Harbin is located in north-eastern China. The city is the center of the Province Heilongjiang. Some believe that the province has the shape of a swan, and Harbin is its jewel, located right on the neck of the beautiful bird. Symbolism depicts reality, because the capital of Heilongjiang is the economic, educational and cultural center of northern China. In addition, Harbin has an important connecting role between South and North Asia.
In this Chinese city, located close to Russia, the active tourist season starts with the onset of winter.
Harbin is known as "Ice City", for its harsh winter climate. During the long months of frigidness, the temperatures drop to below minus 30 degrees Celsius. These conditions create a perfect opportunity to increase the city’s popularity. Each year the Harbin International Festival takes place on the ice. The event quickly turned the city into one of the most popular winter destinations in China. The annual festival is one of four world events with similar themes. The official launch is on January 5. It continues over a month, if the weather remains suitable for ice art.
Huge snow buildings and skilled ice carvings, combined with lavish fireworks are part of the attractions of the ice festival in Harbin. Fine art has no boundaries - local or visiting artists recreate world famous buildings and landmarks, through unique sculptures. Snow glittering monuments are born on both sides of the frozen river Songhua, across the city.
Residents of Harbin are hopeful that the festival would help them win the race for the city in which to hold the Winter Olympics in 2022. The city has already submitted an application.
Despite chilly weather, the Chinese city warms visitors with a great variety of places to visit.
The ten million strong Harbin is a place where the fates of many people and religions intertwine. The Chinese city is home to a large Jewish and Russian community. Therefore, the outlook of Harbin is a great mixture of oriental and European architectural styles. In town you can see unique buildings, one of which is the Saint Sofia Church. The temple was built by Orthodox Russians in 1907.
The central street Zhong Yang Street is another good example of skilful combination of international business activities in the 21st century. The 1.4 km long street is home to Russian bakeries, French fashion houses, American fast food , Japanese restaurants , as well as Byzantine and Baroque buildings and facades.
The local Chinese worship their religion in the remarkable Ji Le Temple. It represents the largest group of Buddhist buildings in the Heilongjiang Province. The religious temple is situated on a total area of 27, 570 square meters. Another interesting landmark is the Harbin Xinhua Bookstore. The building impresses with its size. The bookstore is said to show its brilliance in the night, when the beautiful illuminations give it an even more impressive look.
Among the sights of the city are Zhaolin Park, Sun Island Scenic Area, Hongbo Square and Harbin Mosque.
In August, Harbin welcomes the time for music and dancing. Each year, on 6 August starts the colourful Harbin Summer Music Concert. If you decide to visit the Chinese city, prepare for colourful musical pictures, recreated by artists from around the world. The festival lasts ten or eleven days.