Work has begun on the incredible ice and snow sculptures that draw in throngs of visitors each year to the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China.
The annual festival, held in Harbin, in the north-eastern Heilongjiang province of China, is filled with intricately detailed ice and snow sculptures that are lit up with brightly coloured lasers and lanterns at night. There are different parts of the festival, the Harbin Ice lantern Art Fair, Harbin Ice and Snow World, and the Harbin Ice Festival, held in a variety of areas including Zhāolín Park and Sun Island Park. The Ice and Snow World officially opens on 20 December, and the Harbin Ice Festival opens on 5 January.
The festival is the city’s main tourist attraction, drawing in visitors from all around China and the world to experience the best of winter through the beauty of the ice and snow creations. While the temperatures are freezing – it can be as low as -35 C – the chilly weather means the festival stretches on until mid-February.
Thousands of sculptures are made, complete with recreations of famous attractions around the world, and many of them in record-breaking size.
Artists are currently working on the 103-metre-long, 31-metre-tall snow sculpture ‘Long Song’ which will welcome tourists this year’s event.