A glittering city of ice has been constructed in north-eastern China's Heilongjiang province. Ice castles, towers and elaborate structures illuminated with coloured lights form the centrepiece of the annual festival. The blocks of ice used to create the vast structures are cut from the nearby Songhua River. De-ionised water is used for some structures, making them transparent.

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Wang Zhao/AFP

The event, which also features the world's largest snow sculptures, has become hugely popular, drawing around a million visitors every year.

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Aly Song/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Ice sculptures are illuminated with coloured lights during a preview of the festivalSheng Li/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Sheng Li/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
People work on a snow sculpture in HarbinChina Daily/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Workers finish a huge snow sculpture ahead of the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow FestivalSheng Li/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Wang Zhao/AFP
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Wang Zhao/AFP
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Wang Zhao/AFP
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Wang Zhao/AFP
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Wang Zhao/AFP
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Wang Zhao/AFP
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Aly Song/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Aly Song/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Aly Song/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Aly Song/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Aly Song/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Aly Song/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Vistors ride a sleigh on frozen Songhua riverWang Zhao/AFP
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
A man walks on the frozen Songhua river alongside the venue for the Harbin ice and snow festivalWang Zhao/AFP

Harbin is one of coldest cities in China and is commonly referred to as "the ice city". The average temperature in winter is -16.8°C (1.8°F) and lows of -35°C (-31°F) are not uncommon.

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
People participate in a winter fishing event in Changling Lake in HarbinChina Daily/Reuters
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Wang Zhao/AFP
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Winter swimmers watch as a man wearing a Santa hat and beard jumps into a pool carved into thick ice covering the Songhua RiverSheng Li/Reuters

The 32nd International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival runs in the city of Harbin from 5 January to 26 February 2016.