On January 5, the International Ice and Snow Festival started in the Chinese city of Harbin. Sculptors have constructed ice copies of famous sights of different countries from every corner of the globe. The festival has been held since 1963. There was a break for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution, but the festival was renewed in 1985.
The world famous show which is the main winter highlight of the city is held for the 36th time. Palaces, fortresses, fantastic figures from snow and ice, and all this is decorated by millions multi-coloured lights. It is possible to enter any construction, go up fortifications, and roll down the ice mountain.
The city on the construction of which more than 10 thousand persons worked, has turned out so huge that for visitors even there have started up a special train. Organizers wait for a traditional flow of visitors. The ice festival in Harbin opens a winter tourist season.
This year the festival is held under the theme: « Ice Snow Integration, Happy to Go Together». Organizers want to underline the feature of Harbin not only as ice and snow, but at the same time, as a hospitable city.
Before tourists were attracted most of all by the Park « Ice and Snow World». This year organizers want to transform it into the largest “Ice and Snow Disneyland”, with assistance of representatives of the world famous brand. The park will occupy 600 thousand square metres, three times more than the last year.
One more sight of the forthcoming festival – Ice Gallery on the river Songhua River, organizers say that it will amaze with its scale even an exacting tourist.
During the festival practically in any corner of the city visitors of Harbin and its residents can see remarkable ice-snow compositions.
Lin Duo, acting mayor of Harbin says: «We hold the festival so that residents of Harbin love and feel proud of their city, visitors of Harbin estimate not only culture and monuments, but also our original snow landscape».
The Harbin festival of ice sculptures is known in the world along with Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan, Quebec and Ottawa Winter Carnival in Canada. It has already become the city’s visiting card. Within the framework of the festival annually hundreds tourist, sports and cultural actions are organized.