Foreign Policy: China's Winter Palace

Feb 2, 2012
Originally published on February 2, 2012 11:27 am

Jonathan Browning is a British freelance photographer based in Shanghai, China.

As China's northernmost major city, Harbin is among the inhabited world's coldest metropolitan centers, but as photographer Jonathan Browning shows, each year local residents turn snowdrifts into snow cones with the Harbin Ice Festival. The annual festival — showcasing more than 2,000 ice sculptures that can tower over 150 feet in the air — draws thousands of tourists to this frozen wonderland, often called the "Ice City." The buildings are constructed with fluorescent lights encased in ice blocks, turning the temporary village into a technicolor dreamland at night.

Visitors come not only to wonder at the construction, but to participate in winter sports such as skiing, sledding, and — for the daring — ice swimming. Above, the ice city at night.

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