HIGH TATRAS, (16th November 2023) The most popular winter attraction in the High Tatras – the Tatra Temple of Ice – is opening its doors for the 11th time. After several creations of ice based on the architecture from various corners of the world, the Temple is inspired by a very special personality and marked by a British touch this time.
The general public can enter the dome-shaped cover in Hrebienok already on 17th November to admire a unique masterpiece of ice. This year, it is inspired by Westminster Abbey in London, which has been the symbol of the British identity and monarchy since 1066. Here in the High Tatras, it is also the symbol of exceptional moments. “It was on 24th October 2008, when Hrebienok was visited by Queen Elizabeth II. And now in 2023, it has been exactly 15 years since this moment. So to pay tribute to Her Majesty and also to her successor King Charles III, this year’s Tatra Temple of Ice in Hrebienok is inspired by Westminster Abbey, the temple where not only the coronations of British kings and queens but also the last farewells to them took place,” said Lukáš Brodanský, the general manager of the Tatra Temple of Ice.
The wonderful tribute paid to the British monarch in the High Tatras has been appreciated also by Nigel Baker, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland to Slovakia. “It is beautiful! I think all artists have done a fantastic job. It is very emotional for me to see the Abbey here in the Tatras, which our Queen visited 15 years ago. Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II had a special relationship to the High Tatras and Westminster Abbey has a special relationship to the royal family. I had never expected to see Westminster Abbey made of ice one day. It is very special for me and I believe all visitors will feel the same. It is something that connects us. I am sure that we will see a lot of British tourists here and hope that it will inspire many Slovaks to visit Great Britain on the other hand. Our countries are very close and tourism and culture will be like a human bridge between us.” The ambassador unveiled a commemorative plaque to remind of the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the High Tatras. After the Temple of Ice is closed in spring, the plaque will be given a new location in Hrebienok.
The opening of the Tatra Temple of Ice is usually considered the symbolic opening of the winter season in the High Tatras. “Let’s hope that the upcoming winter season is as good as possible and our visitors can find everything that they look for in the Tatras. Beautiful nature, a variety of sports, great relaxation and peace. I believe that the famous British cultural monument in connection with more flights to London that have been added recently will invite more guests from Great Britain to come and discover the Tatras as a remarkable tourist destination,” said Lucia Blašková, the general manager of the Región Vysoké Tatry tourism organisation.
Adam Bakoš was the main architect and sculptor of the Tatra Temple of Ice again and led a team of ice carvers from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. The first thing one notices when entering the dome-shaped cover is the western side of the Abbey and the central part corresponds to the view of the northern side of the world-famous building. There is also a coronation chair of ice that will serve as a stylish photo point. Photos remembering the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the High Tatras will be displayed in front of the dome-shaped temple cover.
In addition, the Tatra Temple of Ice includes an exhibition of miniature Crown Jewel replicas provided by Westminster Abbey itself. A royal crown of glass made by glassmaker and designer Achilleas Sdoukos, whose attractive works of art will be exhibited in the Temple too, will be the ideal complement. An interesting innovation will be introduced to the Temple this year – an ice construction of mini channels from where one marked mini glass ball will be let out at one of three locations regularly – as a special souvenir to remember the Tatra Temple of Ice. The times of the ball release will change during the season and they will be published on the website and the social media of the Vysoké Tatry resort (www.vt.sk).
Interesting numbers of the 11th edition of the Tatra Temple of Ice:
- 225 tonnes of ice
- 1,800 blocks of ice
- 11.5 metres – the highest point of the temple
- 25 metres – diameter of the dome-shaped cover under which the temple is located.
The Tatra Temple of Ice will be open every day until 14th April 2024 and available free of charge. 12 music concerts and performances are planned to take place in the Temple during the season.
Región Vysoké Tatry (the Region of the High Tatras) is the main organiser of the Tatra Temple of Ice together with the following partners: TMR company, Vysoké Tatry mountain resort, Gopass, Ice Art, Devold, Bergans, British Embassy Bratislava, Town of Vysoké Tatry, Zepelin, Hyundai, Ministry of Transport of the Slovak Republic and Slovakia Travel.