China is probably not the first country that comes to mind when you hear the words winter wonderland, but that is exactly what the city of Harbin becomes at the end of every year.
In fact, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival originally began in the winter of 1963 with a traditional ice-lantern show and garden party, but the festivities were put on hold during the Cultural Revolution. Having re-launched in 1985, the festival has taken place annually ever since.
China has nearby Siberia to thank for its cold winters, which create the perfect environment for the most extreme and mystical sculpture park ever!
The ice sculptures at the festival are actually some of the biggest in the world and practically form their own city with palaces, animals, lanterns and more crafted from the frozen substance. Swing saws are used for the carving initially and are subsequently followed by chisels and then, later, a diverse variety of ice picks to achieve the incredible detail.
The works are stunning and intricately designed. They even light up in technicolour at night!
Visitors flock to the festival to admire the art as well as to ski and enjoy various other magical winter activities. This year’s festival will be ongoing from 17th December through to mid February so get booking if you’re interested in a winter experience never to be forgotten.