Lonely Planet Writer

Snowtacular: annual Harbin illuminated ice sculptures go on show

The annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival has opened in Heilongjiang province in the far northeast of China.

Harbin Ice Festival © Anita Isalska / Lonely Planet
Harbin Ice Festival © Anita Isalska / Lonely Planet

One of the highlights on China’s annual calendar, the festival features numerous giant ice sculptures in various locations all over the city. Among the more famous and beloved sculptures are those that depict famous world landmarks, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge. The sculptures are noted for being particularly beautiful in the evening, when they are lit up in various colours that glint off the ice and snow. In conjunction with the festival, a number of other winter events are held, including ice skating and sailing, skiing, winter exhibitions and film screenings and local folk performances. The festival has been held since 1985 and runs from 5 January to the end of February each year.