A Chilly Spectacle at Jerusalem's International Ice Festival

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Visitors to Jerusalem were greeted with a chilly spectacle on Monday, as the Holy City's second International Ice Festival exhibition began.

"It's the ice festival's second year. This year is dramatically improved and enriched. We've heard lots of comments and new ideas and innovations. This is fascinating experience for people that are never been to the ice city," said Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat.

The festival, modeled on China's Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, drew sculptors from all over the world to Jerusalem to work on the project, many previously worked on the Harbin festival.

The ice statues were made by Chinese and Israeli artists.

"This year they came with ice machines and we've dramatically improved the content and the quality," Barkat added.

Housed in Jerusalem's old train station, the arctic exhibition includes an ice bar, acrobatics show and large-scale models of Jerusalem and other world cities landmarks. Other themes include popular fairy tales and Biblical stories.

Organizers hope the event will become an alternative tourist attraction for the thousands who visit the city each year.

The inaugural Jerusalem International Ice Festival runs until April 30. 

An ice carver from China chips colored ice as he works on an ice sculpture for the Ice Festival in Jerusalem, February 13, 2013.Credit: Reuters
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A Chinese worker sculpts at the construction site of an ice exhibition depicting sites from the Far East, in Jerusalem, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013.Credit: AP
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An ice carver from China uses a power saw as he works on an ice sculpture for the upcoming Ice Festival, in Jerusalem February 13, 2013.Credit: Reuters
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Ice carvers from China work on an ice sculpture ahead of the International Ice Festival in Jerusalem February 13, 2013. Credit: Reuters

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