The Jerusalem Ice Festival returns with massive, colorful ice sculptures and an acrobatic ice-skating performance.

Abigail Klein Leichman /

The sun may be shining, but one corner of Jerusalem will be chilled to minus-10 degrees Celcius for a festival on ice.

Following its successful debut last year, the Isracard-Jerusalem Ice City is coming to town again from February 20 to April 30, 2013 at the Old Jerusalem Train Station.

Underwater world in ice. Photo by Sharon Shalev
Underwater world in ice. Photo by Sharon Shalev

This year, it is expanding into three massive arenas – one to exhibit huge colorful ice sculptures themed “Far East,” “Ocean” and “Dinosaur’s World,” plus a performance arena and an ice-skating rink.

Performing for the first time in Israel, 22 Chinese acrobats and dancers will take to the ice each day in a series of shows.

Chinese ice dancers in Jerusalem. Photo by Sharon Shalev
Chinese ice dancers in Jerusalem. Photo by Sharon Shalev

Visitors are welcome to don their mittens to interact with activities including an ice bus, ice slides, ice mazes, ice rain forests, ice snowstorms, ice bridges and more, all sculpted by a group of 60 Chinese artisans brought in especially for the show.

Sponsored by the Jerusalem municipality in cooperation with the Isracard Group and produced by Ariel Company, Ice City will transform the entire train area into a Far East fantasy land. Even such monuments as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China will be rendered in frozen water.

And to top it off, visitors will end their tour at a sushi bar made entirely of ice (the sushi itself is for real).

Said Mayor Nir Barkat: “Jerusalem continues to hold Israel’s leading cultural events. Ice City is Israel’s largest winter production, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoying this exceptional winter experience.”

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