In keeping with my promise to post pictures, I am now going to re-post all of the pictures from my recent trip to Harbin. This was the last trip I made in China, and probably one of the best trips. I went up on New Years Eve and spend the New Year exploring the city. Today is another New Years Day, it is the first day of the Chinese New Year so I thought what better day to share the pictures from the start of my New Year…
This is one of my favorite China pictures, I love how clear the sky is. I don’t know if you can tell but what stretches in front of me is the Song river that goes through the center of Haerbin. It is completly frozen over and yes I am walking on water, standing in the middle of the river taking a picture of the setting sun. This was one of those take your breath away beautifuly quiet and peacful moments. In a country with over 1.4 billion people its hard to find peace and quite but in -11F North of North Korea, and paralell to Vladivostok on a frozen river there are not may people around.
Haerbin was one of the coldest places I have ever been. I am one of those people who is ALWAYS, ALWAYS cold but it was worth it to go and see the Haerbin Ice & Snow Festival. This is the largest Ice & Snow festival in the world and the pictures I got were amazing. They had fantasticly large Snow Sculptuers. This year the theme was RUSSIAN culture, Haerbin is a town where the Trans-Siberian railroad initiated, so they have a huge connection with Russian history.
The sculptures were amazing, massive and grand. To make the snow what the artists in Haerbin do is they take out massive blocks of the river and crush them into packed snow then carefully sculpt the snow with picks, knives and other small instruments. The end result is breathtaking, and very very cold.
While the Snow sculptures were awesome there were also Ice Sculptures, these are made with the Giant blocks of Ice from the river and the artists sculpt them carefully with fine instruments, no chainsaws or jackhammers here.
I got to see one artist constructing his sculpture, he did not want pictures of him working on it but he let everyone take pics once he had stepped away. He is on the scaffolding in the teal coat. Can you guess what iconic figure this sculpture is supposed to represent?
As you can also see in the background is some of the architecture in Haerbin, the classic dome strucutre is a leftover from the Russin influence it is not at all characteristic of Chinese architecture. Also in Haerbin is St. Sophia a former orthodox church that exists in the city. On the outside it is a model example of Russian architecture, but the CCP in 1950, outlawed religion so since then the interior has fallen into disrepair and disuse. Despite all of that it ws exciting to see something so reminiscent of St. Basil’s in China.
One of the last parts of the festival that I attened in Haerbin was the Ice Festival. This is where they take gigantic blocks of Ice from the Song River to create gigantic buildings and sculptures that they then light up with LED’s.
The best part about these sculptures is you can walk all over them, they are gigantic slides. You nearly kill yourself walking up to the top of the the buildings becuase its all made of ice, but it is worth it because you slide down these gigantic ice slides and have a grand time just playing around in the snow.
As you look through the pics below you will see all of the images from my trip to Haerbin, as the day progresses you will see the images get a little blurry, thats because by the end of the night it was -22F which I must say is COLD, so so COLD. Thank goodness I had 5 layers on. But this also means that my camera went a little wonky, as much as modern technology has adapted to extreme conditions, thats a little too cold for my little sony camera. So there are some blurry pictures towards the end, but I don’t think they detract from the magesty of the event.