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Ice and snow festival opens in China

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Ice and Snow World park ahead of the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture festival
Ice and Snow World park ahead of the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture festival -
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REUTERS
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Temperatures are well below freezing but visitors' spirits are high at this year's International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China.

The sculptures range in size from cute miniatures to towering cathedrals. But they're all made from ice, illuminated by a colourful array of lights.

"So we made sure to wear lots of clothes to keep warm, but I think we could use some more. But I think it's definitely worth it because I don't think there are many places in the world where you can see the things that we can see here," said Ryan Bour, an American tourist in Harbin.

The effect is magical but behind the sparkling Ice City is built by the hard work of the sculptors who have had to endure freezing temperatures as they chiselled and carved huge blocks of ice.

Guan Hongliang has been sculpting ice for a decade. As a Harbin local, he is pleased to see thousands of visitors admiring his creations.

"A lot of visitors will come to see these sculptures in a period of two months. Unlike other sculptures which are put somewhere after they're finished and we don't know who will see them, the ice and snow sculptures here will definitely be seen by lots of tourists," Guan said.

The festival draws more than a million tourists from China and around the globe each year.

The Ice and Snow World will be open until February 2019, when temperatures begin to rise.

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