If you’re a fan of Winter Wonderlands and snow-covered scenes, then you will love the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. As the name suggests, it is an annual ice sculpting competition and festival, taking place in Heilongjiang Province in northern China. In its beginning, this winter carnival featured almost solely Chinese sculptors, but over the years it got more and more recognition, and it is now considered one of the world’s top winter festivals. Naturally, in recent years, artists from all around the world have taken part.
These 15 beautiful images will let you enjoy some of the winter magic.
The event was first celebrated in 1985. It drew inspiration from Heilongjiang’s traditional lanterns, which were carved out of ice and illuminated by candles.
Nowadays, a visit to Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will feel like entering an entire frozen city, and there are plenty of activities – skiing, ice skating, ice soccer and for the very brave; swimming in the ice-cold Songhua river.
The 2020 Festival was kicked off with a snow-theme mass wedding. 43 couples had the happiest day of their lives exactly at the same freezing time and day.
The 2020 Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival required a 600,000-square-meters area to house all the sculptures, the tallest one being 150 feet tall (45 meters). 170,000 cubic meters of ice was harvested from the Songhua River by more than 100 workers, in order to build the icy world.
This year’s festival coincides with Harbin’s first skiing marathon. This investment in winter festivities is a part of China’s efforts to boost winter tourism for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
About 224 million people visited the festival and other ice attractions around China during the 2018-2019 season. This number is expected to grow up to 340 million by 2022.
The city of Harbin receives cold winter winds from Siberia. During summer the average temperature is 21 °C (70.2 °F), and –16.8 °C (1.8 °F) in winter. On the coldest days, temperatures can reach -35 °C (-31 °F)!