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Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: Spectacular sculptures spring up in China

Have a good day!  A horse and carriage cruise through the snowy streets of the impressive Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

The ice cream is right! Spectacular sculptures light up the night sky in China for the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

There are plenty of reasons to dislike the winter weather – sub-zero temperatures, predictably miserable weather and dark nights all contribute to sullen faces around the world.

But there are also reasons to smile, as this magnificent theme park in northeastern China, created entirely from ice and snow, proves.

The 28th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which opened on Christmas Day, features works by some of the country’s top ice sculptors and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

Have a good day!  A horse and carriage cruise through the snowy streets of the impressive Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Have a good day! A horse and carriage cruise through the snowy streets of the impressive Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Sky high: some of the event's sculptures tower over visitors - reaching up to 50 meters in height

Sky high: some of the event’s sculptures tower over visitors – reaching up to 50 meters in height

In these stunning photographs, the festival’s stunning sculptures are illuminated from within after dark – with visitors strolling between the impressive works.

Those who attend the event can tour the Ice Towns on foot or via the festival’s horse and carriage rides. As well as wandering around and marveling at the colorful creations, they can also slide down snowy slides or climb the stairs of ice castles and investigate what’s inside.

The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is one of the best ice festivals in the world.

Ice to see you, ice to see you!  The sculptures are illuminated from within by complex computer-controlled LED systems

Ice to see you, ice to see you! The sculptures are illuminated from within by complex computer-controlled LED systems

Watch your step: visitors can navigate the stairs that have been carved into the many creations

Watch your step: visitors can navigate the stairs that have been carved into the many creations

It now rubs shoulders with famous ice events such as the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan and the Quebec Carnival in Canada.

Harbin is known as the Ice City because the winters here are extremely cold (temperature can drop to -30°C), but the conditions are perfect for the Ice Festival which originated from the ice lanterns which have been carved. by local fishermen.

The very first festival is said to have taken place at Zhaolin Park in Harbin’s Old Quarter in 1963.

What goes up must come down: an ice lover slides down one of the event's toboggans

What goes up must come down: an ice lover slides down one of the event’s toboggans

Rapid growth: The Harbin Snow and Ice Festival has gained momentum in recent years thanks to economic growth in China

Rapid growth: The Harbin Snow and Ice Festival has gained momentum in recent years thanks to economic growth in China

It was suspended for a while during the Cultural Revolution, then it restarted – finally, in 1999, the city government launched the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

At first, its clientele was mainly Chinese, but in recent years it has become an international festival and competition attracting people from all over the world.

The growth of the festival has been accompanied by the continued growth of the Chinese economy, which in turn has contributed to the scale of snow sculptures and ice architecture.

Colorful Ice Creations: The Spectacular Views of China's Harbin Snow and Ice Festival

Colorful Ice Creations: The Spectacular Views of China’s Harbin Snow and Ice Festival

Last year, tens of thousands of people worked on the exhibits, which include world record-sized snow sculptures – some longer than two football pitches, while others are up to 50 meters tall. high (160 feet high).

They all use technologically sophisticated equipment with computer-controlled LEDs and regular lighting creating the stunning color displays seen in all these photos.

Of course, with such rapid growth, this year’s event is considered one of the biggest to date.

How did they do this?  This impressive skyline was made of blocks of ice measuring up to three feet wide

How did they do this? This impressive skyline was made of blocks of ice measuring up to three feet wide

Winter Fun: In addition to the sculptures, the festival also features a range of ice rides

Winter Fun: In addition to the sculptures, the festival also features a range of ice rides

Slippery slope: visitors are dwarfed by giant ice architecture

Slippery slope: visitors are dwarfed by giant ice architecture

Spread over three areas, the theme park features a range of snowy rides, ice mountains and reproductions of some of the world’s most iconic buildings, all sculpted from giant blocks of ice and snow.

The city, located near the border with Russia, experiences dry but freezing winters and has an abundance of ice from the nearby Songhau River.

The festival’s winter activities include Yabuli downhill skiing, winter swimming, and the ice lantern display in Zhaolin Garden.

Take the scenic route: Rows of ice pagodas line one of the park's central roads

Take the scenic route: Rows of ice pagodas line one of the park’s central roads

Cool home: artisans have replicated some of the world's most recognizable buildings

Cool home: artisans have replicated some of the world’s most recognizable buildings

Grand Entrance: This giant ice arch is an impressive entrance to the city

Grand Entrance: This giant ice arch is an impressive entrance to the city

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