The 12th annual Polar Rhapsody festival took place from November 18th through the 23rd, this year calling on participants to enter works based on the theme “The World of Arctic Animals.” The Salekhard festival is known to gather the best ice sculptors from Russia and around the world to compete in the frozen-water arts medium.
The Latvians received a 70,000 ruble (€1240) money prize for their entomological modelling job, apparently impressing the judges more than the runners-up from the central Russian city of Ryazan and the far-east town of Khabarovsk (second in size to Vladivostok) near the Chinese border.
Other prize-winners included a local team receiving the Yamal-Nenets governors’ award, a Chinese team receiving the Salekhard mayor’s award and a team of ice sculptors from France receiving the Nikolai Polukarov memorial award.
The far-northern town of Salekhard is the only city located partly inside the Arctic Circle and is the administrative seat of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District. During summer the town is completely isolated from Russia’s road systems, as the surrounding tundra turns wet and soggy while air travel stays irregular, but in winter the frozen ice road allows for much better access. It can take anywhere from four days to a week to reach Salekhard from Moscow, depending on the season.