Harbin Ice Festival provides the visitors each year a whole new world of ice and snow. Established in 1985, the festival is held annually from January 5 and lasts for over one month. Harbin is the capital city of Heilongjiang Province and this is China's original and greatest ice artwork festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world.
Ice and Snow World features illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of 2–3 feet thick crystal clear ice directly taken from the Songhua River. For people who love ice art, ice lantern may be one of the things they love the most. Nowadays, ice lantern in broad sense refers to a series of plastic arts using ice and snow as raw material combining ice artworks with colored lights and splendid music. The specific patterns of ice lantern include ice and snow sculptures, ice flowers, ice architectures and so on. There are ice lantern park touring activities held in many parks in the city.
Winter activities in the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing, winter-swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden. Some ice sculptures made in previous years include: buildings and monuments of different architectural types and styles, figures including animals people and mythical creatures, slippery dips or ice slides and lanterns. Apart from winter recreational activities available in Harbin, these exquisitely detailed, mass-produced ice sculptures are the main draw card in attracting tourists around the world to the festival.
You’d better figure out the best places to go if you want to appreciate ice art in Heilongjiang Ice Festival. The best collections of ice artworks were exhibited in five main places: Ice and Snow World, Ice Lantern Garden Party, Sun Island Scenic Area, Yabuli International Ski Resort and Zhaolin Park. Of which Zhaolin Park is a 'must see' during the Ice Festival because it has a traditional program that shows the most excellent ice lanterns. With water, lights and the natural ice from the Songhua River running through this city as the material, the ice lanterns are made by freezing water, piling up ice or snow, then carving, enchasing, decorating, etc. The ice lantern park touring activities have been held here annually since 1963 and is said to be one of the most wonderful 35 tourist attractions in China.
There are numerous pieces of ice artworks in the park arranged in groups according to different themes depicting Chinese classic masterworks, European folktales and customs and so on. A great variety of objects such as buildings, gardens, flowers, waterfalls, European-styled churches, lions, tigers, dragons are carved from ice. In the daytime, the ice sculptures are magnificent and verisimilitude. Moreover, with the interspersion of the sparkling colored lights embedded in the sculptures at night, the park becomes a glorious and amazing ice world.
The Ice Festival is not only an exposition of ice and snow art, but also an annual cultural event for international exchange as well as a good activity to bring people together. Call your friends and enjoy the icy world.