What’s so unique about this church in Slovakia?

What’s so unique about this church in Slovakia?

Every year, since 2013, ice sculptors gather at this Slovak Tatra mountain hamlet to build a Tatra Ice Temple, or scaled-down replica of a famous church using only crystal-clear ice blocks. This year, it's an 11-metre tall version of the 16th-century Vatican basilica, complete with the imposing two half-circle wings of Bernini's colonnade

Unlike other churches, this church in Slovakia is open for public only six months in a year. However, every year thousands of visitors visit this church which has not been consecrated. Last year 2.5 lakh people visited this place. This church is also a global hotspot for destination wedding, though none from Bollywood have tied the knot here so far! Located 1,285 metres (4,200 feet) above sea level, this church is higher than any of Slovakia’s 4,158 churches. But that’s not the reason making it unique. Do you know what makes this church unique?

No wood or bricks and mortar have been used in making this house of worship which is located in the Slovak Tatra mountain hamlet of Hrebienok. Unlike other structures, this church has been built from massive crystal-clear blocks of ice.

Every year, since 2013, ice sculptors gather at this Slovak Tatra mountain hamlet to build a Tatra Ice Temple, or scaled-down replica of a famous church using only crystal-clear ice blocks. This year, it’s an 11-metre tall version of the 16th-century Vatican basilica, complete with the imposing two half-circle wings of Bernini’s colonnade.

This year a team of 16 sculptors from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Wales and the United States worked 12 hours a day for a month to create a temple which will be removed once the summer sets in. More than 15 carpenters helped sculptors with the demanding task of stacking the ice blocks, each weighing 125 kilogrammes (275 pounds). The only building material used is ice blocks and this year 1,880 ice blocks weighing a total of 225 tonnes, was imported from neighbouring Poland.

This year’s winter was special in the sense that it was warmer than previous ones. So, there was a danger of ice melting faster than usual, creating problems for the sculptors. To overcome this problem, it was decided to cover the structure with a geodesic dome, measuring 25 metres in diameter. They also installed refrigeration units to ensure a bone-chilling minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) to keep the ice solid.

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