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Ice and Snow Festival 2007 - Harbin

Harbin is known the world over for its Ice and Snow Festivals. Sometime in the 1990ís, I went to see an exhibit of ice sculptures carved by artists from Harbin in California. I was impressed back then but I didnít really realize the magnitude of the exhibition until about 2001 when I first saw pictures of the Ice Lantern Festival. After that, I put Harbin high on the list of places to visit. Last year, I planned of going but something else came up. We almost gave up on the trip this year as well since we couldnít get enough people interested in joining us. Finally, we could arrange a private tour of six friends and off we went.

Every year the city hosts ice carving artists from all over the world and they exhibit their art at the traditional Ice and Lantern Festival at Zhaolin Park, which is located practically in the middle of the city. At night, the ice carvings are lit, taking on the various colors of the light. That is what we came here to see. The height of the ice sculptures ranged in size approximately between 2 and 4 meters (6 and 12 feet). The ice sculptures were carved out a single block of clear ice and that what makes them very special.

The Ice and Snow World is held just outside the city on Sun Island, a sandy island of the Songhua River. Sizewise, this festival, which is the 8th this year, is really impressive. Ice blocks were cut and an entire mock city was built using ice blocks, copying some of the famous landmarks from all over the world. Holes were drilled lengthwise into the ice blocks and colorful neon lights, were inserted into the holes. The lights were turned on after dark, creating really spectacular views. These structures, some of which are really big and sturdy enough for people to climb on, were built out of ice blocks and only ice blocks where the eyes meet. Another winter attraction there was the snow carving exhibit, also on Sun Island, that can be enjoyed during the day as well as after dark.

While we were there, the day temperature climbed to around 10 centigrades below zero under the sun. In the evening and at night, the temperature dipped to around 25 centigrades below zero. Yes, it was cold when we were there but we have seen reports of even colder temperatures from that city. In addition to the cold temperature, walking on the complex, especially on the structures was not always that easy. I saw a few people slip and fall; it was definitely slippery, since you are walking namely on ice. I hit the ground one time as well, but fortunately I didn't hurt myself. The thick winter clothing definitely helped cushioning the fall.

We were given a book titled "1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die" and Harbin is not on the list. The title of that book should be changed to "1,001.... ". I would describe our Harbin trip as indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Like always, thank you for visiting this gallery and feel free to drop a line or two.


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Huge Snow Scupture
Huge Snow Scupture
Sweet Potato Vendor
Sweet Potato Vendor
Playing Soccer on Frozen River
Playing Soccer on Frozen River
Snack, Anyone?
Snack, Anyone?
Sculpture at Snow Festival
Sculpture at Snow Festival
Scupture at Snow Festival
Scupture at Snow Festival
Ice Bicycle Ride
Ice Bicycle Ride
Snow Festival
Snow Festival
Sculpture Commemorating the Year of the Pig
Sculpture Commemorating the Year of the Pig
Scupture at Snow Festival
Scupture at Snow Festival
Castle in the Sun
Castle in the Sun
Ice Wine Bar Sculpture
Ice Wine Bar Sculpture
Scupture of Calvaries
Scupture of Calvaries
Entrance to the Ice Lantern Festival
Entrance to the Ice Lantern Festival
What a Welcoming Sight!
What a Welcoming Sight!
Abstract Ice Scupture
Abstract Ice Scupture
Preserved in Ice
Preserved in Ice
Ice Sign
Ice Sign
Ice Scupture Galore
Ice Scupture Galore
Castle Made Out of Lit Ice Blocks
Castle Made Out of Lit Ice Blocks
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