Take a Frozen Vacation to Harbin, China Ice Bars

January 25, 2008 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Want to get away from it all? Consider a trip to Harbin City in northeastern China, just a few balmy (relatively speaking) hours’ drive south of Siberia. Every winter, the city has an ice festival. Ice bars — where the bar, chairs, tables and glasses are carved from ice — are popular, as is the vodka offered there. Be careful not to slip off your chair though, if it starts to melt. However, with winter temperatures of about -10 F., that’s not likely to happen. Harbin is known for long, cold winters.

Ice and Snow World During Harbin, China's Winter Festival

Sometimes described as the “Oriental St. Petersburg,” Harbin is one of China’s most beautiful cities, reknowned for its unique Russian and European-influenced architecture. The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, held since 1985 in January, features ice sculptures throughout the town, as well as two main exhibition areas: Sun Island and Ice and Snow World. Huge snow sculptures are displayed at Sun Island, while Ice and Snow World, open every night, contains full-sized buildings made from ice blocks. Zhaolin Garden is home to the city’s ice-lantern exhibits. The Harbin festival is one of the world’s four largest snow and ice festivals, the others being the Quebec City (Canada) Winter Carnival; the Sapporo Snow Festival (Japan); and the Ski Festival (Norway).

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