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Special> Video> Beijing Review Exclusive
UPDATED: December 31, 2010
A Frozen Fantasy World in Levi


A cooperative effort between China and Finland has resulted in the creation of a winter wonderland for tourists in the form of "ICIUM—Wonderworld of Ice." Created in part by Chinese ice sculptors, the resort opened to the public on December 18 at the Levi ski resort in Finland's northern Lapland area.

Suvi Linden, Finnish Minister of Communications, and Huang Xing, 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 with the assistance from a Finnish reindeer named Nina. Guests are treated to glittering pagodas and a life-size dragon boat, as well as replicas of the Great Wall, the Helsinki Cathedral and Helsinki's Central Railway Station—all carved completely out of ice and snow.

"We felt very excited to be here in Levi, showcasing our ice and snow sculpture skills for the park's visitors," said Ma Yue, chief construction designer of the park. "We used 10,000 cubic meters of snow and 500 cubic meters of ice to create our sculptures; we created over 20 pieces in the space of 40 days. I hope the local people enjoy them."

41-year-old Sun Hongyan is the man behind the sculptures at the entrance of the park.

"We sculpted replicas of China's terracotta warriors to represent China's long history and rich culture," Sun said. "Here, I used calligraphy techniques and added some color to the ice, making it look more like jade."

Visitors are thrilled to see the sculptures being created right before their eyes

"It's very beautiful!" said Hanna Hanhivaara, a local tourist. "It's a hard work, although it looks very easy."

In addition to ice and snow sculptures, Chinese folk artists have also created displays of traditional Chinese handicrafts.

The park will be open until April of 2011.

(Reporting from Levi, Finland)


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