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Incredible ice and snow sculptures!

Ice & Snow Festivals in Harbin, China


Established in 1985 as a simple festival, the Ice and Snow Festival has now transformed into one of the biggest winter attractions in China and the fourth largest ice and snow festival in the world, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway's Ski Festival. In the evenings, the sculptures are lit up and ice-lantern park touring activities are held in many parks throughout the city. A number of other winter events take place in the city at the same time as the festival: fireworks display, ice hockey competitions, winter swimming, skiing and speed skating events, football games on expansive snow grounds, poetry jamboree, and ice and snow cinematic festival. Each year for a month in early January to early February, the North Eastern Chinese city of Harbin hosts the spectacular Ice Festival. During this time, the city is full of impressive and artistic ice and snow sculptures, carvings, and buildings in parks and on frozen rivers. World famous monuments like grand cathedrals, pyramids, Potala Palace and the Great Wall are all carved out of ice, in spectacularly giant sizes!

Being the cradle of Jin and Qing Dynasties, Harbin is the largest of all the capitals in China and is located in northern Manchuria just across the border from Russian Siberia. The Harbin district is decorated with Chinese temple architecture and different western religion churches with peculiar design of Renaissance, Baroque and Byzantine. It is this scenery, which creates a feel of medieval Europe as you walk down the street. Furthermore, the International Ice and Snow Festival, Summer Concert and other international activities give Harbin a particular fascination for everyone.


Harbin is known as a Paradise of Ice and Snow and is famous for its dazzling outdoor winter artwork. The art of ice-and-snow sculpture made its debut in Harbin thirty years ago, thanks to the intelligence of artists and their efforts to add color to the lives of the local residents by taking advantage of the northern winter weather.


Thousands of exquisitely-made ice lanterns, ice carvings and snow sculptures grace the snow-covered parks, public squares and major streets, turning the city into a dreamlike world of pure whiteness and gleaming crystal. These ice and snow art works can be as small as a mouse or as big as a bus. The designs range from life-size human figures, animals and flowers to towering castles, delicate pagodas and many other ingenious creations. Ice sculptures, made from blocks of ice chain-sawed from the Songhua River, have represented such things as the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower and an onion-domed Russian church. These sculptures fill the city square and glow from the neon tubes of purple, pink, blue and green that shine from inside.


Photos: BBC World News - Asia/Pacific 2002-2003

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