These ice structures standing at more than 40 feet tall are made by hand from thousands of individual icicles.
Looking like frozen fortresses, these pieces of ice art took 30 ice artisans around 10,000 hours to create. They even have slides and thrones built into them for a more realistic castle appearance.
Icicle by icicle, the mammoth castles in William Hawrelak Park in Edmonton, Canada were made. The icicles are grown on racks which are sprayed throughout the night and left to freeze. This process begins in October and lasts until late November.
The ice artisans then place the icicle-like building blocks until the structure is the desired height before they begin to design the castles.
The picturesque images of the soaring ice fortresses were captured by photographer Joe Chowaniec who said temperatures can drop to around -15 degrees Celsius.
"Daily tasks might include grooming the castle's floor, which is made up of crushed ice and snow so that it isn't too slick for guests. The crew will also carve out crawl spaces for guests to move around the castles and also makes sure the slides and throne are maintained.”
"This often requires additional chiselling or carving throughout the season. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the six different locations throughout North America. Inside the castles, there are fire pits, ice slides, water fountains, an LED wall of dancing lights, ice thrones, and nightly fire dances. At the end of the season in March, they bulldoze it down and let it melt. They rebuild it each year from scratch so each castle is completely different. They start in October by getting the groundwork ready and by late November they start the icicle building process again."
"It is truly something to see - you can go multiple times, different times of the day in different weather conditions and experience something completely different each time. My favourite time to visit is about an hour before sunset and watching it light up as the sun rises."
Images courtesy of Joe Chowaniec/REX/Shutterstock.