Cool way to mark the new year in Harbin

Chinese tourists braved the freezing cold at the Songhua River in Harbin on Tuesday for a chance to take photos with snowmen sculpted in the park by winter revellers. Around 2,000 snowmen were created.

The Songhua River passes through Harbin, also known as Ice City, and the river's banks have long been a popular gathering place for tourists and families to indulge in ice and snow activities.

For several weeks from December through to January, the north-eastern Chinese city is a hubbub of activity as a magical illuminated city of ice emerges.

Blocks of ice from the frozen Songhua River are transported by thousands of labourers to the site, then sculpted and built into elaborate and dazzling monuments and buildings. The sculptures include full-sized ice buildings that visitors can walk through and around like a real city.

From Saturday, the city will host the 35th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, which will be open until next month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2019, with the headline 'Cool way to mark the new year'. Print Edition | Subscribe