A hot spot of winter tourism in eastern Turkey, Çıldır will display a giant snow sculpture of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of Turkey, for the "Seventh Çıldır Golden Horse Crystal Ice Festival."
The sculpture of Atatürk with binoculars will face the festival area. The festival consists of athletic competitions held under young women and men categories while wrestling, ice skating and folk dance performances will take place on the frozen lake's surface.
Municipality teams have started the construction of the sculpture and about 70 truckloads of snow have already been transported to the facilities on the shore of Lake Çıldır.
The lake is located between Ardahan and Kars provinces in eastern Turkey and attracts millions of visitors each year when it freezes as temperatures drop in winter, marking the beginning of the ice-fishing season.
A leading figure is sculpted for every festival and the previous snow sculptures doubled visitor numbers last year, explained Kemal Yakup Azizoğlu, the mayor of Çıldır Municipality. Local authorities aspire to attract more interest.
Visitors coming to the region for the festival will be able to taste local flavors such as freshly caught fish and goose meat. They can also experience popular sports played on horseback such as troika, mounted archery, pacer and a full-gallop horse race.
The festival is organized with the cooperation of the governor's office, Municipality of Çıldır, provincial directorate of youth and sports and Turkish Traditional Sports Branches Federation.