Step Inside Winter’s Most Spectacular Wonderland at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Northeast China.

Glowing ice sculptures span eight million square feet of Harbin, a city in China's northeastern Heilongjiang province. (VCG / Getty Images)
Every winter, millions of tourists flock to Harbin a city in the northeast corner of China o stand in temperatures nearing -40 degrees Fahrenheit and look at giant blocks of ice. Of. Donning fur coats and parkas over their dresses and suits, the couples pose for pictures after exchanging rings, then collectively cut a massive frozen wedding cake.
The real attractions are the festival's frosty artistic productions. The snow carving competition is held in Harbin’s Sun Island, where teams from around the world sculpt highly detailed creations out of hardpacked snow. On top of the ice pulled from the river, four million cubic feet of snow are carefully carved with saws, shovels, augers and sandpaper to create super-sized human faces, animals, palaces and an army of giant snowmen. When the sun goes down, Harbin begins to shine in earnest. The Ice and Snow World looks like a shining city of glass, but it’s all constructed out of bricks of frozen water. Rome may not have been built in a day, but the Harbin version of its Colosseum nearly was. Through the efforts of over 7,000 workers, the 64,000-square-foot city is constructed in roughly two weeks. Described as an “icy Disneyland,” the attraction is filled with frozen architectural feats, resplendent with castles, replicas of iconic buildings and even a few giant ice slides for visitors to enjoy. This year, more than 10 million visitors are expected to attend the festival, which runs through February 5. course, it helps when those ice blocks are skillfully arranged to create a replica of the Colosseum, lit from the inside by multi-coloured incandescent lights to glow under the inky winter sky. January 5 marked the beginning of the two-month-long 35th annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, the largest snow and ice festival in the world. Spanning eight million square feet of the city, the multi-million dollar production features massive snow and ice sculptures that draw visitors from across the globe. Though the official modern-day festival began in 1985, an organized ice show began in 1963, and the event can trace its frigid artistry back to the early Qing dynasty when peasants and fishermen placed candles inside blocks of ice cut from the Songhua River to create makeshift lanterns. Nearly 400 years later, the Songhua still serves as the lifeblood of the festival. Thousands of workers spend days leading up to the festival cutting blocks of ice, two to three feet thick, to provide the nearly four million cubic feet of frozen building material needed to build the Ice and Snow World. In a pool next to the Songhua, a polar plunge is held every day. Polar swimming is popular in China’s northeast and is said to improve circulation and mental acuity. This plunge is only for the bravest or most masochistic health nuts, as the air temperatures rarely break sub-zero. For those looking for a unique place to tie the knot, the festival has a mass wedding every year with dozens of couples attending. Though many of the lovebirds are from Harbin, the ceremony draws couples from around the world, many of whom use the standout experience of getting hitched in freezing temperatures as a second ceremony.
Harbin Ice Festival-1074742542China kicked off its annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival on January 5. The month-long spectacle set in Heilongjiang Province in northern China is one of the world's largest ice festival, featuring frozen castles, snow sculptures and other spectacular installations and activities. (Image: Reuters)Despite being one of the coldest city in the East Asian country, with the average temperature in January dropping to -12-degree Celsius, more than 10 million people flock to Harbin each year to witness the grandeur, which officially runs from January 5 to February 5. (Image: AP)While there is plenty to enjoy in the teeth-chattering cold, the most popular attraction is the Harbin Ice and Snow World, constructed with ice blocks pulled from the nearby Songhua River. (Image: Reuters)Apart from the gigantic illuminated ice castles, the festival also boasts of an exquisite snow Buddha statue a 3D light show and the 340-meter-long Northern Lights-themed ice slides. (Image: AP)The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival will also feature a competition where sculptors from 12 different countries will present their opus. (Image: AP)The annual festival was first celebrated in 1985, inspired by Heilongjiang's traditional lanterns, which were carved out of ice and illuminated by candles. (Image: AP)Harbin ice coliseumIt is now considered one of the biggest winter festivals around the world, joining the ranks of the Quebec Winter Carnival in Canada, Norway's Holmenkollen Ski Festival and Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival. (Image: AP)Snow Castles, Harbin International Ice and Snow FestivalImage result for world largest ice festival 2019Image result for world largest ice festival 2019Related imageRelated imageRelated imageRelated imageRelated imageImage result for world largest ice festival 2019Related imageAerial view of the whole festival at night.Firework display on the opening day.Aerial photo of an ice snowflake.Women eating in the ice hotpot restaurant.Couple taking part in the wedding ceremony.Ice post office.Image result for world largest ice festival 2019A child rides a slide of an ice sculpture of the Ice and Snow World during the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, China, on 4 January 2019People visit ice sculptures illuminated by coloured lights at the Ice and Snow World in Harbin on 4 January 2019People visit ice sculptures illuminated by coloured lights at the Ice and Snow World during the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival on 4 January 2019Image result for world largest ice festival 2019Related image