Are you planning a vacation in Beijing this winter? Then you have surely made the right choice. Plenty of surprises are in store for you this winter. Get ready to enjoy the 31st Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture festival being held in the capital city of China starting from January 5 through the end of February in 2015.
This lovely winter festival is a perfect start to your holiday season. Apart from enjoying the festival, there are other activities for you to explore and enjoy during this season. Some of these major activities include hiking the Great Wall of China, hot spring bathing, ice skating and skiing.
Let us first get a fascinating insight into the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. This is an annual festival opening vistas into an entirely new world of snow and ice for nearly two months. This festival cannot be missed at all when visiting Harbin, now popularly called the Ice City.
Harbin – The Ice City: An Overview
Harbin is renowned for its extremely chilly winters among major cities in China. Its position in northeast China and the frigid climate together account for abundant snow and natural ice. It is because of these factors that Harbin has been nicknamed as the “Ice City” and is presently at the centre stage of snow and ice art in the country. Millions of tourists from different parts of the world visit the city to enjoy its fabulously artistic snow and ice sculptures. Apart from this, the city has different facets as well. It is today a prominent gateway in Sino Russian trade because of its historical Russian legacy. In the 1920s it was known as the “Fashion Capital of China” since it was here that the new designs from Moscow and Paris reached first before advent in Shanghai. The China National Tourism Administration voted Harbin as "China Top Tourist City" in 2004. Even UNESCO appointed it as “City of Music” under its Creative Cities Network program in June 2010.
Major highlights of the festival
The festival is open for the visitors just after the Christmas. During this time the ice lanterns are ready, for being exhibited and nearly 80 percent of snow carvings are also complete. When you visit during this time you will get opportunity to see ice sculptors at work.
- Ice Lantern Festival is poetic at night and is an awesome fete of light and ice.
- Visit the world-famous Sun Island for Daytime Snow Sculpture Expo
- Visit the park where over 200 Siberian lions and tigers can be seen roaming freely on snow. It’s amazing and great experience to feed these beasts with flying wildfowls and see them devouring their prey. Adults and children find it to be a great fun.
- Play on ice slides, or watch others diving and swimming on the frosty river.
- Visit the street with Russian-inspired architectures and drink wines and beer in one of the many ice bars.
- Visit the Japanese Germ Warfare Base and know about World War II.
Best Places to see Ice Artworks
There are many places where you can see ice and snow sculptures. These include Harbin Ice and Snow World, Sun Island Park, Yabuli International Ski Resort, Zhaolin Park and Ice Lantern Garden Party.
The Harbin Ice and Snow World is a must visit to see the exquisite ice carvings. Here you will get opportunity to see some of the best examples of ice art in the world. Many elegant ice-sculpted masterpieces are showcased attracting visitors in large numbers. Every individual ice carving is designed complementing a festival theme. This is the perfect place to visit and enjoy local cultural flavors.
The Snow Sculpture Exposition can be seen at the Sun Island Park. This major venue in the city prominently showcases the magnificent snow world. The largest indoor ice and snow art museum in the world is situated here and is open for the visitors from the month of November.
The traditional program at Zhaolin Park where most excellent ice lanterns are put on display is a must attend. The ice lanterns created by piling up ice or snow and freezing water of the Songhua River, which runs through Harbin, are simply awesome. These ice lanterns are brilliantly decorated and brightly lit. To see them in all their glory is quite mesmerizing indeed.
Taking part in this festival is surely a fascinating experience. You just don’t get opportunity to see this famous exposition of ice and snow art, but it’s a great platform to meet famous ice sculptors, experts and fans from China, Russia, Singapore, Japan, Canada, United States and many other countries.