China – Harbin and the International Ice and Snow Festival 2014

China Journey So Far

China Journey So Far

Harbin (or Haerbin) is not your typical Chinese city. Situated in China’s northeastern-most province of Heilongjiang. A fairly large industrial city, it is filled with Russian-influenced architecture. Meaning, ugly Soviet-style buildings dominate the cityscape. Its no wonder, because Russia is only a stone’s throw away. Although the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Sophia is quite nice.

Church of St. Sophia

Church of St. Sophia

To make our visit all the more pleasant, it was the peak of a frigid winter, where icy Siberian winds ensure the temperature is a chilly -30°C. But we were here for a special reason: Harbin’s world-famous International Ice and Snow Festival.

International Ice and Snow Festival 2014 in Harbin

International Ice and Snow Festival 2014 in Harbin

In Zhaolin Park, various small structures introduced us to what this festival was all about. Every year, teams from all over the world come to create magnificent masterpieces from ice. Huge blocks are stacked and carved to create all sorts of imaginative structures.

Festival in Zhaolin Park

Festival in Zhaolin Park

There were some wicked ice slides, including a tube-riding monster!

Who loves a good slide?

Who loves a good slide?

DSC07717

At night, these ice creations are lit up from within with a multitude of colours, transforming the park into a winter wonderland.

Even cooler at night (literally and figuratively)

Even cooler at night (literally and figuratively)

Inside a warehouse was a competition display of ice sculptures.

Some of the best ice carvings

Some of the best ice carvings

Some were incredibly cool (pardon the pun).

Way cool!

Way cool!

Across the Songhua River, the biggest event is the Ice and Snow World, where huge ice block sculptures dominate this huge area.

Ice and Snow World

Ice and Snow World

Kids would love it here. There’s something about snow and ice that’s brings out the kid in everyone!

Fun for everyone!

Fun for everyone!

The scale and detail was incredible!DSC07786DSC07782Frame 6

Although it was absolutely freezing, we stayed until nighttime to see it all illuminated. Unreal!Frame 5

The centrepiece was a photographer’s delight. But beware, the icy temperatures are not a camera battery’s friend. We kept our camera and spare battery tucked in snugly inside our many clothing layers for warmth. They barely survived to the end of the night!

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Stay around for this one

Visited 10th to 12th February 2014.

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About starksepicadventure

We are Andrew and Lakshi Starks, young married couple from Melbourne, Australia. We are travelling around the world on our Starks Epic Adventure!
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