The incredible SAND sculptures
Dedicated sand-artists are at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset this week recreating the world's best known-landmarks and faces on the famous beach.
Twelve experts in the medium are turning 360 tonnes of sand into iconic images from seven continents - including the Empire State Building complete with King Kong.
The lion sleeps tonight: The sand sculptures will be on show at the beach until August 31
Sand magic: A herd of African elephants are among the giant sculptures transforming the seaside resort today
The artists have until Saturday to finish their masterpieces in time for the opening of the Sand Sculpture Festival 2008.
Last year's event attracted 30,000 visitors and the organisers are expecting more this year.
Marketing manager Luci Hortop said: "The theme is 'Around the World'. For example there's Antarctica, featuring Scott of the Antarctic, and his team along with an ice-berg. Africa has a mud pool, elephants bathing and a lion stretching out in the sunshine.
Famous landmarks recreated: A sand-artist works the Big Ben sculptures before the opening of a sand sculpture festival in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
"In Australasia there's Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) and in Europe there's an eight-foot replica of Big Ben, built by the Italian artist Leonardo Ugolini."
Versions of Antoni Gaudi's cathedral in Barcelona and Venice's Rialto Bridge are also being created.
A 12-foot Empire State Building, straddled by King Kong, is under construction in the North America section, built by US sculptors Thomas Koet and Jill Smith.
There is no danger of the sandy masterpieces being ruined by Britain's unpredictable weather, as the works are sealed in with a strong lacquer.
Ms Hortop said: "They are protected by a protein-based solution almost like hairspray and can't be affected by the rain."
A 100 by 40-metre area of beach has been taken over by the event, which has a section reserved for children's sculptures.
South America and Asia are the other continents represented.
The sand sculptures will be on show at the beach until August 31.
Councillor Elfan Ap Rees of North Somerset Council said: "We are very lucky to be hosting this event yet again, which is a reflection of the superb sandcastle-building qualities of Weston beach of course.
"I certainly look forward to seeing the results once the build is completed and the designs unveiled."
Hard at work: Jill Smith from Florida, USA, working on her sand-sculpture of a Canadian ice hockey player