Travel guide to Harbin, China

Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang Province, which borders Russia in the north. Situated in the middle reaches of the Songhua River, it is a busy river port. With several highways and railways converging at Harbin, the city is an important transportation hub in northeastern China.

Harbin used to be a fishing village, and its name, in Manchu dialect, means drying fishnets. Unlike most provincial capitals in China, it has a very short history. Harbin was incorporated as a town in 1898. Since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 it has rapidly evolved into an industrial city.

The Sonhua flows through the city from west to east, providing an ideal place for summer swimming.

Winter is cold and long there, usually lasting seven months from October to April. The long winter gives birth to the famous art of ice sculpture.

The Sun Island is one of northern China’s most scenic spots and is famous throughout the country as a resort. The island is in the Songhua River and contains many sanatoriums, villas, pavilions and kiosks surrounded by trees and flower beds.

The hunting Ground at Taoshan (Peach Mountains) is China’s first hunting ground opened to foreign tourists. Located at the western foot of the lesser Xing’an Mountains, it covers more than 49,410 acres of vast virgin forest, and is only a four-hour train ride north of Harbin.

Game includes bears, red deer, wild boar, lynx, otters, weasels, snow rabbits and squirrels.

These are held in Zhaolin Park in January and February every year. Ice-carvings of a great variety are displayed. In the evening, the whole park is lit with lanterns, and the glittering ice-sculptures turn it into a shining crystal palace.


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