Harbin, the Chinese City Designed to Be a ‘Little Russia’: Photos

Today, Harbin might best be known on an international scale for its snow festival, which spans over 600,000 square meters, making it one of the biggest ice festivals in the world.

Aerial photo taken on December 24, 2020 shows tourists visiting the World of ice and snow in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China.-

Costfoto/Future Publishing/Getty Images

Nicknamed the “Ice City,” Harbin has cold and long winters, with temperatures reaching a low of -22 Fahrenheit.

“When [people] think about the city that I come from, they probably think about the weather first: the winter sports, the sculptures, the snow, the ice,” said Geng.

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival began in 1963. More than 10 million people were expected to visit the festival in 2019, making it one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions, per Smithsonian Magazine. The festival runs for around two months.

In 2017, the festival drew 28.7 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) in tourism revenue for the city, reported the AP.

And in a nod to its Russian influences, some of the gigantic sculptures at Harbin’s famed snow festival are created to resemble Eastern Orthodox churches, with distinctive domes and brick-like texture.

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