Incredible structures made of ice for China festival

    11:51 AM, Jan 7, 2013   |    comments
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    HARBIN, China (CNN) -- An annual winter carnival opened Saturday in the northeast China city of Harbin, with an extravagant fireworks display, which turned the event's main venue into a sparkling wonderland after sunset.

    The month-long Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is regarded as one of the world's largest and most influential ones. It attracts tourists and professionals from around the world, who visit the city also to experience the mixture of stunning natural beauty and amazing handicraft.

    Visitors to the Ice and Snow World in Harbin, capital city of Heilongjiang Province can find large scale snow sculptures, ice slides, and massive structure built with ice blocks taken from the frozen surface of the nearby Songhua River. The main exhibition in the park covers an area of 75,000 square meters.

    At night, visitors who brave the frigid weather cold see all the lights on, illuminating the sculptures from both inside and out.

    Over 2,000 icy exhibits have already been opened for a preview event in late December.

    The largest snow sculpture is 120 meters long and stands 20 meters tall, while the "Crystal Castle", an ice-carving project finished in December, towers over the winter theme park at a height of 48 meters.

    Now in its 29th year, the event also offers a wide range of wintry events, including ice swimming and hot-air ballooning.

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