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UPDATED: December 20, 2010 Web Exclusive
An Icy Wonderworld
The ICIUM ice and snow sculpture theme park brings Chinese art to Finland


A CLOSER LOOK: Suvi Linden (second left), Finnish Minister of Communications, and Huang Xing (middle), Chinese Ambassador to Finland, look on as an ice sculpture is created right before their eyes at the opening ceremony of the "ICIUM—Wonderworld of Ice" theme park in Finland on December 18 (CHEN RAN) 

A cooperative effort between China and Finland has resulted in the creation of a winter wonderland for tourists in the form of "ICIUMWonderworld of Ice." The resort, created in part by Chinese ice sculptors, opened to the public on December 18 at the Levi ski resort in Finland's northern Lapland area. Suvi Linden, the Finnish Minister of Communications, and Huang Xing, the Chinese Ambassador to Finland, attended the opening ceremony.

Covering an area of nearly 10,000 square meters, the park is themed around the adventures of a panda named Ming Ming. Visitors can follow Ming Ming as he finds his way back home to his family. The adventure takes guests to glittering pagodas, a dragon boat and replicas of the Great Wall and Helsinki Cathedralall carved completely out of ice and snow.

"Ming Ming's adventure is basically a reflection of my own story," said Zhao Yinong, managing director of the Futuvision Group, one of the park's sponsors.


SPECTACULAR WORK: Visitors walk past pagoda and dragon boat ice sculptures at the "ICIUM—Wonderworld of Ice" theme park in Finland on December 18 (CHEN RAN) 

Zhao has lived in Finland for more than 20 years; he went there to study politics before becoming a teacher himself. Zhao said that he has learned a lot from Chinese and Finnish culture, and decided to do something to enhance cultural exchanges between the two countries.

"I hope the park can serve as a bridge to bring people together," he said.

According to Ma Yue, the park's chief construction designer, a total of 60 ice and snow sculptors from China's Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival built more than 20 pieces for the park within just one month. Harbin is the sister city of Lapland's capital city of Rovaniemi. The team will create new works in the following months to help meet visitors' requests.

In addition to ice and snow sculptures, Chinese folk artists will also create and display examples of traditional Chinese crafts, such as Peking Opera-style makeup.

The park will be open until April 2011.

(Reporting from Levi, Finland)



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