Fireworks light up the sky during the opening ceremony of the International Ice and Snow festival held in Harbin, north-east China. Each of the buildings you can see in the distance is made of ice.
While the U.S. shivers while in the grip of a ‘polar vortex’ which has seen temperatures plummet to -26C, in China they are celebrating the winter temperatures with a spectacular ice sculpture festival.
The 30th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival has now opened its doors to tourists to come and gaze at the colourful creations made entirely from blocks of ice.
The annual festival, in north-eastern China, displays the incredibly detailed structures, which took some 10,000 workers, and about 330,000 cubic metres of snow and ice to build. This year’s festivities feature the theme ‘Global Ice and Snow Dream, World Cartoon Tour’.
It may be ice-cold but this frozen face is giving visitors a warm welcome at a snow sculpture show in China.
More than 10,000 people built the ice and snow structures in just 15 days. They’re pretty impressive during the day, but when darkness falls the ice sculptures are illuminated in bright colours.
Visitors can walk through glowing ice streets and even slip down a 240-metre-long ice slide.
Harbin is famed as China’s coolest ice city for annual Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival on January 5. This three-month festival has a variety of opening ceremony, fireworks display, ice snow sculpture expo & competition, ice lantern show, skiing, swimming, sledding, winter carnival activities for visitors to spend Christmas, Chinese Spring Festival and more.
As the birthplace of China’s ice and snow sculpture art and the first of its kind in China, Harbin Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo is an important part of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival as well as one of the hottest attractions of Harbin tour. Charactered by a long exhibition period (60-70 days), high quality, new content, large scale and a lot of entertainment, the expo is also known as “The world’s largest ice and snow carnival”.
In winter, the whole sun island is decorated by snow which makes it a fantastic white world. Harbin is the cradle for China’s ice and snow art for which sun island is the birth-land. Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo is the earliest developed and the largest snow theme park in China. The Expo impresses visitors from the world with its large scale, fantastic ice and snow sculptures and various of snow activities. With a history of 19 years, Harbin Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo has received over 2.3 million visitors, and has been one of the hottest and must see attractions in Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.
Some of the creations are based on buildings from around the world – from spectacular city skyscrapers to elegant temples.
The ice festival usually lasts for more than a month – but that depends on the weather! In a few weeks the sculptures will melt and the ice city will disappear until next year.
Visitors are silhouetted against lighted ice sculptures at the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in the northern city of Harbin, China.
Ice structures form a glowing skyline, colorful ice buildings have an otherworldly feel.
Winter Wonderland: Thousands flock to see Chinese city made entirely from ice and snow.
A couple shares an embrace in front of an ice sculpture at the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in the northern city of Harbin, China, January 5, 2014.
Visitors gather at the Ice and Snow World after the official opening of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province on January 5, 2014. Thousands of visitors braved temperatures of -27 degrees Celsius (-17 degrees Fahrenheit) to visit the Ice and Snow World, which features the theme “Global Ice and Snow Dream, World Cartoon Tour”.
Photos. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters, Getty Images