Harbin ice festival kicks off in China
BEIJING: The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, one of the largest in the world, kicked off its 33rd edition on Thursday with hundreds of sculptures, installations and leisure activities and a swimming contest in north-eastern China.
The ice sculptures, with colourful lights, attract millions of visitors to the former Russian colony in Heilongjiang province. Harbin's temperatures can fall to minus 25 degrees Celsius, Efe news reported.
The event, which has become among the major winter attractions of the country, is mainly based in the Zhaolin Park, located along the banks of the Songhua river that crosses the city.
It will also display ice sculptures in 21 squares, 32 streets and 56 other points of interest in Harbin. Around 180,000 cubic metres of ice and 150,000 of snow was used for the structures.
The swimming contest was held in the chilly waters of the Songhua, in which some 400 people took part.
In this edition of the festival, tourists will be able to enjoy giant installations of temples, pagodas, palaces and buddha idols made from ice and snow and light and sound shows on European heritage-themed building installations.
This year the festival, which lasts until the spring heat melts the snow and ice, has also organised a competition in building ice sculptures for international university students.