Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival: A Photo Gallery

Updated on March 15, 2018
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I moved to China in March 2016 to work as an ESL teacher in a private school. I love to travel to new and exciting places.

The Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival is a wintry celebration held every year in Harbin, China. The festival is held in sub-zero temperatures and displays a range of ice and snow sculptures crafted by university students and professional artists. If you are visiting China during the winter months, I highly recommend considering a trip to Heilongjiang province to see one of the best winter events China has to offer.

I've been lucky enough to visit the festival more than once. Each time I was a little trigger-happy with my camera and loved taking photos of the artwork. I would love to share some of the photos I've taken in this article. I hope you enjoy them!

So many bright and beautiful colors.
So many bright and beautiful colors. | Source

The sculptures and buildings are lit in so many different colors at night. They look really spectacular when the sun goes down and the lights turn on.

Arriving in the early afternoon means you can watch the sun set over a winter wonderland and see lights of every color turn on during the twilight, changing the atmosphere of the whole festival.

A walk up the stairs at the back of the site gives great views over the entire festival in all its splendor and is a great place to take in the breathtaking size and beauty of the castles.

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Even the castles and buildings are made of ice. They are huge, with walls, stairwells, arches and ramparts to explore.

Frozen bubble shapes create a beautiful solar system.
Frozen bubble shapes create a beautiful solar system. | Source

Not only are there huge ice castles, but smaller, more intricate sculptures. These more delicate sculptures are dotted all over the festival. The detail on some of them is incredible and means that as you explore the festival site, you never know what you are going to discover. From abstract, artistic sculptures to miniature animals and cartoon-like figures.

This was one of my favorite sculptures.
This was one of my favorite sculptures. | Source

A brightly-lit beautiful sculpture stands in an icy gallery.

A pack of wolves hunt a stag.
A pack of wolves hunt a stag. | Source

Many of the sculptures are entered as part of an ice sculpting competition.

A giant metal fish serves as an exhibition space.
A giant metal fish serves as an exhibition space. | Source

A giant metal fish houses a small photography exhibition. From a distance it looks as though it is swimming through a lake of snow.

Reindeer and a sunset.
Reindeer and a sunset. | Source

There are lots of animals at the festival. Some pull sleds, such as horses, reindeer and huskys and others are native animals of icy terrain, such as arctic foxes, wolves and penguins.

As the light begins to fall.
As the light begins to fall. | Source

Twilight is my favorite time at the festival. The crowds are less intense and you get to see the sculptures in high detail in the daylight and watch them transform into something magical as the sun sets.

A blue sculpture, photographed as evening sets in.
A blue sculpture, photographed as evening sets in. | Source

The buildings are so beautiful when the sky begins to darken and the lights start to turn on.

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Snow bikes wait for the crowds to arrive in front of a stately building.

A crystal clear sky over an icy mini maze.
A crystal clear sky over an icy mini maze. | Source

Mini attractions like this maze are very popular as the crowds begin to arrive. The larger attractions sometimes have queues with long wait-times during peak visiting hours.

Just after a light dusting of snow.
Just after a light dusting of snow. | Source

A tiger roars and stands on its hind legs in its delicate cage.

A sculpture covered with fresh show shows a scenic landscape.
A sculpture covered with fresh show shows a scenic landscape. | Source

It was snowing the second time I visited the festival, which meant that the weather was significantly warmer and the sculptures were covered with a beautiful, fresh dusting of snow.

The sunset, photographed through a sculpture.
The sunset, photographed through a sculpture. | Source
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Large blocks of ice are taken from the SongHua river in the city center and transported to the festival to be used to create sculptures and buildings.

2017 was the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac.
2017 was the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac. | Source

Some of the sculptures are colorfully dyed to create striking designs against the generally white backdrop. This sculpture celebrates the Year of the Rooster of the Chinese zodiac.

A real winter wonderland.
A real winter wonderland. | Source

Winter-themed metal sculptures combined with the surrounding ice and snow give the festival a real winter wonderland atmosphere.

Looking out of an icy window.
Looking out of an icy window. | Source

I hope you enjoyed this photo gallery! For more information on the Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival and Harbin, the city in which it's held, please check out my other article.

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