China's spectacular snow and ice festival - in pictures

The Harbin gala is the largest ice festival in the world and features a dramatic array of installations and activities

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China's spectacular Harbin ice and snow festival has opened in the country's Heilongjiang Province.

The event, which is the 35th time the annual event has taken place, features an array of dramatic installations and activities, with highlights including a frozen, Burj Khalifa-inspired tower, castles, Buddha statues, a 3D-light show and Northern Lights-themed ice slides.

Some 120,000 cubic metres of ice and 111,000 cubic metres of snow have been used to build the ice and snow world, and sculptors from 12 different countries have been drafted in to compete in a competition to find the most impressive structure.

The festival is considered one of the world's top winter festivals, ranking alongside the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan, Canada's Quebec Winter Carnival, and the Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Norway.

It attracts millions of heavily attired visitors from around the world each year.


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