SnowCastle opened with fireworks and an attendance of about 1,200 visitors on January 21 in Kemi. Pictures: Kemin Matkailu The history of Finland walks hand-in-hand with winter. Inhabiting one of the northernmost countries in the world, Finns have learned to endure the snowy and ice conditions. It’s no wonder that some of the most beautiful ice sculptures we’ve seen in a while emerge from the skillful hands of the construction team at the Kemi SnowCastle! Pure white snow walls surround the gigantic ice castle, which opened its doors to visitors on January 21 for the 22nd time, now in a new location. The artwork of ice and snow can be found right by the sea near the city center till the beginning of April. The SnowCastle takes part of the country’s 100th centenary celebrations of independence by displaying some of the famous Finns as sculptures on the icy walls, where one can find the face of the famous Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius, as well as Architect Alvar Aalto. In the opening ceremony on Saturday, over 1,200 Finnish visitors and tourists joined the festivities to marvel the sculptures. Here are some of the highlights: Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) was one of the most productive and versatile architects and designers in the country. Finland, with its wild scenery, stubborn people and newly-won independence gave Aalto his primary impulses. Some of his most famous works include the Finlandia Hall and apartment houses in Helsinki’s Munkkiniemi district. The message is warm in this icy room of education: “In our classroom, no teasing is allowed,” says the writing on the wall. The Finnish national composer, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), once described the art of creation as follows: “It Feels as if father God had thrown down pieces of a mosaic from Heaven’s floor and asked me to put the whole picture together. Perhaps this is a good definition of ‘composing.’ Or perhaps not. What do I know!” Passio Musicae, known better as the Sibelius Monument, rose in Helsinki’s Töölö district in 1967. In the SnowCastle, the original sculpture by Elina Hiltunen gets a fresh, icy look. The SnowChapel with a mystical atmosphere is a popular venue for wedding ceremonies. More info Kemi SnowCastle is located at LumiLinnankatu, Kemi (former Mansikkanokankatu 17). The area features a SnowRestaurant, a SnowChapel and a SnowHotel as well.