Paradise on Ice

Updated : 2014-01-24

By ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Each year millions of tourists head north to Harbin to see one of the world's great ice and snow shows.

As the birds fly south for the winter, many people in North China go to see one of the country's most spectacular sights, the ice and snow sculptures in Harbin.

With the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan, the Quebec City Winter Carnival in Canada and the Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Norway, Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which began in 1985, is one of the world's four largest ice and snow events.

It starts on January 5 every year and lasts for a month, during which time it overlaps with some of China's most important traditional festivals, including the Spring Festival and the Lantern Festival.

As one of the festival's most important activities, Harbin Ice and Snow World has been successfully held 15 times since 1999.

The 15th snow world shows tourists a large ice paradise on the northern shore of the Songhua River. The display covers 750,000 square meters, and includes ice and snow cartoons, performances, acrobatics and ice sculptures.

When night falls, the dazzling world is sublime in its beauty.

"It's really one of the most unbelievable miracles I have ever seen," says Gu Longxiang, from Jiangsu province, "In my hometown I seldom see snow and ice."

Gu, 32, is a teacher working in Yangzhou and his wife was born in Heilongjiang. "I'd been here several times but always in summer. This is my first time in Heilongjiang in winter.When I saw the great ice building, I was absolutely stunned."

As one of the city's drawcards, Harbin Ice and Snow World attracts millions of tourists from home and abroad every year.

A top international team built the Harbin Ice and Snow World, the largest ice and snow live-action amusement park in the world, perfectly combining ice, snow, sound and electricity.

From Dec 29, 2013, to Jan 3, 2014, the park held the Third International Ice-assemblage Sculpture Championship. Fifteen teams from 10 countries provided 15 ingenious ice sculptures.

A work called Harvest, by Singaporean copper sculptor Chen Xiyi and his wife Hong Jingjing won first prize.

"When I came to Harbin in 1989 for the first time, I was attracted by the idea of working with ice, which I had never done before," Chen says. "So in the past decades, I've come to Harbin several times to practice ice engraving. I'm really happy that my work has been awarded such an honor."