The citizens of Harbin, a city in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province located directly in the path of Siberia’s arctic winds, know what it means to be cold. (Winter temperatures average just one degree Fahrenheit.) But Harbin takes advantage of its frigid climate to put on one of the world’s most fabulous, and famous, winter festivals.
This year the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival will be celebrating its 30th anniversary, and thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the Snow Sculpture Art Expo to see the magical and elaborate works of art carved from blocks of ice from the Songhua River. (Sometimes entire architectural monuments are reproduced in ice.)
Kicking off this year on January 5, the festival will run through February 28, 2014. Colorful lights and lanterns create a merry atmosphere, and there are numerous events including fireworks and theatrical shows. For more information, visit the website for the China National Tourist Office at www.cnto.org
Image via Flickr/Harry Alverson