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This incredible Chinese ice sculpture festival will make you love the cold again

  • 08
  • 01
  • 2017

Few people name winter as their favourite season – sure, snow can be pretty, but the dark days and chilly nights can really get you down. However, the Chinese city of Harbin is putting all these quibbles aside by celebrating all the best that winter has to offer with their annual ice and snow sculpture festival.

Last year, the festival drew over a million visitors, who came to marvel and the region’s tradition of snow and ice carvings as well as indulge in some ice swimming in the Songhua River. The pictures look incredible – but as Harbin’s temperatures can fall to minus 25C, we might give the ice swimming a miss.

harbin ice and snow festival
(Helene Franchineau/AP)

The city’s best ice carvers have been putting the finishing touches to their sculptures, which are based on big chunks of ice that are dragged out of the nearby river and carved, brushed and lit up.

Harbin Ice Festival
(Bora Wong/AP)

The sculptures range from animals and cartoon characters to replicas of famous monuments, as well as a 340-metre long slide that state media said took around 500 builders to complete.

Lu Fu was helping to finish a giant ice castle on a busy roundabout in Harbin, brushing it with a small rake.

“I feel happy. Especially after completion, I feel so excited when looking at the ice wall with lights on in distance,” said Lu, who has been carving ice for more than 20 years. “Ice building is the pride of Harbin people.”

The festival officially started on January 5 and runs for a month, so get booking your plane tickets now – we know you’re not going to want to miss out on the ice slide.

China Ice Festival
(Helene Franchineau/AP)

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