The ice is right! Spectacular sculptures illuminate the night sky in China for the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
There are many reasons to dislike the winter weather – freezing temperatures, predictable miserable weather, and dark nights all contribute to moody faces around the world.
But there are still reasons to smile, as evidenced by this beautiful theme park in Northeast China, made entirely of ice and snow.
The 28th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which opened Christmas Day, features work from some of the best ice sculptors in the country and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Good day! A horse and cart navigates through the snow-covered streets of the impressive city of Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Sky high: some images of the event tower about visitors – reaching up to 50 meters high
In these stunning photos, the amazing sculptures of the festival are illuminated from the inside after night falls – with visitors meandering between the impressive works.
Those attending the event can navigate through the ice cities in the festival on foot or by horse and carriage. In addition to walking around and wondering about the colorful creations, they can also zip snow-covered slides down or climb the stairs of ice castles and explore what's inside.
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is one of & # 39; the world's best ice festivals.
Ice cream to see you, to see your ice cream! The scultpures are illuminated from the inside with complex, computer-controlled LED systems
Note the step: visitors can traverse stairs that have been carved into the numerous creations
It now stands shoulder to shoulder with famous ice-based events, such as the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan and Quebec & # 39; s Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Québec) in Canada.
Harbin is known as Ice City because the winters there are bitterly cold (the temperature can drop to -30 ° C), but the conditions are perfect for the ice festival that originates in the ice lanterns sculpted by local fishermen.
The very first festival is said to have been held in 1963 in Zhaolin Park in the old town of Harbin.
What goes up must come down: an ice lover slips off one of the slides during the event
Fast growth: the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival has grown in size in recent years thanks to the growing economy in China
It was temporarily interrupted during the Cultural Revolution and then started again – finally, in 1999, the city council started the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.
In the beginning his clientele was mainly Chinese, but in the last few years it has become an international festival and a competition that attracts 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 size of snow sculptures and ice architecture.
Colorful ice cream creations: spectacular views of the Harbin snow and ice festival in China
Last year tens of thousands of people worked on the displays, including world records of snow sculptures – some longer than two football pitches, while others measure up to 50 meters high (160ft high).
They all use technologically advanced equipment with computer-controlled LED and normal lighting, creating the stunning color screens in all of these photos.
Of course, with such rapid growth, this year's event is touted as one of the biggest so far.
How did they do that? This impressive skyline is made of ice blocks of up to three feet wide
Winter fun: in addition to sculptures, the festival also offers a range of trips on ice
Smooth slope: visitors are overshadowed by the gigantic ice architecture
Spread over three zones, the theme park offers a series of snow rides, icebergs and reproductions of some of the most iconic buildings in the world – all carved from giant blocks of ice and snow.
The city, located near the border with Russia, experiences dry but ice-cold winters and has an abundance of ice from the nearby Songhau river.
Winter activities at the festival include Yabuli Alpine Skiing, winter swimming and the ice-lantern exhibition at Zhaolin Garden.
Take the scenic route: rows of ice pagodas lie along one of the park's central roads
Cool reception: artisans have reproduced some of & # 39; the world's most recognizable buildings
Grand entrance: this gigantic ice arch is an impressive entrance to the city
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