China’s Magical City of Ice

Ice sculptures are common in wedding parties and other occasions, but nothing you’ve seen before can compare to the ones displayed every year in the city of Harbin in China. While the place is cursed with terrible winters, the tough locals have managed to make the most of it.

A typical winter in Harbin, northern China, would see temperatures go as low as 2°F (that’s –19°C). Strong, cold winds blow in from Siberia, making almost everything freeze over. But the residents of the city keep themselves busy for several weeks during the winter season, hosting the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. The sculptures made as a part of this festival aren’t anything like your typical faries and unicorns. Artists and engineers get together to build massive structures out of ice – a small town if you will, consisting of churches, pyramids, pagodas and palaces. The structures are filled with modern amenities like elevators and escalators. Multicolored lights are installed inside the sculptures, making them look very beautiful in the dark, after sunset.

Photo © triplefivedrew

The Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival has been held every year since it started in 1985, and is now considered one of the largest displays of ice structures in the world. Several tourists take a winter holiday to Harbin to witness the beauty of the delightful paradise of ice and snow. Sculptures ranging in size from the tiniest to the largest can be seen at the event, including models of famous streets, buildings and people in the world. Aimed primarily at enhancing tourism, the festival includes other winter activities like ice hockey, skating, skiing, and ice sailing. Performances are held on ice too, of folk songs and dances and sometimes even wedding ceremonies.

Photo © triplefivedrew

One could say the Harbin Ice Festival is a classic example of humans making the most of their harsh environment. The 2012 edition started on January 5 and will last until the end of February. Organizers expect over one million tourists.

Photo © triplefivedrew

Photo © niqodemus

Photo © niqodemus

Photo © niqodemus

Photo © niqodemus

Photo © niqodemus

Photo © niqodemus


   

Feedback (4 Comments)

  • Michael Posted on January 9, 2012

    Seriously, we get really cold days in winter like that in certain parts of Canada, sometimes even in other parts of Canada that aren’t that far north!

  • Hari Posted on January 27, 2012

    This website is great! Every section I go to has something new and interesting. Do you guys have any interest in fascinating stories about American travel?
    I have the fortune to be working on an amazing documentary project called American Bear. The two students who made the project went around the country for 60 days relying on the kindness of strangers for shelter each night and documented their experience. The insight that they shed on the subject of kindness towards strangers in this country is so powerful! Check out the website here: AmericanBearFilm.com