Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

Harbin, also known as a City of Ice, is one of the coldest cities in China and is home to one of world's four biggest ice-carving festivals, along with the famous ones in Sapporo, Norway and Quebec.  The annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival attracts millions of local people and visitors from all over the world every year; its massive buildings built of ice from the frozen surface of the nearby Songhua River, large scale snow sculptures, ice slides, festival food and drinks which can be found in several parks in the city guarantee an unforgettable winter holiday. At night, colored lights illuminate the snow sculptures from both inside and outside, making them look very beautiful in the dark; visitors will not regret they left their warm hotel rooms. Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival provides the visitors each year a whole new world of ice and snow.
Harbin is one of the sources of ice and snow culture in the world. Geographically, it is located under the influence of the cold winter winds from Siberia. The average temperature in winter is -16.8 degrees Celsius, it can be as cold as - 38.1 degrees Celsius. Despite those bone-chilling conditions, the festival – which is even more spectacular at night, when its ice sculptures are lit with twinkling multicolored lights – have been known to inspire romance.

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On January 5, 1985, the first Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival was unveiled. Since then it has become an annual event from January 5 to February 5, which is highly acclaimed around the world. At first, mainly Chinese participated, but in the last few years, it has become an international festival and competition. It is a competitive event, with teams coming from all over the world-the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, South Africa, France etc. The size and beauty of the snow sculpture and ice architecture exhibits is amazing and keeps growing every year. Visitors will see world record-sized snow sculptures longer than two football fields, statues about 50 meters tall, monuments and some ice buildings, palaces complete with tunnels, stairways, bridges and even slides carved in incredible detail. They are all made entirely out of ice and visitors can walk and slide around in and on. These displays are technologically sophisticated, using computer controlled LED and regular lighting to put on stunning displays of changing color and design.
There is something to do for every visitor. No one will bother with so many winter activities available such as ice lantern show, snow sculpture display, and international ice and snow sculpture competitions; winter swimming, ice hockey, speed-skating, alpine skiing, and cross-country skiing competitions; and ice and snow film festival exhibitions of paintings, calligraphy and photograph, folklore shows, ethnic song and dance parties, weddings on an ice-covered river. A participation at the Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival can be compared to a visit to a fairyland of crystal palace.
Places where travelers can see ice sculptures and lanterns and other winter activities are the Grand World of Ice and Snow for a great variety of snow activities, Sun Island Park where ice sculptures are displayed, and Zhaolin Park for ice lanterns show. Read Mia's Harbin travel story with photos.
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