Harbin is the Capitol of Heilongjing, China’s northernmost province. The city was founded in the late 19th century for Russian engineers constructing the eastern leg of the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
Today Harbin is best known for its annual Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival. With a its January kick-off, the festival usually lasts a month but can go through March depending on temperatures. In the early days of Harbin, thousands of Russian Jews settled there and the city was known as cosmopolitan and financial hub.
The festival officially began in 1985, but Chinese ice lanterns date back to the Quing Dynasty (1644 -1911). Historically, local peasants and fishermen often made and used ice lanterns during the winter months. They were made by pouring water into a bucket that was then left outside to freeze. The ice was gently taken out of the bucket through a warming process and a hole was chiseled into the top so that the remaining water could be poured out, leaving a hollow vessel. A candle was put in the middle creating a windproof lantern.
Nowadays the Ice Festival is an international exposition of ice and snow art. While ice sculptures are erected throughout the city, there are two main exhibition areas.
The first is Sun Island, a recreational area on the opposite side of the Songhua River, that features an expo of enormous snow sculptures. The second is Ice and Snow World, an area open only at night which features illuminated full-size buildings made from blocks of 2–3 foot thick ice taken directly from the Songhua River.
Every year, there are many ice sculpture experts, artists and fans from America, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Russia, China, an other nations. With a great variety of objects such as buildings, gardens, flowers, waterfalls, European-styled churches, lions, tigers, dragons are carved from ice. In the daytime, the ice sculptures are magnificent. But they are best scene at night when the sparkling colored lights embedded in the sculptures. The parks becomes a glorious illuminated ice world.
Call us at (800) 675-4157 to learn more about the experiences we have to offer in majestic Harbin.