HARBIN, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- With farmers leaving land fallow during freezing temperatures and factories braced for an upcoming vacation, the northeastern city of Harbin is welcoming its "hottest" tourist season with ice and snow.
The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival had a soft opening of world's largest ice and snow park earlier this week.
Covering an area of 800,000 square meters, the park used a record 180,000 cubic meters of ice and 150,000 cubic meters of snow this year. It was built in 20 days and is scheduled to officially open before Christmas.
The main activities of the 34th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will begin in January 2018. It is estimated to use one million cubic meters of ice and snow to make carvings and sculptures featuring Russian and other European styles, according to the municipal government.
A series of ice sculpture competitions will also be held to boost the development of ice and snow culture.
Ice and snow have become the name card of Harbin, which was known as "the oriental Moscow" for its Russian-style buildings such as St. Sohpia Cathedral. The festival brought in 40 million yuan (6.13 million U.S. dollars) in revenue during the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday in 2016.