Hundreds and thousands of visitors are slipping and sliding at the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. The Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the largest ice and snow festival in the world featuring some of the world's biggest ice sculptures. This year, the major attraction has been the multicolored ice slides along with some breathtakingly beautiful ice sculptures.
The annual ice and snow festival is held in the northeastern city of Harbin in China, close to the Russian border. Although temperatures plunge to as low as -20°C, visitors brave the freezing weather to experience life-like gigantic and crafty ice sculptures. The festival had a humble beginning in the year 1963 and has since then transformed into an annual theme based ice and snow festival witnessing a footfall of thousands each year.
Gifted artisans, sculptures, and carvers use a variety of tools and equipment to convert large blocks of ice into surreal looking sculptures. The finesse and detailing of these artforms can be spotted from far away. Large crowds of shoppers, both locals and tourists, gather around these sites to watch art being wielded from simple ice.
Mostly, the sculptures are based on buildings and monuments of different architectural types, mythical creatures, figurines of animals and humans, and more. Colorful lights are strategically placed around these sculptures which gives them a magical face-lift at night. This year, however, a 300-metre-long ice slide has become the center of attraction with multi-colored slides gaining popularity among visitors, especially children. Usually if the weather permits, the festival continues for a month.