Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Event: Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Date: January 5, 2014 to February 28, 2014
Venue: Multiple venues in Harbin
Lashed by Siberian winds as it’s situated on China’s northeastern frontier near Russia where the mercury can plunge to the suicidal depths of by -30C, Harbin has been dubbed the “Ice City.”
Fittingly enough, the city’s biggest tourism draw is the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, which is renowned for its snow sculptures in the form of palatial citadels and mythical figures. When illuminated at night they cast a spell over the spectators. Each year is freeze-framed by a different theme.
One of the top four winter festivals on earth, every year it attracts hundreds of professional sculptors and craftsmen from about 30 countries, such as Canada, France, Finland and Japan.
During the winter, many parts of Harbin turn into an alfresco gallery of ice sculptures: in parks, on streets and outside municipal buildings. After dark, the Sun Island Great Ice and Snow World Park is the best place to take in the fantastically detailed ice sculptures glinting under the moonlight. Each ice block weighs an average of 100 to 200 kilograms. To carry them requires seven or eight strong men.
There are plenty of sideshows every year for visitors who would like to chill out in Harbin for a while longer. Though no official dates have been announced, a troupe of acrobats on ice from North Korea will be performing multiple shows this year.
But for winter activities in Harbin the festival is only the tip of the iceberg. You can also go skiing, skating, dogsledding or take a chilly dip in the Songhua River.