Where: Harbin, Heilongjiang, China.
When: 5th January-5th February
The 34th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opens with a theme “Ice Snow Blooming Garden, Fantastic World” on January 5 in 2018.
What is snow and ice sculpture festival about: Harbin Ice and Snow festival is an Annual winter festival that takes place with a theme in Harbin, and now the largest ice and snow festival in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world. Officially, the festival starts on January and last one month. Harbin is located in Northeast China and receives cold winter wind from Siberia. The average temperature in summer is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F), and –16.8 °C (1.8 °F) in winter.
While art sculptures are erected throughout the city, the best collection of ice artworks are mainly exhibited in following area:
- Sun Island Scenic Area: It can be visited only during daytime. It is the site of the Snow Sculpture Exposition displaying a wonderful snow world. It has the world’s largest indoor ice and snow art museum.
- Ice and Snow World: It displays ice sculptures of huge scale such as palace, buildings, towers etc. It is best visited when they are colorfully lit at night. The inspiration for the ice and snow sculptures there usually is derived from traditional Chinese fairy tales or world-famous architectures such as the Great Wall, the Egyptian Pyramids, etc.
- Zhaolin Park (Ice Lantern Garden Party): It is a must see during the Ice and Snow Festival because it has a traditional program that shows the most excellent ice lanterns. With water, lights and the natural ice from the Songhua River running through this city as the material, the ice lanterns are made by freezing water, piling up ice or snow, then carving, enchasing, decorating, etc. The Ice Lantern Garden Party has been held here annually since 1963. There are numerous pieces of ice artworks in the park such as buildings, gardens, flowers, waterfalls, European-styled churches, lions, tigers, dragons are carved from ice. It is mostly an ice world focused on kids. There are interesting activities that kids may enjoy such as ice slides.
- Yabuli International Ski Resort: It is the largest ski resort in china. The resort provides great skiing with high mountains and good snow. The resort is the biggest training center for alpine skiers and the mountain hosts of many professional skiing competitions. Besides skiing, visitors can also take advantage of the other entertainment facilities at the Resort, such as the mini golf course, tennis court, turf courts, hot-air balloons, para-gliders etc.
History: The festival originated in Harbin’s traditional ice lantern show and garden party that takes place in winter, which started in 1963. It was interrupted for a number of years during cultural revolution, but has since been resumed when an annual event at Zhaolin Park was announced on January 5, 1985. In 2001, it merged with Heilongjiang’s International Ski Festival and got a formal name, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. At first the participants were mainly Chinese; however, it has since become an international festival and competition. The festival includes the world’s biggest ice sculptures.