HARBIN, Heilongjiang: Harbin, China's famed Ice City, started welcoming visitors to its International Ice and Snow Festival on Friday (Jan 5).
Visitors are invited into a fantasy wonderland of giant ice sculptures and snow activities, themed Ice Snow Blooming Garden, Fantastic World.
Computer-controlled LED lighting effects are used to animate stunning displays of colour and design on the huge ice sculptures.
Around 10,000 workers helped create this year's ice world, which covers a sprawling 600,000 sq m (or 84 soccer fields) in a park next to the Songhua River.
Earlier in the week, artists gathered at the festival venue to put the final touches on their ice sculptures - some resembling famous historical figures and others landmarks such as Beijing's Temple of Heaven and Moscow's Red Square.
The head of Harbin’s sculpture academy Han Zhenkun said the sheer size of the sculptures displayed at the festival is what differentiates it from other festivals around the world.
Harbin is one of China's coldest cities and temperatures can drop as low as -35°C.
Touted as the world’s biggest winter festival, the annual show in China's northeast Heilongjiang province has been held since 1983 and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. The festival runs until Feb 28.