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