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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 April 2019

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival takes shape in China - in pictures

Elaborate ice buildings and intricately carved sculptures are made from blocks cut from the frozen Songhua River

The annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China, is considered the worlds largest.

The massive and detailed snow sculptures and full-sized illuminated ice buildings attract more than a million visitors a year to the north-eastern city, where the cold Siberian wind plunges the average temperature to -13 degrees Celcius.

The elaborate ice buildings and intricately carved sculptures are made from blocks cut from the frozen Songhua River.

For weeks before the festival, hired workers collect and transport nearly 200,000 cubic metres of ice to the site.

Most of the cutters are farmers from nearby villages who start work before dawn at bitterly low temperatures to earn about $35 US per day.

Blocks weighing up to 700kg each are sculpted to different themes recreating animals and architectural wonders.

Multi-coloured lights give the structures a dazzling glow across the 750,000 square metre festival, which is marking its 35th year.

It officially opens on January 5, 2019, and runs for one month.

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