Saturday, 15 January 2011

Some more winter wonders and Christmas decorations.

I really like winter in my city.
It's cold, but dry, and it feels good outside.
And the city looks really amazing in winter, especially around New Year and Christmas, with a lot of decorations, ice and snow figures and beautifully lit streets and squares.
This wonderful Christmas tree now decorates the central square of our city. Very soon it will be removed, and today I was happy to take a photo of it at last, when it was sparkling in the rays of winter Sun!
And this one is in one of the city amusement parks. Looks stunning in the evening. Encircled by a snow labyrinth, real fun for both kids and their parents. 

A symbolic group. A tiger, the symbol of 2010, and a rabbit, the symbol of new 2011.

I didn't have time to explore all city parks, but I'm going to do it soon. So... to be continued!

Ice and snow wonders in Novosibirsk

The festival of ice and snow figures is already a good tradition in Novosibirsk. This event traditionally takes place in the central city park each January 8-13 and attracts artists from different cities of Russia and even from abroad.
Snow should be quite solid, so about two weeks before the festival it is put into big wooden boxes and pressed.
Sometimes artists have to work in rather severe conditions, as the average temperature in January is about -20 here, and this year it was about -30 the day the festival started.
Unfortunately snow is a fragile substance and sometimes figures get a little destroyed just after they are made.
After the figures are built, they remain in the park for about 1 week and then get completely destroyed. And only the pictures remind us of this wonder.

 This year's winner. This figure is called Energy. I made this photo on Friday, the 14th, and on Saturday, the 15th it was already somewhat destroyed (a couple of rays were missing)..

 Best Friends.
 My Fish. As far as I remember, it was made by people from Kazakhstan.
 Somewhat abstract figure. But looks amazing.
 Buddha and monkeys. Made by Altai artists.
 This one took the 2nd prize.
 Don't know what it means, but I liked this most of all.

Young artists can also participate in the event. And their works are as interesting and beautiful, as those made by adult masters.
 It is a real happiness for me to see that this nice thing was made by the children from the school where I studied.
A character from a popular modern Russian cartoon.

I hope you like the pictures. It is a real pleasure for citizens and guests of our city.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The museum of birch bark objects in Novosibirsk.

The museum of birch bark objects in Novosibirsk is a unique place.
Wikipedia (Музей_«Сибирская_береста») and the museum website ( say this museum is the only one of that kind in the world. Unfortunately the museum website is in Russian only, but the pictures need no explanation.

It offers its visitors a vast collection of pictures, figures, decorations and even icons, all of them made of birch bark mainly in Novosibirsk, but in other cities and regions as well. The most of them are quite new, but some were made several decades ago.

I visited the museum with my tourists plenty of times, but as I was always translating and explaining things to people, I had no chance to look at everything in detail.
I felt like I had to do it and I wanted to show the museum to my family, so one day we did it.

Amazing! Some figures are so strikingly complex that one just cannot imagine how the artist made them. It is not an exaggeration to say that all objects are masterpieces.
Here are just some of them, but the museum has a lot more to offer.
As it is a purely Russian style of art and craft, the majority figures represent characters from Russian fairy tales. All those wood goblins (called Leshiy in Russian), Baba Yagas, wood masters (lesovichoks), sauna masters (banniks) and so on. There are many objects of worship, some kind of amulets kept in the house or worn as decorations. Even icons.
A lot of objects reflecting lifestyle in an old Russian village.
There is even a hall with objects for 18+!!

Some simple things can be bought right in the museum shop, and larger objects can be ordered from the master.
I recommend visiting this museum to all people coming to Novosibirsk! It is small, so the tour won't take you more than 1 hour.
I include a visit to this museum into each tour I guide, as the museum is located right in the city center.

The museum has two exhibition halls, located ul. Sverdlova 21, and ul. Gorkogo 18.

Christmas and New Year decorations in Novosibirsk

New Year and Christmas is time of beauty and wonder everywhere.
And Novosibirsk is not an exception.
It is especially nice here, as it look absolutely natural, with snow, ice and frost around.
It was about -30 and sometimes colder for the whole Christmas holiday, which lasts from the 1st to the 10th of January in Russia.
Only on the 10th it was about -20, and all the amusement parks were full of people.

The decorations are pretty, as always. Seems they are getting more and more beautiful and interesting from year to year.
 Not a very good picture, but it's impossible to come closer to take a better picture. I like this Christmas tree most of all. It's in the middle of one of the busiest city squares and is really amazing in the evening.
 Not a very good picture as well. My small camera is unable to make good shots, but this Christmas tree and the decorations on the trees nearby are fascinating. Hope they will not take all this away for a couple of weeks at least. We are lucky to live not far from this park. It's got warmer now and we are going to go there every other day.
 This ice figure and the one in the next picture are seen from far away. A real masterpiece!

 This figure and the one in the next picture are made in one of the city parks. Made of snow and painted.

 Fun and amusement for children and parents. Snow and ice slides are always big success!

More winter wonders coming soon in my next posts.