As a natural heritage site, Baikal Lake alone provides dozens of nature-related tourism activities. However, since 2013, this place is also promoted as a trendy place to live. Thanks to a popular geo-based hashtag campaign, it became the top 1 most mentioned natural interest in Russia. Today, a simple yet hip hashtag - #живи_на_байкале (or #live_on_Baikal in English) is a true lifestyle movement. Although there are multiple events and fests under its umbrella, visiting the Ice Festival at Baikal Lake is worth your while.
First in a row of winter events, the Ice Festival annually attracts thousands of participants. As a bright show, it presents a lively infrastructure out of ice sculptures built directly on the ice surface. Add to this a stage, hockey court, and several fairgrounds – and you end up with an entertaining all-day programme. Both guests and artists can change in the temporarily erected dressing tents. If you travel with kids, there are some slides and carousels for little guests, as well as master classes on ice.
Each year, the ice masters chose a different theme. Thus, in 2017, the Ice Festival was dedicated to the all-Russia year of ecology. One could find here the sculptures of lake's numerous inhabitants accompanied by their information boards. However, this year, the sculptures will replicate the Solar system. All the planets are meant to revolve around the Sun, in this case, a skating rink. Although the rink is open 24/7, keep in mind there are no rental points on site.
But one model is a definite highlight of the Ice Festival, an enormous life-size sculpture of the above-mentioned hashtag. People from the entire country drive here to make a picture with it. Don't miss your chance either. During the evening and night time, the entire complex functions, too. All the sculptures are illuminated and are in full access. This is a truly fascinating eyeful!
The Ice Festival already became a good tradition with its history. Hold from 2014, this colorful and spectacular event again takes place this year at Baikal Lake. Although the main event is planned for February 23, there are two more intermediate high-days on March 2 and 8. All the events happen in the Listvyanka village, Southern Siberia. You can easily get there by taking a bus or microbus, known as 'marshrutka' in Russian, from the Irkutsk city. During the festival’s opening, the ice skating rink will be launched officially. Also, the guests can enjoy the kid’s playground with slides, concert programme, and the festive fireworks in the evening. The festival has no admission fee. Hence, you can have fun the whole day and probably even face some famous locals, such as cinema and radio contributors and the regional authorities. So, visiting the Ice Festival at Baikal Lake is definitely worth your while, especially if you come from not such a cold region as Siberia!
Cover photo © credits to iStock/Ilmar Idiyatullin
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