the largest snow sculpture ever created
Luffy Saturday, January 12, 2008 ArtRising out of the snow, this magnificent sculpture is the centrepiece of the Ice And Snow Festival, held annually in the northeastern city of Harbin, China.
Called Romantic Feelings, it is a staggering 115ft high and 656ft long - the largest snow sculpture ever created.
It was made by joining together 15ft square blocks of natural ice and snow, taken from the nearby Songhua River, which have been compressed to withstand blows from hatchets, saws and shovels.
Romantic Feelings is a staggering 115ft high and 656ft long. The ice maiden: China unveils largest snow sculpture ever created
600 sculptors from 40 countries have used 120,000 cubic feet of snow and ice to create the Olympic themed landscape - a vista of Russian churches, French cathedrals, Chinese palaces and, of course, an ice Acropolis.
There is even a version of Stonehenge to celebrate the London Olympics in 2012.
At night they are dazzlingly lit by coloured lasers and lanterns, creating a multicoloured translucent display.
The amazing spectacle is expected to attract an estimated 800,000 tourists - 90 per cent of them Chinese.
Since the festival's launch in 1985, it has been the city's biggest individual means of income.
Workers are desperately having to shore up these stunning ice sculptures in Harbin, China, as rising temperatures threaten to melt them
Harbin, which is in Heilongjiang Province on the edge of Siberia, is one of China's coldest places and winter temperatures can drop to -35C, which you might think cold enough for preserving snow sculptures.
However, organisers are increasingly concerned about the effects of global warming on this year's sculptures.
Many of them are melting rapidly in the midday sun and emergency repairs have already been carried out to stop them collapsing completely.
The festival traditionally runs from mid-December to early February, but it is feared that the rising temperatures - last winter it reached a record 6.6C - could see it significantly shortened.