centuries. These will be exact copies of old attractions that were offered at fairs, including a wooden boat-shaped swing, a Ferris wheel, a fair pole, stilts, spoon throwing and a spinning top gallery and Adroit Winders, and ball throwing and catching games known in Russia as “Zakidushki Nakidushki.” Children and adults will have a rare opportunity to spend these winter holidays the way our ancestors did.

The New Year’s Ice Moscow: In the Family Circle festival is being held for the third time. In 2016, landmarks of Moscow, St Petersburg, Volgograd, Vladimir and Vladivostok were sculpted in ice at Park Pobedy on Poklonnaya Gora.

The World Cup matches run from 14 June through 15 July 2018 in 11 Russian cities – Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Saransk. The main events will be hosted at the Big Sports Arena at Luzhniki Sports Complex in Moscow. It will include seven events – the opening match, three group stage matches, Round of 16 matches, semifinals and finals. Five more games will be hosted in Moscow at Spartak Stadium: four group stage matches and a Round of 16 game.

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