Ice palace unveiled in St. Petersburg

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ST. PETERSBURG, February 8 (RIA Novosti, Anna Novak) - A replica of an ice palace built in the eighteenth century was unveiled Wednesday in the center of St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city.

The structure, which is six meters high and covers a total area of some 100 sq m, is furnished with ice tables, chairs, beds, mirrors, and crockery.

The original ice palace was built in the city in 1740 to mark the 10th anniversary of Empress Anna Ioannovna's reign and Russia's victory over Turkey.

The construction of the palace, whose purpose is to attract tourists to St. Petersburg during the winter, began on January 18. Russia's foremost ice sculptors used more than three tons of ice blocks from neighboring lakes to build it.

The opening ceremony, which was accompanied by fireworks and a fashion show, gathered about 300 people despite the freezing temperature (minus 20 degrees Celsius).

Newlyweds will gather in the palace on St. Valentine's Day. On other days, it will offer various entertainments, including an ice bath, an ice bar, an ice cannon, and historical performances.

The structure will be dismantled on March 10.

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