Skip to main content

Hot in Harbin: World's most spectacular winter festival opens

By Grace Huang, for CNN
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 0632 GMT (1432 HKT)
Cue jaw drops. Amazing ice sculptures and replicas highlight the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in the northern Chinese city of Harbin. Cue jaw drops. Amazing ice sculptures and replicas highlight the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in the northern Chinese city of Harbin.
HIDE CAPTION
Ice fest kicks off January 5, 2014
City of ice. And lights
Ice Iceland
Biggest ice
Replica Colosseum
Pretty, but cold
River resource
Night riders
Winter ball
World travel
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Harbin Ice and Snow Festival kicks off January 5
  • Festival gets more extravagant each year
  • Replica of Iceland's Hallgrimskirkja church made with 12,000 meters of ice
  • Fest attendance 28.5 million visitors over past two years

(CNN) -- Planning on building an igloo or snowman this winter?

Sorry, we're not impressed.

The neighborhood kids might not be, either, after they see what ice sculptors have planned for the 2014 Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

Kicking off on January 5, this frosty wonderland in northern China features crazy sculptures made from massive ice blocks and illuminated with colorful LED lights.

Sculptors have been carving away with ice picks, chisels and lasers for the last two weeks in preparation.

The result is an exhibition of extravagant castles, a Colosseum and Empire State Building, all made with ice blocks from the frozen Songhua River.

Is anything in China not getting bigger?

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2014, the winter festival gets more impressive and more extravagant each year.

The highlight is a towering replica of the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik, Iceland. According to organizers, the structure is the tallest ice sculpture in China (46 meters) and was made with 12,000 meters of ice.

The replica features a 240-meter-long slide for visitors.

Apart from replicas, the North Korea Pyongyang National Acrobatic Troupe will perform.

Visitors can skate on ice rinks and snowboard.

As China's most famous and popular winter attraction, the festival has drawn a combined 28.5 million visitors in the past two years.

To combat Harbin's sub-zero temperatures, organizers have set up 13 hot beverage stations around the park and offer complementary ginger tea at its concierge hall.

Depending on weather, the festival is open until March 2014.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, Songbei, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China; +86 451 8488 4363; RMB 300 ($50) for adult entrance

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Which cities provide the most memorable party times? A self-proclaimed "nightlife connoisseur" names his top 10.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
Whether you're looking for a post-meeting pint or a wild night out, creativity is on the menu at these hot Hong Kong venues.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1028 GMT (1828 HKT)
An image showing the Istanbul district of Beyoglu where gentrification is changing the face of the neighborhood and leading the closure of many old shops and establishments.
Artists and migrants are moving out as a once-crumbling neighborhood goes upscale.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0502 GMT (1302 HKT)
They irrigate our farms, are an important means of transport and a source of eco-friendly power.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0828 GMT (1628 HKT)
Open House festivals allow snooping in homes and landmarks normally closed to public
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0422 GMT (1222 HKT)
Ancient competitions held and yurt town set up to rejuvenate nomadic cultures.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
Playful sea lions, fearless boobies and the only ocean-going lizards in the world -- these islands offer amazing experiences for naturalists and tourists alike.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0657 GMT (1457 HKT)
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
ADVERTISEMENT