Harbin wonders melt away as China warms

China | REUTERS 20 Feb 2019

Ice and snow sculptures carved by nearly 10,000 artists in the city of Harbin have melted during a sudden warm spell, forcing the earliest closure of the main venue at the mainland's biggest winter festival.

Daytime temperatures went above freezing in northern China's warmest week this winter, prompting the closure of the Harbin Ice and Snow World after Sunday - more than 10 days ahead of schedule - on safety concerns about falling ice.

The park in Harbin had attracted more than a million visitors since it opened on December 23.

Now, some visitors who booked to marvel at mini ice replicas of the Colosseum and the Milan Cathedral among many features are disappointed by the early closure. Last year it shut on March 10.

"Why didn't you inform us in advance," a would-be visitor wrote on Weibo. "I've booked my train ticket and hotel."

Harbin's winter festival has drawn millions of visitors every year since its start in the early 1980s. Then Harbin Ice and Snow World opened in 1999.

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