10 Fascinating Things About Harbin,China's Ice Festival City
These 9 facts are sure to pique your interest in China's ice festival city
Harbin, the renowned 'Ice City', is located in the south of Heilongjiang Province, the most northeastern part of China with a shape of a swan when viewed on a map.
Not only for the city's special position, but also as the center of Heilongjiang's political, economic, educational and cultural life, Harbin is described as the pearl beneath the swan's neck.
Being the most popular winter destination, Harbin is famous for its very cold winters, ice and snow sculptures and exotic architecture. Every year from December to Februay of the next year is the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, and many parts of the city are turned into a wonderland of snow.
Beside that, there are plenty more reasons to relish a visit to this city, From various amazing Russian food to Siberian tigers in its surrounds, these 9 facts are sure to pique your interest in China's ice festival city.
1. The real life Frozen -
Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival
From late December to late February, Harbin hosts the International Ice & Snow Festival. Exhibitions of snow and ice sculptures, kept pristine by subzero temperatures, are dotted across multiple locations. The biggest – and priciest to attend – is Harbin Ice and Snow World, which showcases the flashiest and most neck-craning sculptures.
Harbin's sculptures have been dazzling visitors for 31 years. Today the festival area covers 750,000 sq m and themed zones present glistening renditions of architectural wonders, folklore and traditional crafts. Some border on the surreal, so step back and enjoy the chubby snow fairies, dragons and towering igloos.
2. The snow fairyland - China Snow Town
Snow Town is located at an elevation of 1500 meters in Hailin city, 280 kilometers from Harbin city. It is nestled in a valley surrounded by the thick mountain forest.
a hundred Northeast folk houses are covered by heavy snow and connected together, forming various shapes like running horses, huge rabbits, mushrooms… Smoke curls up from kitchen chimneys. Snow hangs from the roof to the ground, creating a unique scene of "snow curtains".
Spring Festival (China’s New Year Festival) endows Snow Town a especially joyous ambient. Fireworks and big red lanterns hanging up in front of each house brighten the snow in night, and make it a colorful world.
In snow Town, make sure not miss wood buildings, racecourses, rimed pines, white birch forests, and stunning sunrise on Yangcao Mountain, as well as snow activities like snow skiing, snowmobiling, horse/dog-sled…
3. One church outlasted them all -
Church of St Sophia
The gilded Orthodox churches of Harbin, steadily built up by the Russians, were ransacked during China's Cultural Revolution. But one gem remains: the magnificent Church of St Sophia has been polished from its dark green onion domes to the golden spire-top crosses. This 1907 church may have been stripped of its interior splendours – today it's a museum hosting a photographic exhibition about Harbin history – but it's a striking reminder of the city's Russian heritage and an unmissable photo op for visitors to the city.
4 Siberian tigers are right at home -
Siberian Tiger Park
Siberian Tiger Park is located on the north bank of the Songhua River to the northwest of Harbin, occupying an area of 1,440,000 square meters (355.8 acres). It is the largest natural park for wild Siberian tigers in the world at present.
There are over 500 purebred Siberian tigers here, with 100 visible to visitors. In addition, visitors can also see white tigers, lions, lynx, leopards, and black pumas as well as Bengali tigers.
Unlike common zoos, the Siberian Tiger Park exchanges the roles of visitors and animals. Except in the walking area and the platform for viewing the tigers, tourists must take a bus encircled by wire mesh to all the other scenic spots while the tigers roam freely in the fields.
5. The most exotic place in Harbin -
Known as the 'Eastern Moscow', Harbin has always been regarded as a unique and exotic city. The most exotic place in Harbin is Central Street. As a new comer to this city without any idea of where to go, be sure to start your journey at 'Central Street'. This long corridor of European architectural art is the pride of every local peopel in this city. It provides an enthralling destination which abounds with history, attracting tourists from home and abroad.
This street is a junction where both Harbin's modern and historical civilizations can be seen. It interprets the city perfectly and has witnessed the most brilliant European cultural development for 300 years.
6. Best ski resort in China -
The Yabuli International Ski Resort
The Yabuli International Ski Resort, the biggest and best ski resort in China, is 200 kilometers (124 miles) east of Harbin.
The resort provides great skiing with high mountains and good snow. Local skiers enjoy the high elevation and the fact that the snow is neither too hard nor too powdery.
Besides skiing, visitors can also take advantage of the other entertainment facilities at Yabuli International Ski Resort, such as the mini golf course, tennis court, turf courts, hot-air balloons, para-gliders among others.
The combination of activities, the beautiful forest and comfortable facilities offer tourists a relaxing and fun vacation.
7. Russian flair spices the city
Russians streamed into Harbin to flee the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution, gradually shaping the town with Russian flavours and architecture. To this day, you're just as likely to chow down on pelmeni (Russian dumplings) as their Chinese equivalent. Sample some Russian flavour at train-themed Caféxpress (Xitoudao Dajie), decked out with a treasure chest of vodkas, and look out for souvenir shops along Zhongyang Dajie packed with Russian kitsch. But before you imagine you're in Red Square, remember than 5903km and a five-hour time difference separate Harbin and Moscow.
8. Rich Jewish history
The biggest Jewish community in the Far East made Harbin their home. In the 1920s, about 20,000 Jews, mainly Russian, moved to the city. Mostly they fled persecution in Russia and, despite Harbin's challenging conditions, they thrived, building two synagogues along the way. Many fled during the First and Second World Wars and the community dwindled with the last Harbin Jew dying in 1985 – but the synagogues still stand, and you can find traces of Harbin's Jewish history at the Huangshan Jewish Cemetery in Harbin's eastern suburbs.
9. The most beautiful building in China -
Harbin Opera House
From the bridge connecting bustling downtown Harbin to bucolic Sun Island, the new Harbin Opera House comes into view, with its impressive sloping forms that suggest the snow-capped mountains found in this northern Chinese region. Emerging from the surrounding wetlands, the building’s double-humped silhouette rises to an apex of 183 feet and curls around mounds of glass panels that appear to burst forth like spikey balloons.
10. Fun Animal Show -
Harbin Polarland is the first polar land themed park combining animal shows, polar land sights and an interactive experience into one. It is located at the famous scenic site in this city – Sun Island. Based on the mysterious polar region and using design ideas from an advanced theme park, the park is ready to offer every visitor a wondrous, dreamy and happy round-the-world journey which is told as stories or scenarios.
In Harbin Polarland, other animals from the North Pole such as arctic wolves, arctic foxes and polar bears can be seen in "North Pole Animal's Home". Come here and enjoy a memorable polar land journey!
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price: 2899rmb/2999rmb(Chinese New Year)
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