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
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Nonprofit Ethical Traveler has released its annual list of the developing countries doing the most to promote human rights and preserve their environments.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
These waterfront watering holes have killer ocean views, creative drinks and the mahalo vibe we demand.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
Can't wait to book your ticket to Indianapolis and Oakland? The venerable guidebook is right there with you
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
By helicopter, snowmobile and big-wheel truck across some of the world's most volatile landscapes.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 2142 GMT (0542 HKT)
Construction begins on a new Singapore airport complex that could make delays and layovers a pleasure.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 1441 GMT (2241 HKT)
Inflight chatterboxes are annoying but they're not the worst violators of onboard etiquette, according to an Expedia study.
December 8, 2014 -- Updated 2232 GMT (0632 HKT)
These statues are awe-inspiring even for the strongest of non-believers.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1659 GMT (0059 HKT)
The Palace of the Parliament, built by former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
25 years after the death of Romania's communist dictator, tourism is helping heal old wounds.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
Photo sharing website names the top 10 destinations for geo-tagged snapshots.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
New York may be a paradise of Zagat-rated, Michelin-starred restaurants, but some of its best food can be found on the streets.
December 2, 2014 -- Updated 0601 GMT (1401 HKT)
Guide Lebo behind the wheel of Chobe Game Lodge's first electric game viewing vehicle, at Chobe National Park in Botswana.
Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana ups the eco stakes with what it claims is world's first battery-powered safari fleet.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
These quirky and beautiful subway stops make standing cheek-to-cheek with 45 strangers almost seem fun.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A scene from a desert safari in Dubai
Luxury vintage Land Rover tours explore Bedouin backwaters without bashing up precious dunes.
ADVERTISEMENT