Welcome to the largest ice and snow festival in the world at Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China. Established in 1985, the festival has originated from local Harbiner traditional ice lantern show garden party in winter. The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is renowned all the world over for its exquisite and artistic ice and snow sculptures. The 30th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will be held from January 5, 2014 and last for over one month.
The ice blocks for the festival are retrieved from the humongous blocks of ice pulled from the local Songhua River. Swing saws, chisels and ice picks are used to carve ice into blocks which then used by ice sculptors to carve out their respective intricately designed and unique sculptures. Subjects range from historical figures to fairy tale creatures and animals. Famous structures which have been past favorites have included the Potala Palace, Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall.
Highlights Of The Festival
• Drink in the ice bars on the street or in the Ice and Snow World.
• Watch fishing, swimming and diving performance on the frozen Songhua River.
• Ice Lantern Show at night is fantastic.
• For a glimpse of different countries’ cultures, visit Snow Sculpture Art Expo on Sun Island which showcases all kinds of snow sculptures by artists from all over the world.
• Ice and Snow World is a wonderland night or day, with numerous ice sculptures and its interesting winter activities are suitable for all visitors.
Harbin is the capital city of Heilongjiang Province. Under the direct influence of the cold winter wind from Siberia, annual low temperatures below -35C are not uncommon. However, the average temperature in summer is 21.2 degrees Celsius, -16.8 degrees Celsius in winter. The city’s location in northeast China accounts for its arctic climate which provides abundant natural ice and snow. And since its the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, travel enthusiasts recommend that you should pack all the winter woolens which you possibly have in your wardrobe.
As far as accessing Harbin is concerned, the town has an airport of its own, connecting to major countries via air. Just that the airport is situated at some distance from the main town. Tourists also have the option of landing at Beijing and then taking a train or bus to Harbin. So there are a lot of options, as far as accessing Harbin is concerned.
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is spread all over the town, but to witness the most spectacular of creations, the following places are a must visit:
1) Sun Island Park: A pure white wonderland, it is also home to the world’s largest indoor ice and snow art museum, Harbin Ice and Snow Art Palace. The Harbin International Snow Sculpture Expo is also held here, showcasing snow sculptures from all over the world.
2) Harbin Ice and Snow World: Best enjoyed at night, explore some of the greatest ice carvings here on a horse-drawn carriage. However, the ice is also very slippery here so stay cautious.
3) Zhaolin Park: Home to more than 1,500 ice sculptures embedded with lights, Zhaolin Park is a delight, best enjoyed at night.
If you love exploring cold and chilly regions, Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is certainly meant for you. And for the ones allergic to cold, certainly beware!