The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival transforms the city in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province into a frozen winter wonderland. More than a million visitors flock to Harbin throughout the festival to get a glimpse of the enormous structures created from large ice blocks and tons of snow. In 2019, the 35th edition officially opened on January 5 and will run through the end of February.
The massive ice and snow sculptures create a theme park of over 100 landmarks by artists from 12 countries. During the evening, the entire park is illuminated, creating a spectacle of epic proportions. In the weeks leading up to the festival, workers spent tireless hours cutting blocks of ice from the nearby Songhua River. Each block used can weigh up to 1,554 pounds and, for the 2019 festival, it’s estimated that almost 261,500 cubic yards of ice were cut and transported on-site.
The snow sculptures are equally impressive, with the massive main sculpture measuring 108 feet high and over 325 feet long. From fantasy castles and creatures to recreations of iconic monuments, the ice and snow sculptures are incredible feats of technical prowess that allow the public to relive their childhood. Whether frolicking through a field of over 2,000 snowmen or taking a whirl on an ice slide, the festival offers a joyful look at winter.
Other unique attractions include an ice and snow post office to mail postcards and a restaurant constructed from ice. Take a look at some images from the 2019 festival and get ready for your visit before the fun melts away.