Harbin has quite a sombre history of involvement in the wars having been occupied by both Japanese forces and the Soviet Army. It’s very close to China’s borders with Russia and the Russian influence in the city is obvious. From food to cyrillic signs to shop owners bilingual in Russian and Mandarin, I’d bet that Harbin remains a popular nearby vacation spot.
The city looks very different from what you’d expect from a Chinese city. The main street, a stretch of road called Central Street is bordered by European-styled buildings and a short walk away is the best-known landmark, the early 20th century Russian Orthodox Saint Sofia Church which is now a museum.
In late December, preparations for the snow exhibitions was still underway and I wonder how they get rid of the unwanted ice shavings since they don’t melt (or would solidify anyway in minutes) and you can’t exactly just wash them down the drain. I believe the sculptures around town are student works.
There weren’t a lot of nights that we would willingly take a stroll around the streets since it’s so cold the town thermometer broke but we made it down to Songhua River at the end of Central Street on a few occasions and I’ll leave you with pictures.