Chelyabinsk Sand Art Festival

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Welcome to Фестиваль песочных скульптур, the Chelyabinsk Sand Art Festival!🥳 This exhibit opened downtown a few weeks ago as part of the city’s 285th anniversary celebration.

The sand – all eight hundred tons of it – is from the nearby Кременкульский песчаный карьер, Kremenkul sand quarry. According to the local news, the sand’s vibrant orange color is completely natural. Artists from all around the country used the sand to create 12 amazing sculptures that explore the city’s past and present. Here are my favorites…

The Founding of Chelyabinsk

Chelyabinsk was established in 1736 as a fort along a trade route. Now it’s home to over a million people.

Sculpture to Medicine

This sculpture honors Stepan Andreyevsky and Vasily Zhukovsky, two 18th century doctors who traveled around the Chelyabinsk region while studying anthrax. Also, did you know that anthrax translates to Siberian ulcer/sore (сибирская язва)? I didn’t!

Merchants sculpture

Another sculpture in honor of the city’s trade center roots. But more importantly, look at that sand cat!🥰

Since camels were used to transport goods back then, the symbol of the city is a camel.

Camel sculpture

The original Chelyabinsk coat of arms featured both a marten and a camel, so the sculptor included both animals here.

Sculpture to the Trans-Siberian Railway

While Chelyabinsk isn’t a stop on the main Trans-Siberian, it still has a rail link to that route. In fact, once railway was built through the city in the late 19th century, almost everyone headed to Siberia had to first pass through Chelyabinsk.

Nowadays the city isn’t much of a hub. To go almost anywhere by air, you need to fly first to Moscow and then on to your destination. To go almost anywhere by train, you need to travel 200km to Yekaterinburg first and then hop on a direct train.

Kurchatov sculpture

A famous physicist from the oblast. His name is common around here: the Igor Kurchatov International Airport, the Kurchatov region of the city, and perhaps the most well-known local landmark.

Tankograd sculpture

Chelyabinsk became a full-fledged industrial city during WWII, earning itself the lasting nickname of Tank City (Танкоград).

Metallurgy sculpture

The factory scene here is thriving. All of Russia can point to Chelyabinsk as one of the nation’s most industrial (and consequently polluted) cities. There’s the tractor factory, the steel factory, the pipe factory; the air quality declines as the list goes on. However, these factories are a huge economic boost and provide a lot of jobs, so many people are very proud of them.

Tale of the Urals sculpture

You might remember this guy from my earlier post: Explore Chelyabinsk in Winter. Сказ об Урале is a very stoic, 12-meter statue that occasionally gets decked out in his own gigantic Ded Moroz robe for the holidays. No robe here of course, but he looks just as imposing as the original.

What’s really amazing about all of these sculptures is that they’ve been designed to last until September! We’re had several rainstorms sweep through lately, and all the art held up 100% to the wind and rain. Unfortunately, several pieces were vandalized last night 🙁 but the city is promising to restore them asap. Which of the sand sculptures in this post is your favorite?

2 Responses

  1. Pippa
    | Reply

    Those sculptures are amazing!

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      The artists are so talented!!! 🙂 Have you ever seen anything like this in Moscow?

      By the way, there’s a sand sculpture festival going on right now in St Petersburg too!

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