The residents of Jerusalem are no longer willing to settle for a few flakes of snow every other winter – in 2012 the capital will be filled with ice.
Jerusalem will host the first ice festival in its history in March-April 2012. It will be held at the city's old train station plaza and will include an exhibition of Jerusalem's most famous sites, all carved in ice, and many attractions for visitors.
A huge 1,500 square-meter (16,150 square-feet) complex will be built in the city ahead of the festival, alongside ice skating rinks, a concert area and a bar made of ice. The entire complex will be operated at a temperature of minus 10 degrees centigrade.
The sculpture exhibition will display Jerusalem's most unique sites, including the Tower of David, the Israel Museum and the Light Rail. Visitors will enter the complex through an icy "Jaffa Gate" and pass through a route including ice slides and other attractions linked to the different displays.
The Jerusalem Municipality is expected hundreds of thousands of visitors from Israel and around the world.
"The cultural revolution in Jerusalem will break new records this year," says Mayor Nir Barkat. "The international ice festival joins the list of festivals held in the city which have already made a name for themselves around the world, such as the Opera Festival, the Arts and Crafts Fair and the Festival of Light.
A group of 35 sculptors, lighting technicians, designers and builders are expected to arrive from China in February and set up the ice exhibition within a month.
The construction work will be escorted by Israeli professionals and translators. Visitors will be able to watch the works as they take place.