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The sculptors have been carving away at their Arctic creations for weeks, gearing up for the grand opening of the ice festival. Last year saw a million people attend the event and hopes are high for another bumper year.
At the entrance to Harbin’s Ice and Snow World Theme Park, sculptors are finishing their snow and ice creations. Now in it’s 30th year, Harbin - the capital and largest city in Heilongjiang Province - is now world-renowned for its jaw-dropping Ice and Snow Festival.
Sculptures here take numerous forms, including a horse-themed creation, based on a painting by Chinese artist Xu Beihong. Xu is well known for his horse portraits and with the Chinese Year of the Horse fast approaching, this sculpture marks the theme park's entrance.
Wang Lidan, a tourist from Shenyang, capital city of Liaoning province, is having a great time: "The trip is totally worth it. I'm from Shenyang, and it's my first time here. It's fantastic."
Unlike other winter festivals, Harbin’s Ice and Snow Festival doesn’t just provide skiing, ice skating and the odd chance of a snow ball fight. By night these massive, hand-carved sculptures truly come to life.
Engineering Manager of this year’s Ice and Snow World Theme Park, Sun Xitong, says this year’s park took a little over two weeks to build, making use of a nearby river where all the ice is sourced.
"From the planning and design, to ice collecting, construction and completion, it took us only 15 days. We have an advantage in that the ice we use from the Songhuajiang River is crystal clear," Sun said.
Apart from creating a winter wonderland in the city’s parks and resorts, the Ice and Snow Festival also consumes Harbin’s city centre with sculptures lighting up Central Street.
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is expected to stay open until the beginning of March, depending on the weather.
|Hand-carved ice sculptures come to life at night in Harbin.|
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