Gorgeous Winter Wonderlands Around the World

Italy Hit By Cold Spell

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Italy Hit By Cold Spell
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images Europe

Winter Wonderland

If you live north of the Equator, the season of winter is a time for cold temperatures, ice, and snow. Landscapes and structures are transformed as fingers of frost creep across windows, slender icicles dangle from rooflines, lakes and rivers grow still beneath sheets of ice, and powdery snow blankets everything. Settle into your favorite chair and take a trip with us as we visit winter wonderlands the world over.

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The Roman amphitheatre of Plovdiv covered by snow
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A rare snowfall blankets Roman ruins in the town of Plovdiv. Located along the Maritsa River in southern Bulgaria, Plovdiv is the country's second-largest city, its roots dating back to the 6th century BCE. Over the millennia, Plovdiv has been ruled by Greeks, Persians, Huns, and Romans, all of which have left cultural traces behind.

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Ice carver at Lake Louise ice festival
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Every January for the past quarter-century, artists, residents, and visitors to Lake Louise in Alberta's Banff National Park have celebrated winter at the Ice Magic International Ice Carving Competition. For the 2014 event, this carver paid homage to the Winter Olympics, which Calgary, Alberta, hosted in 1988, and Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010.

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Forbidden City Beijing in Heavy Winter By Night
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A gauzy warm glow, the result of ambient light diffused by Beijing's notoriously thick wintertime smog, envelopes the historic Forbidden City. The 600-year-old complex of nearly 1,000 buildings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the world's largest preserved collection of ancient wooden structures.

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Christianshavn canal is freezing
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With its Art Nouveau design and mantle of fluffy white snow, this subway station sign could be a Christmas card illustration. It stands outside Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.

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Berlin Reichstag in Winter
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Snow blankets the Reichstag building, the seat of Germany's Parliament in Berlin, during a snowstorm in 2013. Dating to 1894, it served as the nation's parliamentary building until burning in 1933 and was further ravaged by World War II. Partially restored in the 1960s, the structure was completely rebuilt and reopened as the nation's legislative home in 1999.

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Snow And High Winds Hit The UK
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Great Britain

Fans of "Game of Thrones" may recognize this stand of beech trees as the King's Road, but for residents of County Antrim in Northern Ireland, this stretch of Bregagh Road is known as the Dark Hedges. A portion of "Transformers: The Last Knight" also was filmed here.

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If the Netherlands is known for anything, it's windmills. Located near the port city of Rotterdam, these windmills in Kinderdijk are part of a centuries-old complex of canals, windmills, and dykes used to reclaim land from the sea and to control flooding. Since 1997, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Tourist on Svinafellsjokull Glacier in Iceland
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The thick ice walls of Svinafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell Nature Reserve of southern Iceland shimmer like dull glass in the winter light. An outlet glacier, Svínafellsjökull is part of Vatnajökull, Europe's biggest ice cap, and a mecca for hikers, ice climbers, and other outdoors enthusiasts.

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Shemshak Summit
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Citizens of Tehran, Iran, don't have to travel too far to get their ski and snowboard fix. The ski resort of Shemshak in the Alborz Mountains is less than 60 miles from the Iranian capital and one of the larger ski areas in the country.

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Snow Storms Blanket Jerusalem
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Snowfall is rare — though not unheard of — in Jerusalem, so when the white stuff blankets this ancient city, it's time to play. After a dusting of snow fell in December 2013, these young men took time out for a little old-fashioned snowball throwing. The Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound can be seen behind them.

Italy Hit By Cold Spell
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Winter doesn't bring much snow to Milan in a typical year, though plenty falls on the Italian Alps to the north. In early January 2009, a cold wave dumped heavy snow across northern Italy, blanketing Milan's Piazza Del Duomo. Milan Cathedral, in the background, is the second-largest church in Europe (only St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City is larger) and a primary tourist attraction in Milan.

Pagoda and Bell in Winter
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Hirosaki, located in Aomori Prefecture at the northern tip of Japan's main island of Honshu, is known for its long winters and heavy snows. The Saishoin Temple, built more than 350 years ago, is a draw for visitors to the region.

Snow in Morocco
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Although people may associate Morocco with deserts and not snow, the country in northwest Africa does receive snow in the High Atlas Mountains. What better way to pass the time after a dusting of alpine snow than with a snowball fight?

Heavy Snowfall Hits Seoul
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South Korea

Residents of Seoul, South Korea, explore Gyeongbokgung Palace following a record snowfall that blanketed the capital city in 2010. The historic structure, built in 1395, was both the royal residence and seat of government for the Joseon dynasty and is one of five palaces in the complex.

General view of people enjoying the snow during late afternoon at Chalet-a-Gobet
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Winter and snow mean it's time for sledding, even in 2020 during a pandemic. In the ski town of Chalet-à-Gobet, located near Lausanne, outdoor activities like sledding and skiing were still allowed under local COVID-19 measures.

Cold Snap Hits Taiwan
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Steam rises from the Xiaoyoukeng region of the Yangmingshan National Park near Taipei on a snowy January day in 2016. Although no longer volcanically active, the area is famous for its vents of sulfurous steam called fumaroles, and hot springs.

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Istanbul Covered In Snow After Hit With Severe Snow Storm
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Istanbul rang in 2016 with a snowstorm that began on New Year's Eve and lasted throughout the day. Outside the historic Hagia Sophia mosque, people and pets frolicked in the snow.

Orthodox Church Of Ukraine Celebrates Christmas
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St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine, glows under nighttime illumination, turning the falling snow into a shower of light-catching jewels. The monastery, originally built in the early 1700s, was destroyed by occupying Soviet troops in the 1930s but rebuilt following Ukraine's independence in 1991.

New York Digs Out From Winter Snowstorm
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