© Peter Kovalev/TASS

SAINT PETERSBURG, December 18. /TASS/. Petersburg Christmas and new year holidays expect a growing flow of tourists and prepares them for a rich festive program. Among the brightest events – the performances of the theater fire, battle of the choirs on the first night of 2018, silent dancing, skating and a traditional festival of ice sculptures with a surprise for fans of the Saga “Game of thrones”.

According to the forecasts of City tourist information Bureau St. Petersburg during the holidays will arrive a quarter more tourists from other regions of Russia and from abroad than last year. They only expected about half a million.

“In the last winter season the flow of tourists at this time of the year increased by 30%. This year we expect a rise of at least 40%,” – said at the tour Desk . According to experts, the strong performance of the winter holiday season in many respects form the annual pattern of attendance of the city – the number of tourists who visited St. Petersburg at the end of 2017, can reach almost 7.2 million.

The anticipation of the holiday

Attributes of the new year this year began to appear in St. Petersburg for a few weeks earlier than usual. Already in early November in some areas it was possible to see the decorated Christmas tree. The first of December in festive attire were already most of the streets, squares and shop Windows and cafés.

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The city began to sparkle with fabulous trees, light arches and other constructions, only “more than 6.8 thousand of jewelry,” he told the Committee on energy and engineering support. According to them, to create and maintain a festive mood Christmas illuminations will be at least until January 15.

At the end of December-beginning of January, the city authorities prepared more than 200 events for residents and guests of the city, is the official calendar of the city administration.

In late November, the St. Petersburg became the winner of all-Russian contest “the Most reading region” and, according to the Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, received the status of “literary capital.” In the month of December in the heart of city on Malaya Konyushennaya street – one of the most beautiful pedestrian streets with views of Kazan Cathedral – you will be working Christmas Book avenues where you can choose interesting books in different languages. Literary Park under the open sky will run until 30 December and will allow fans to read to feel the new year atmosphere and, perhaps, to choose gifts for loved ones.

The festival of ice sculptures

The ice sculpture festival in the Peter and Paul fortress will open on December 23. This year to create the sculptures was used 180 tons of ice. “Hands of world-class masters hundreds of tons of crystal material will turn into a magical land where everyone will be able to meet your favorite heroes of fairy tales, cartoons and films in the fantasy genre,” – said in the State Museum of history of St. Petersburg. The Central point of the festival, according to tradition, will be a 7-metre composition, the name of which the organizers are still kept secret.

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“Let’s just say that this is one of the most famous and romantic architectural monuments of Russia” – speak in the Museum.

During the whole time of the festival for ice sculpture will support freezing temperatures and ice compositions are in a darkened space, “refrigerator”, day and night will be highlighted with different colors.

As expected, the festival will be the architectural symbols of the city, including griffons guardians of the bridge Bank, Atlanta, Hermitage and others. Private surprise prepared by the organizers for fans of the TV series “Game of thrones” is a sculptural composition “believe In the White Walkers?”.

In addition to the figures of Santa Claus, at the entrance visitors will meet with the faithful dog Hachiko as the dog is the symbol of the coming year. As noted in the Museum “next to it will be possible to make a wish and freezing a coin for good luck. The festival will last until 4 February.

Magic transport Santa Claus

New year celebrations in the city will begin with meeting Santa Claus. Wizard of Great Ustyug will visit children’s hospitals and welfare, where students will show performances and will present sweet Christmas gifts. Then he will go to Pioneer square to the youth Theatre to welcome the guests and participants of the annual Christmas fair. Then, accompanied by his retinue Santa Claus will go to the Palace square for the official opening of the Christmas holidays.

According to representatives of the Committee for culture of Saint-Petersburg, meeting in the Central square of the city will be special. “Intrigue of each year – transport: sled, rocket, marsmobile even motorcycles. This is the first year Santa Claus arrives on a magic steam train”, – told the Agency.

Under the program, the lights on the main new year tree of the city will light the snow Queen, the snow maiden and her assistants will conduct competitions among young viewers, and the winners will get the opportunity to be photographed for memory with the main father frost of the country.

Musical evenings

A series of concerts at different venues of St. Petersburg will begin on December 25. At this time, the musical evenings will be held in the Lutheran Church of saints Peter and Paul “Petrikirche”, at the Mikhailovsky theatre, a Christmas gala concert will be held at the Chamber music theatre “Saint Petersburg Opera”.

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Earlier, on December 24, the Mariinsky theatre will host a concert for the anniversary of composer Rodion Shchedrin, which will be attended by Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, conductor Maestro Valery Gergiev. A special concert will be staged at the St. Petersburg academic Philharmonic on 27 December, it will feature the best Hollywood soundtracks that virtuoso will perform Singolo Orchestra is an orchestra consisting of musicians of orchestras such as the Philharmonia and the Mariinsky theatre, under the direction of conductor Anton Gakkel. “In anticipation of the upcoming new year Singolo Orchestra provides students the opportunity to refresh their romantic associations and to reinforce pre-holiday feeling,” – said the organizers.

The musicians will perform the music of Danny Elfman for the movie “Mission impossible”, the famous lyric “Moon River” from the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by composer Henry Mancini, a fragment of phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber, well-known music for the films “Gladiator”, “Star wars,” “Harry Potter,” “Jaws,” “Scent of a woman”.

Classical art in the open air will present broadcasts of ballet performances. On the island of New Holland on 31 December on the big screen of the street scene will show the play “the Nutcracker” performed by the Royal ballet, the Royal Opera House. According to the organizers scheduled two shows to be able to see everyone.

New year’s eve

The main Christmas festivities in St. Petersburg will start at 23:00 GMT on 31 December and will last until 04:00 GMT on 1 January. Traditionally, on Nevsky prospect will consist of two sites – at the Main portico of the Bolshoi Gostiny Dvor and Malaya Konyushennaya street. On Palace square will be the stage in the form of ice castle.

Meeting 2018 will be held under the motto “new year stars”. St. Petersburg residents and city guests are waiting for karaoke with the celebrities, the screens will broadcast the texts of famous songs. The program also includes a large dance flash mob – dancing with the “stars” and “battle” choirs.

At 3 a.m. the river will be lit up by fireworks, which will be the final chord of the climax of the holiday. In order to the celebrating in the city centre were able to join as many residents and guests of the city, on the night of 31 December to 1 January and in the midst of Christmas celebrations – from 6 to 7 January will be underground.

Christmas fair and Festival of fire

By tradition, the fair will be held in Pioneer square – it annually attracts a million visitors. For the second year in a row in the Passenger port of St. Petersburg “Marine facade” will run a special new year tourism fair, dedicated to seasonal holidays. In its program – “snow battle”, “ice slides “and “ice labyrinth” and “ice bar”. Here will be installed and the tallest ice slide in Europe, said in the City’s tourist information Bureau.

Visitors will see Santa Claus with the snow Maiden who will carry out exciting contests, and will be able to visit the deli area. At the exhibition dedicated to the cruise vacation, they will tell about new tourist routes.

At Christmas, 7 and 8 January, the city will host the first city fire Festival “Christmas star”. These days from 19:00 to 21:00 Petersburgers and city visitors will see colorful fireworks and laser light show, and also the original performances of the theater fire. On the building of the Exchange artists in real time will create a 3D projection. The festival grounds will be located near the spit of Vasilievsky island and along the waterfront.

Silent disco ice skating and other winter activities

For lovers of ice skating outdoors the winter season this year came a few weeks earlier calendar. From mid-November earned the largest artificial ice rink on the island of New Holland. Its running time is divided into sessions lasting 1 hour. Ice at the same time can reach 300 people. The rink will be available to visit daily till 18 Mar 2018.

This year every Friday and Saturday, one hour before midnight at the rink will host a special night session in the format of a silent disco, visitors will be able to ride and listen to music in wireless headphones thus keeping the “law of silence”.

The city operates more than two dozen indoor rinks, about half of them are open at night. Under appropriate weather conditions work about a dozen outdoor ice rinks. This year the beginning of December was relatively warm, so some ice rinks, as, for example, on Elagin island appears only after the onset of sustained cold weather.

Museums – year-round hit

“Each year, art lovers, becomes 25-30% more”, – told in City tourist-information Bureau. According to the Committee on tourism development, all the city has 195 museums, as well as 113 exhibition halls and galleries. The majority of them in the new year holidays are working except 1 and 7 January.

“The first of January people do not go to the Museum”, – said General Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky, responding to a question about whether it is possible to make the first day of the year working in the Museum.

But in other winter holidays to the museums of St. Petersburg are lining up in long queues. To brighten up the waiting time on the street, in the courtyard of the Hermitage plan for free to serve tea to the visitors, standing for admission, said Piotrovsky.

Many St. Petersburg museums are preparing for winter holidays and special programs for children and their parents. It is not only exhibitions, but also various workshops, games, quizzes, quests, lectures, interactive performances.