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Frosty and fantastic: Harbin Ice Festival

China’s Harbin Ice Festival is famous for its large, dazzling sculptures — all made from ice and snow — in Harbin, which has colder weather and longer winters than any other major Chinese city.

Now in its 30th official year, China’s Harbin Ice Festival is famous for its large, dazzling sculptures — all made from ice and snow — in Harbin, which has colder weather and longer winters than any other major Chinese city. The colorful event takes place each January and February in the northeastern corner of the country. AFP - Getty Images
As many as 800,000 visitors are expected to descend upon Harbin and tour the sculptures, which were built by nearly 10,000 workers. Chinafotopress via Getty Images
A visitor passes a sculpture of an ice tower — one of more than 2,000 elaborate sculptures on display at the 2014 Harbin Ice Festival. EPA
A visitor takes a ride on an ice slide at the Harbin Ice Festival. Other festival highlights include a carnival, an international ice-sculpture competition, an ice lantern show, sledding and ice-sailing. Chinafotopress via Getty Images
Visitors pose for photos near an ice sculpture that resembles Rome's Colosseum. AFP - Getty Images
People walk over an ice bridge near an ice tower that stands more than 84 feet tall and is one of the main attractions at the Harbin Ice Festival. AFP - Getty Images
Visitors walk among the ice sculptures at the Snow Sculpture Art Expo on Sun Island in Harbin. EPA
A carriage pulls visitors past ice carvings at the 2014 Harbin Ice Festival. Str / AFP - Getty Images
The Harbin Ice Festival first began in 1963, then went on hiatus due to China’s Cultural Revolution. It started up again in the 1980s and has grown in scope and influence ever since. Hao Bin / EPA
People tour between the festival's large-scale ice sculptures. The Harbin Ice Festival also includes concerts, dance performances, a painting exhibition, ice hockey, ice football, speed-skating, skiing competitions, ice fishing, swimming (yes, swimming!), and wedding ceremonies on ice. Hao Bin / EPA
Visitors gather next to an ice-gate sculpture in Harbin's Zhaolin Park. EPA
Visitors admire the ice lanterns on display at the festival's ice lantern show. Chinafotopress via Getty Images
According to festival organizers, it takes about 180,000 square meters of ice and 150,000 square meters of snow to create all the dazzling sculptures for the Harbin Ice Festival. Sheng Li / Reuters
Enormous, elaborate snow sculptures also draw visitors to the Harbin Ice Festival each year. Harbin's festival is one of world's four largest international ice festivals, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec Winter Carnival and Norway's Ski Festival. Sheng Li / Reuters