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Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Harbin, the capital city of China's northernmost province, Heilongjiang (just across the border from Russian Siberia), is famous for its dazzling Ice and Snow Festival (January-February). The festival is one of the largest ice and snow spectaculars in the world.

The festival includes ice lantern and sculpture exhibitions. Thousands of ice lanterns, ice carvings and snow sculptures turn the city into a dreamlike world of pure whiteness and gleaming crystal.

Blocks of ice chainsawed from the Songhua River provide the material for the sculptures, and competitors use knives and saws to carve the large blocks into animals, mythical figures, buildings, or copies of artworks. Past sculptures have represented such things as castles, towers, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China, and an onion-domed Russian church.

Teams of sculptors come from as far away as Britain, Malaysia and the United States and their work - glowing from the neon tubes of purple, pink, blue and green that shine from inside - fills the city square (See picture).

A highlight of the festival is "Ice and Snow World" - the world's largest amusement park devoted to ice and snow.

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Library: Ice, Snow, Cold / Cold Places
Links: Cold Places, Arctic
Sapporo Snow Festival
News Story: Dazzling Ice Castle
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports

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