The northeastern Chinese city of Harbin is well known throughout the world as being the host of the famous Ice Lantern Festival which takes place every year. People from all over the world head to Harbin each winter for the month-long festival that features a variety of exhibits, activities, and artworks made out of snow and ice.
Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang Province and is known as its political, educational, cultural, and economic center. The Jin Dynasty, which lasted from 1115 to 1234, was born here, as was the Qing Dynasty which stretched from 1644 to 1911. When the 19th century came to a close, Russia erected a terminal here for the Middle East Railway and thousands of immigrants from dozens of nations migrated here. You can see the Russian influence in some of the city’s wonderful architecture, such as the Zhongyang Dajie and the St. Sofia Orthodox Church.
Along with the fascinating buildings, Harbin and the surrounding area also feature a great deal of natural beauty including the Songhua River. The city is an ideal location for the snow and ice show since it gets quite cold during the winters and this has led it to become known as the Ice City. During the summers, one of the most popular spots is the Sun Island Scenic Resort.
The food in the Harbin area is quite distinct as it reflects the city’s culture and history as well as its geographical position next to Russia. You’ll be able to find some excellent restaurants that serve both western cuisine as well as local Chinese fare. Harbin knows it’s a popular destination and is well prepared for the number of visitors it receives.
The transportation systems are top class and you can arrive by air water. The hotels are also top notch and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a suitable place to stay, no matter what your travel budget is. Make sure you have reservations if you decide to visit when the festival’s on though. If you visit the festival, you’ll find a lot of buses to take you there as well as to the Harbin Ice and Snow World destination at St. Sofia Church.
The Sun Island Scenic Resort is made up of Sun Island and various smaller islands. It’s located along the Songhua River and in the winter it hosts the Snow Carving Festival. Close to the resort you’ll find the Siberian Tiger Park. This wonderful attraction is the home to over 500 beautiful Siberian tigers of all ages. It’s an ideal location to see how these endangered animals live together in their environment.
Some of the other things to see in town include the Harbin Construction Arts Gallery, which is also known as St. Sofia Church, and the Dragon Tower. This tower is used for broadcasting and is the highest in Asia as well as the world’s second tallest. If you’d like to see some more fine examples of Russian architecture you should head to the Temple of Bliss and Zhongyang Dajie (Central Street), which is filled with numerous European structures including Renaissance and baroque buildings.
Also, if you head down Central Street you’ll come across many of the city’s top shops and restaurants. If you’d like to see what the surrounding area has to offer you can always take a trip to the Yabuli International Ski Resort. This excellent skiing area can be found in the charming Yabuli Winding Village. A trip to Harbin will enable you to enjoy some fascinating history, culture, architecture, activities, and festivals of this fabulous Chinese city and local region.