Every year, China holds the world's largest ice festival in the city of Harbin. The spectacular event celebrates the cold weather with enormous ice sculptures, dog sledding, and winter swimming; this year's theme is "Pearl on the Crown of Ice & Snow." Starting today, people can enjoy the sights and events until February 25. There are plenty of different tours to take, but considering the freezing temperatures in Harbin, a virtual tour might be the warmer option. Check out these images taken on the first day of festivities. 

Heavily bundled children enjoying the ice slide.

Police officers have a quick chat in front of one of the many ice sculptures. 

A family takes a ride in a light-up carriage around the festival.

A woman uses her selfie stick to get the ice castle into the shot.

Brave visitors make their way up a flight of ice stairs. 

A woman examines the bricks of one of the ice sculptures.

A family poses with a selfie stick by the festivities. 

Visitors carve doodles and messages into the illuminated blocks of ice.

The opening ceremony of the festival.

People walk through the large ice structures. 

A wide shot of the ice sculpture city. 

A man poses by one of the larger ice sculptures. 

Dog sleds carrying tourists run past snow sculptures. 

A couple laughs as they walk on the ice. 

A visitor dressed like a cartoon character (Popeye?) poses with one of the snow sculptures. 

All photos courtesy of Getty Images