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 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 19, 2014 -- Updated 0735 GMT (1535 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 16, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
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 18, 2014 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0756 GMT (1556 HKT)
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
ADVERTISEMENT