Beijing illuminates new winter tourism

Updated: Feb 20, 2024 By XIN WEN China Daily Print
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Visitors enjoy the annual Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival in Beijing's northwestern Yanqing district. [ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

Ice lanterns

Another popular event — the annual Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival in Beijing's northwestern Yanqing district — had attracted more than 60,000 tourists by the end of last month. Dragon-themed elements were integrated into the ice and snow sculptures to convey blessings and good fortune for the Year of the Dragon.

"A large number of dragon-related festive lanterns were set up for tourists. Folk tales based on the dragon became the main themes of this year's ice lantern design," said Zhang Haijun, head of the Yanqing Office of Ice Lanterns, who is also the designer and coordinator of the 38th Longqing Gorge Ice Lantern Festival, which runs from Jan 15 to Feb 28.

One of the features of the event is a 120-meter-long gold dragon-shaped lantern placed on the top of a mountain to welcome tourists.

Zhang said the festival, sprawling across 250,000 square meters this year, has many spectacular displays for visitors.

"We created numerous photo opportunities for tourists, basically one every 50 meters along the tour route," he said. Some game characters loved by young people were also incorporated into the ice sculptures, he added.

Three ice sculptures of female cartoon characters caught the attention of children visiting the festival. Li Yitong, a 9-year-old from Haidian district, said she liked the originality and novelty of the sculptures.

"There are different colors on every cartoon sculpture — green, pink and blue — which made the characters look so real," said Li Yitong. "I would touch them if there were no barriers."

Her mother, Zhao Jiana, who drove for about an hour to take her daughter to the event, said the novel elements of this year's festival are likely to have increased the number of visitors.

Zhao said her daughter also joined a group of children who performed a dance in an open space at the Longqing Gorge scenic area. "She was so happy that she even forgot about the freezing cold temperature that day," Zhao said.

Zhang, the head of the ice lantern office, said a glacier waterfall, which is about 26 meters high and has snow monsters and polar bears at the bottom, is another popular attraction at this year's festival.

"Our ice lantern festival is not a knockoff of the Harbin Ice and Snow World but rather another event located near Beijing, which makes the visitors feel they are in the Arctic," he said.

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