Heavy snow brings endless possibilities for creative construction

Snow castles.
Snow castles. Source: ERR

While the heavy snow in Estonia caused a lot of problems for many, for others, it also brought moments of happiness and creativity. All over Estonia, people used the snow to build huts, castles and whatever else they could imagine, without the need for construction permits.

Children, of course, are usually the ones, who most excited about snow. Marta, Mihkel and Maru were bored at home while recovering from the coronavirus, when their mother told them to go play outside. So, what did they decide to do? Build three giant snow huts, of course, which, among other things, come equipped with designated sleeping areas in case they get tired.

"We got sick, then my brother started building these huts. I went and helped him to build them and then my other brother joined in," said Marta.

Three days, three happy children. Their illness was over and the three snow huts had also been completed

However, after Snowstorm Birgit struck early last week, even Marta and Maru thought there was a little too much snow and that their construction work was starting to require a bit more effort. Nevertheless, the youngsters believe that it is definitely worth it to spend the time outdoors. "It only comes once a year, so let's enjoy the snow," said Marta.

The children now have plans to repeat the experience in the summer by building sand castles on the beach.

In one of Tallinn's central neighborhoods, residents are delighted with a wall of snow, which stands several meters high. At one end of the wall is a sculpture of a large, fluffy cat's tail, a nod to the local area, while the other end is still yet to be completed.

The work's main creator is Jaanus Vainu and his brother Indrek certainly approves.

"Who can forbid a big man from playing with the snow when he wants to, and especially when he does it beautifully? And even if it wasn't beautiful, what does it matter? After all, the snow melts away in the spring, it's a temporary construction. No building permit is required," said Indrek Vainu.

Most of the work on the sculptures is done at night. According to Indrek Vainu, when his brother has the artistic urge, he will shape the snow into whatever comes to mind. So, this isn't the first winter when he's seen this kind of appearing on the street. Both believe, that creating these sculptures in the snow, which can sometimes take several days, also has a positive effect on their health.

"It's good for your health. Make sure you wrap up, so you don't catch a cold. But, at the same time, you get warm afterwards. It's a good thing to do after computer work or office work or whatever you want to call it, so your body doesn't just die for a long time at the computer like it would otherwise," said Indrek Vainu.

There are, of course, endless possibilities when it comes to building things using snow. At Pirita beach for instance, you can even find a snow castle. It was made by Aleksei Vaštšenko, who works as a programmer. Vaštšenko has been building castles for 28 years now, but mostly out of sand.

"I just like it, that's the main reason. Well, plus there's always the desire to make people happy," said Vaštšenko.

He also draws inspiration from real architectural buildings, but the sculptures are unique. "Most of the time I just make them up. Sometimes I use a prototype, but I wouldn't say they are very similar to it. I've been building castles like this for a few years, and the designs used to be simpler, but I've had this hobby since my childhood," said Vaštšenko.

If you want to see one of these snow castles with your own eyes, now is the time to do it. With temperatures set to increase, by Tuesday they may have melted away.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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