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Friday, 22 January 2016

Harbin Part 2: Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo 2016

Harbin is the coldest major city in China and probably one of the coldest major cities in the world with average winter temperature many degrees below freezing point. Extreme cold weather usually poses a major setback in tourism but this is not the case with Harbin which is able to attract millions of visitors during its coldest winter months. The thick snow and frozen river are cleverly turned into assets and ingeniously taken advantaged of to host the world's biggest ice and snow sculpture festivals each year. We were among those who braved the cold to see this spectacular event and display of art.
Harbin's International Ice And Snow Festival is an annual event held from the end of December till February and Sun Island is one of the four major venues that host this grand festival. An entrance fee of 240 CNY is required to enter this snow sculpture expo site. 
During our visit the temperature was  about -27°C, a dangerously cold temperature which could cause hypothermia for anyone who comes unprepared. 
The snow park is extensive and features hundreds of snow sculptures designed after buildings, animals, mythical creatures and abstract objects in varying sizes and scales. 
We came one week ahead of the official opening and was in time to see workers refining and putting finishing touches to the sculptures.

We walked around admiring the display and it surely was the coldest walk of our life.
There are a few very massive sculptures that would probably need many tonnes of compacted snow to built.
Ornately carved and chiseled, this grandiose piece is not for any Tom, Dick or Harry to create. Such pieces of arts require the expertise of professional snow artists and architects. 

Even cranes have to be utilized for sculptures of this magnanimity.
  
It is exhilarating to find out that one of the sculptures on display actually broke the world record. This 51 metre high snow castle built from 35000 cubic metres of snow by more than 160 snow artists has been declared the largest and tallest snow sculpture in the world.  
There was also a display of ice sculptures within the park.
Even as mere spectators we were chilled to the bones, what more the workers who toiled day and night to put up all these sculptures. We really took our has off to them for the remarkable and impressive pieces created under such extreme weather. 
Never before have we seen a snow exhibition this spectacular.  All I could say is our minds have just been blown away. It is a real pity though as come spring these sculptures will melt away.

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