Harbin, located in the northeast of China, in the southwest of Heilongjiang Province, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang Province, a sub-provincial city in China, is the center of politics, economy and culture in Northeast China and also a mega city coming first in the area of land under jurisdiction and coming third in registered population among the provincial cities in China. Its special historical course and geographical location have created an exotic beautiful city, Harbin, which has not only brought together the history and culture of northern ethnic minorities but also integrated Chinese and foreign cultures. It is a famous historical and cultural city and tourist city in China, also known as "the Ice City", “Oriental Moscow” and “Oriental Paris”.
Harbin, with a long history, is a city that has never had city walls. As early as 22,000 years ago, humans were found to be active here in the late Paleolithic Era. About 5,000 years ago, Harbin entered the Neolithic Age. About 3,000 years ago, in the late Shang Dynasty, Harbin entered the Bronze Age and was in the distribution area of the culture of Baijinbao-the earliest ancient civilization county in the Heilongjiang region.
After the founding of a new China, Harbin quickly restored and developed its national economy, and during the "First Five-Year Plan" period, Harbin was one of the national key construction cities, 13 of the 156 major assistance construction projects offered by the former Soviet Union settling down in Harbin, making it become an important industrial base in China and quickly shift from a consumption city to a new industrial city. From 1958 to 1965, Harbin went through a tortuous development process involving "the Great Leap Forward" and economic adjustment. During “the Cultural Revolution”, Harbin's national economy suffered serious setbacks, with its normal economic and social order being severely damaged. Since the reform and opening-up, it has made outstanding achievements in terms of national economy and social undertakings.
In recent years, Harbin has witnessed rapid economic and social development, with its urban economic strength listed among China’s top ten and tourism industry listed among China’s top 20 competitive tourist cities, ranking 3rd among "China's Happiest Cities", ranking among the top 20 global summer resort cities. Harbin has been honored as the "City of Music" by the United Nations and has been granted such honorable titles by China as the "National-level Civilized City", the "National Public Transport Urban Construction Demonstration City", the "Gorgeous Wetland City", the "National Double-Support Model City", the "China's Most Competitive Regional Finance Center City" and the "Advanced City in the National Cultural System Reform".
Sun Island Scenic Area: It, located on the northern bank of the Songhua River, is a floodplain wetland scenic area located in the center of the city, with its core scenic spot occupying an area of 15 km2, its planned area being 38 km2 and peripheral protected area covering an area of 88 km2. It is also a state-level scenic spot, famous for its unique natural northern scenery and romantic European-style views, boasting towering old trees, vast swamps, blue sky, clear water, pure springs, roaring waterfalls, shady trees, singing birds and fragrant flowers. Its sun bathing spot, covering an area of 90,000 km2, creates a wild river beach bathing place for visitors with rustic, rough, and natural wilderness scenery. The Sun Island Snow and Ice Art Museum enable tourists to enjoy magic ice sculpture and snow landscapes on hot summer days; the newly-built Yu Zhixue Art Museum, Russian Art Exhibition Hall, Northern Folk Art Boutique Museum, the Sun Island Art Museum, Harbin Ice and Snow Culture Exhibition Hall and the Sun Island Sino-Russian Oil Painting Artistic Creation Exchange Base allow tourists to enjoy the artistic charm of the ice and snow culture; the Russian-style Town and Harbin-Niigata Friendship Park exhibit strong exotic customs; such scenic spots as the Deer Park and Squirrel Island are refreshing to tourists; in the 56-hectare bird sanctuary in the northern part of the scenic area, green grass and woods provide a good ecological environment for birds to migrate, feed and breed.
Central Street: It was built in 1898, and has now developed into a bustling commercial street with a total length of 1450m, starting from the Songhua River Flood Control Monument in the north and extending to Jingwei Street in the south. Central Street involves the four most influential architecture schools in the history of Western architecture and almost 300 years of the most glamorous cultural development history of Europe. Due to this, people usually compare it with Regent Street in London, the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, Linden Street in Berlin, Ginza Street in Tokyo, the Bund in Shanghai and Victoria Avenue in Tianjin. Walking on Central Street, tourists feel like they have entered a foreign country.
Ice and Snow World: The park area, located on the north bank of the Songhua River, to the west of the Harbin-Heihe Highway, adjacent to Harbin Sun Island Scenic Area, is a large ice and snow paradise integrating ice and snow animation, ice and snow shows, ice acrobatics, and ice sculpture exhibitions and perfectly combining technology, art and culture. When night falls, the brilliant ice and snow world becomes magical and magnificent.
Harbin Polarland: Located in the beautiful Sun Island Scenic Area, it is the world's first polar animal-performing amusement park. The newly launched Polar Whale Dazzle Voice Orchestra has brought together the world's leading polar animal celebrities to perform the world's top seven classic performances here. In the world’s unique polar beluga subaqueous show, a polar beluga and two beauty trainers jointly perform a world-touching legend “Heart of the Ocean"! The Antarctic penguin Mambo, the world's first penguin born in an inland city, is more a tourism mascot of Harbin City than a happy angel filled with unusual but wonderful ideas. China's coolest polar bear brothers and magic talent sea lion Billy and his pop star group present you with a fantastic polar land show feast.
Dragon Tower: Short for Heilongjiang Radio and Television Tower, it is a comprehensive multi-functional tower integrating radio and television transmission, tourism and sightseeing, catering and entertainment, advertising and communication, and wireless communication, the highest tower in Asia and the second highest tower in the world. It is rich in internal resources, and Dragon Tower Technology Park, known as "Longjiang No.1 Paradise" is a national youth science education practice base; "Qin Terracotta Battle Formation Show" exhibits a magnificent momentum and allows you to experience the charm of terracotta warriors. The "Dragon Descendant Wax Museum" contains about 40 wax statues of emperors such as Emperor Qinshihuang, Wu Zetian, and Genghis Khan. On the 181-meter-high sightseeing floor, there is the first celebrity hand shape museum in China, where about 300 hand shapes of celebrities from all walks of life are collected, comparable with the Hollywood Walk of Fame; a UFO revolving restaurant at the height of 186m covers an area of 1256m2, with a comfortable and elegant environment, providing exquisite Chinese and Western delicacies.
Siberian Tiger Park: Located on the north bank of the Songhua River, it is the world's largest Siberian tiger breeding center and the rare animal appreciation park, integrating appreciation, entertainment, science education, summer heat escape and vacation, constructed on the basis of protecting the rare animals, Siberian tigers, with the aim to returning tigers to the forests, and bringing a spiritual respect for tigers. The park consists of an adult tiger park, a cub park, a deer park, a bear park, a science education center and an entertainment area.
Yabuli Ski Resort: Located 25km southeast of Yabuli Town, Shangzhi City, it is the largest ski resort in China and has successively undertaken all snow events of such national and international games as the Fifth and Seventh National Winter Games, the Third Asian Winter Games and the 24th Universiade Games. It has complete ski resort service facilities and a Windmill Mountain Villa with a grand scale, which can guarantee the accommodation and rest of those involved in the games during the sports events and receives tourists and vacationers at ordinary times.
The traditional Chinese food culture of the Chinese nation for thousands of years blending with the Western food culture has contributed to Harbin's unique catering culture, i.e. Harbin flavor, with its characteristics summed up as "Delicacy Revealed in Simplicity and Essence Contained in Roughness".
Northeastern Stews: Influenced by the Manchu, northeasterners love stews. The so called "Eight Stews" include Stewed Chicken with Mushroom, Stewed Spare Ribs with Green Beans, Stewed Pork with Vermicelli, Stewed Catfish with Eggplant, Demoli Stewed Fresh Fish, and Stewed Beef with Tomato. Northeastern stews are easy to cook, delicious, affordable and widely appealing.
White Pork and Black Pudding: A traditional delicacy of Manchu, also the most popular local dish among the urban and rural people in Northeast China, featuring mouthfuls of meaty flavor, tender but not greasy, alternating red and white and appealing color.
Fried Pork with Pickled Cabbage and Vermicelli: A local flavor dish in Northeast China, with pickled vegetables made of fresh cabbage, tasting sour, crispy, tender and appetizing, vermicelli made of refined potato flour, transparent and flexible, white and bright; streaky pork with alternating red lean and white fat, really tempting.
Frozen Persimmons and Pears: In winter, persimmons and pears frozen as hard as steel balls and discuses are in season. People can nibble at them slowly or gobble them down after putting them in cold water to remove their ice crusts, enjoying a quite different cool and sweet feeling.
Frozen Dessert: A fast selling food in a cold drink store throughout the years, made of milk, egg white, coffee, rock candy, characterized by various shapes, delicate styles, rich nutrients and a sweet taste. The colder the food is, the more Harbin people feel like eating, which makes many non-local guests flabbergasted.
Candied Haw: A fast selling food in Harbin in winter, found on the food vending stands or sold by small vendors wandering about the streets. The sugar-coated haws are sweet and crisp, good on the stomach, able to neutralize the sickliness of grease or rich foods, and dispel the effects of alcohol. All tourists like them and are willing to taste them to experience a memorable sour and cool feeling.
Sausage: European-style sausage with Russian flavor. In 1913, a craftsman called "Ajinbis" spread techniques for making sausage of different varieties, including sausage, dry sausage, braised pork with pine nut and tea sausage, to China. The sausage smoked with a traditional log-based smoking process is neither too salty nor too flat, oily but not greasy, soft and palatable, with tangy smoky aroma and bright color, leaving a lingering aftertaste in the mouth. It is a perfect convenience food for all ages to carry during travelling, represented by Harbin Roulian Sausage, Churin Lidaosi Sausage and old Harbin Sausage.
"Khleb" Bread: "One Big Strange Lid-Shaped Specialty in Harbin", pronounced as "dà liě ba", with a diameter of over 25cm, weighing about 2.5kg each, deeply favored by people due to its charcoal roast technique and special taste, best-known kind being the big bread produced by Harbin Churin Group Joint Stock Co., Ltd. The bread has a history of over 90 years, with a long shelf life, which is easy to carry, attracting people waiting in line to buy it every day.
"Shayike" Bread: With flour, hops and salt as the main raw material, baked in the miscellaneous hardwood oven, with bright thin crust and special flavor with caramel smell, soft, palatable and easy to digest, able to be served with dishes of various kinds, without affecting its unique flavor. It is popular sugar-free staple bread and also one of the specialties of Harbin.
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