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!
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.
Even the castles and buildings are made of ice. They are huge, with walls, stairwells, arches and ramparts to explore.
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.
A brightly-lit beautiful sculpture stands in an icy gallery.
Many of the sculptures are entered as part of an ice sculpting competition.
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A giant metal fish houses a small photography exhibition. From a distance it looks as though it is swimming through a lake of snow.
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.
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.
The buildings are so beautiful when the sky begins to darken and the lights start to turn on.
Snow bikes wait for the crowds to arrive in front of a stately building.
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.
A tiger roars and stands on its hind legs in its delicate cage.
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.
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.
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.
Winter-themed metal sculptures combined with the surrounding ice and snow give the festival a real winter wonderland atmosphere.
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.
- Visit the Harbin Ice Festival
The Harbin Snow and Ice Festival is magnificent, with delicate sculptures, lanterns, and huge castles all skillfully sculpted from giant blocks of ice. Read on for more about Harbin in winter.