With temperatures plunging to minus 20 degrees or below, teams of artists from all over the world fly to Harbin around the time of the Chinese New Year, in early February, to carve a fairyland of castles, rides and other large-scale structures from blocks of solid ice. Lit with coloured lights at night, the creations are accompanied by a huge array of snow figures on nearby Sun Island, along with convoluted toboggan and tube tracks. Visitors may walk across the frozen Songhua River to reach the site, or travel by horse-drawn carriage. The end of the event is marked with an exuberant fireworks display, followed by the mass destruction of the ice sculptures.

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