Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 2013

The 29th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival kicked off in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province on January 5, 2013. This year, it will last to February 28th. The annual event brings a sparkling winter wonderland to the city of Harbin; and millions of tourists from all over the world brave the chilly temperatures to experience it.

The event, as one of the world’s four major ice and snow festivals, features a wide range of ice-related activities including ice sculpture competition, ice lantern, skiing, winter swimming competition, sledding, and much more. There are three main exhibition areas namely Harbin Ice and Snow World, Sun Island Scenic Area and Zhaolin Park.

Harbin Ice and Snow World
Harbin Ice and Snow World is the largest ice and snow park in the city, which is nicknamed “the Ice Disneyland”. This year, it features majestic ice castles and sculptures of fairytale characters. While the white sculptures look spectacular during the day, they are even more magical at night thanks to the bright LED lights that are embedded inside. It presents a colorful and warm aura to the icy wonderland.

Harbin Ice and Snow World

Harbin Ice and Snow World

Sun Island Scenic Area
During the festival, the Sun island scenic area has been turned into a massive exhibition ground for snow sculptures in all shapes and sizes. These snow art works range from life-size human figures, animals, mythical creatures, to huge buildings of different types and styles.

Sun Island Scenic Area, Harbin

Sun Island Scenic Area, Harbin

Zhaolin Park
The international ice lantern festival held here offers visitors a chance to appreciate the best ice and snow artworks in the world. When the night falls, the park becomes a glittery world with beautiful ice lanterns resplendent with different colors. Modern techniques endow the lanterns with light, sound and action.

Ice Lantern at Zhaolin Park

Ice Lantern at Zhaolin Park

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Qinghai Lake turns swan lake in winter

Every year, more than 1,000 swans would fly to a wetland beside the Qinghai Lake in northwest China’s Qinghai Province for wintering. This photo, taken on November 27, 2012 by Xinhuanet.com, shows that swans swim in the Qinghai Lake, making it a beautiful “swan lake”.

Qinghai Lake,China

Swans swin in the Qinghai Lake.

Qinghai Lake, covering an area of 4,402.5 square kilometres, is the largest inland saltwater lake in China. It is home to 189 species of birds, including bar-headed geese, brown-headed gulls, and swans. It is an excellent place for bird watching.

Qinghai Lake,China

Swans fly over the Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake is a wintering site for swans, while few other species of bird are present here in the harsh winter months. This year, it has witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of swans thanks to government’s effective measures taken to protect the environment.