Visitors walk past ice sculptures at the opening of the 30th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin city, in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, on Jan. 5, 2014. Nearly 10,000 people were involved in making the sculptures.
The sculptures are fashioned from huge ice blocks -- cut from a local frozen river -- and blocks of man-made snow that are made to resemble huge buildings, snow maidens and other structures.
The Harbin festival is among the world's largest ice and snow festivals.
The festival lasts from two to three months and always begins on Jan. 5.
Of course, all of that ice has to come from somewhere. Here, workers take ice from Songhua River on Dec. 13, 2013. Nearly 1,000 workers picked ice in Harbin for the sculptures.
Festival contestants work on their sculptures.
Visitors stroll past a bright yellow ice-facade.
Meanwhile, a bunny-eared ice sculpture fan takes in a display.
A family takes a picture, forming a nice silhouette.
The Harbin Festival sculptures also, apparently, can make good slides.
But why slide, when you can ride? Tourists sit in a horse-drawn carriage.
A woman taking a photo with her mobile phone is silhouetted against a sculpture.
Harbin's isn't the only ice festival running. Sochi, Russia hosts the XXII Winter Olympic Games, and the city of Yekaterinburg's annual "Ice Town" holiday sculpture display is devoted to the Games.
Ice runs, an ice maze and a festival of ice sculptures dot the ice-scape.
Figure skating takes on an aura of chilly beauty in this Ice Town sculpture.
This part of Ice Town is surrounded by illuminated palm-trees and a mountain ridge made of snow.
Not to be outdone, the Belgian city of Bruges ran its Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival from Nov. 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014. Here, sculptor Aseev, of Russia, carves a sculpture based on the Disney movie "Frozen."
Artists from all over the world made sculptures out of 250 tonnes of ice for the Bruges festival.
Belgium's next-door neighbor Germany began its "Expedition into the Eternal Ice" display on Dec. 21, 2013 in Roevershagen. Here Latvia's Donatas Mockus works on his "Iceman" sculpture.
Lastly, but not leastly, we turn to Moscow and its own "Ice Town" display in Sokolniki Park, the city's traditional site for the winter masterpieces. In this Dec. 21, 2013 picture, an icy sphinx watches over the sculptures.