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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 16:55 GMT
In pictures: Russian ice palace

Completion of St Petersburg ice palace

St Petersburg - for more than 200 years Russia's imperial capital - boasts an ornate ice palace. It is a copy of one built in the city in 1740 for Empress Anna Ioannovna.

Ice palace opening ceremony

The opening ceremony on Wednesday evening was marked with fireworks and "ice cannon".

Elephant ice sculptures

The complex includes elephant sculptures. It was built with more than three tons of ice from nearby lakes.

Ice bricks

Russia's freezing weather is ideal for preserving the sculptures. The bricks are expected to last until early March.

Ice palace visitors

Visitors pay 150 roubles ($5; 4 euros) to see the fairy-tale palace. It will host weddings on St Valentine's Day (14 February), each costing more than 10,000 roubles.

Ice figure

The sculptures are an extra tourist attraction on Palace Square, outside the famous Hermitage - one of the world's finest art galleries.


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