China’s City on Ice
Posted on January 18, 2012
The 28th annual Snow and Ice Festival is a winter wonderland utilizing more than 600,000 cubic meters of snow and more than 6.3 million cubic feet of ice.
Here in this temporal cosmos, attention and a keen eye for detail is the key to ice-sculpting success.
The city of Harbin in Northeast China gets its name from the Manchu word meaning “a place for drying fishing nets.” Lying on the southern bank of the Songhua River, it is known for its bitterly cold winters.
For 35-year-old Harbin native Xiaodong Liu, his love for ice sculpting began at a very young age.
“I have special feelings towards ice…since I was young and took part in my first ice sculpting competition … My hands feel as if they want to say ‘let me help you.’ And I feel very emotional,” says Liu.
The sheer magnitude of the project, which took 15 to 17 days to complete, is incredible to contemplate.
The Snow and Ice World costs $19 million to create and covers an area of nearly 150 acres. An estimated 15,000 workers were involved in the construction of the festival’s magnificent centerpiece.
Visitors are drawn to the festival as much for its magnetic allure as for the memories the event evokes of snow and fun and childhood.
The Harbin festival attracted more than 1 million visitors in 2011, and it is hoped that this year will bring an increase of at least 20 percent.
This year the city has been experiencing an unusually warm winter.
Marked by four distinct seasons, winters are long and cold and summers short and cool. In this region, the snowy season can last for as long as six months, with January being the coldest.
Temperatures in Harbin sometimes drop as low as minus 17 degrees Celsius (62.6 Fahrenheit).
The perfect place for an ice and snow festival, Harbin’s sculpting masterpieces are dazzling to behold.