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Ice City Rises In Northern China

Buildings made of ice? That doesn’t sound too structurally sound. A terrorist would only have to spike the heater about 10 degrees to create mass destruction. Or wait for this whole global warming thing to play out. To take advantage of the relatively low material costs of constructing a building from water (water comes from the sky so I’m pretty sure it’s free), the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, China features gleaming towers and lavish sculptures all made of ICE.

The event borders on the line between party and international art fair that shows off the country’s talented ice sculptors in an almost gallery-like setting (if that gallery is freezing cold, which they usually are). This plus the fact that the festival takes place during China’s busiest travel period makes for an extremely crowded display. For months ice-construction workers shape and piece together massive blocks of frozen water from the Songhua River to form structures such as churches and figures including massive beer bottles and giant bodies rise from the freezing ground. They had me at “massive beer bottles”.

This extravagant event takes place every winter and this year it began January 5th, featuring an ice maze, a hill for tubing and a giant sculpture of children rolling a snowball. Keep in mind that though there were many opportunities to mock terrible movies with scenes that were set in ice buildings (Batman Forever, Die Another Day), we decided to keep it classy, just like you readers.