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Harbin China International Ice and Snow Festival

At one time, Harbin China was one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia because it served as the terminus for the Trans-Siberian Railway. The latest Paris fashions could be found there before anywhere else in China.

Harbin China bears the nickname 'The Pearl on the swan's neck' because the shape of Heilongjiang resembles a swan. ‘Oriental Moscow’ or 'Oriental Paris' for the architecture in the city.

Harbin China is also known as 'Ice City' for its long and cold winter.

Harbin is best known most recently for its famous International Ice and Snow Festival, the festival is one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals…. See Below.

The modern city of Harbin China originated in 1898 with the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway by Russia.

Following the Russian defeat in the Russian-Japanese War (1904-5), Russia's influence declined, and 160,000 nationals from 33 countries including the United States, Germany, and France moved to Harbin.

Sixteen countries established consulates and set up several thousand industrial, commercial and banking companies in Harbin. The Chinese also established their own businesses in brewing, foodstuffs and the textile industry.

City Architecture

Sometimes called the Oriental Moscow, Harbin is one of China's most beautiful cities.

The city is well-known for its unique, Russian-influenced architecture.Zhong Yang Street (Central Street), one of the main business streets in Harbin, is a perfect remnant of the bustling international business activities at the turn of the 20th century.

The 1.4km long street is a veritable museum of European architectural styles, including Baroque and Byzantine fades, Jewish architectural wonders, little Russian bakeries, French fashion houses, American snack food outlets, Japanese restaurants, and a Russian Orthodox church: St. Sophia Cathedral.

St. Sophia took nine years to build and was completed in 1932. It has now been made into a museum as a showcase of the multi-cultural architecture of Harbin.

Many local citizens believed that the Orthodox churchs damaged the local feng shui, so they donated money to build a Chinese monastery in 1921, the Ji Le Temple.

Harbin China International Ice and Snow Festival

I have never seen a more incredible display of Ice and Snow Art in my life.

Geographically, it is located in Northeast China under the direct influence of the cold winter wind from Siberia.

The average temperature in summer is 21.2 degrees Celsius, -16.8 degrees Celsius in winter. It can be as cold as - 38.1 degrees Celsius in winter.

This is cold, over prepare, you will be happy you did.

The annual "Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival" as well as snow and ice competitions has been held since 1985.The festival officially runs from January 5 through February 15, but often opens a week early and runs into March, since it’s usually still cold enough.

The "Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival" is one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec Winter Carnival, and Norway's Ski Festival.

When I visited Harbin, there were many places to see the ice and snow displays, they are all over town.

There are ice sculptures all around town and the original Ice Park is still in the city centre.However, a new, bigger, better Ice Park has been created just outside of town.

The taxi drivers were not so good, on the Taxi meter, to get out to the New Ice Park, its about RMB 15, however most will say 30, if you ask to use the meter, they refuse to pick you up. This happened to me 5 times, in the end I had to negotiate the fare, coming back the taxi’s were happy to use the meter.

Its amazing, as you can see by the photos.

Everything is made from ice blocks, colored lights are placed within the blocks, it really is spectacular.

Most of the Ice Parks will be closed during the day and open just before sunset.

Be very careful, no health and safe rules here, take good walking boots, the temperature is about -20 so it will be cool.

All of the Ice parks etc look better at night, during the day enjoy the town, Russian churches etc to see, great architecture.

The snow festival is actually separate from the ice festival; both take place on the wide open spaces of Sun Island Park north of Harbin’s river.

There you will find the International Snow Sculpturing competitions; these are international teams making a sculpture out of big blocks of snow.

As well as all these international team working away, you will find, all the huge sculptures done by the locals, this will amaze you.

A great place to go for a long weekend, something you will always remember.I would be happy to set up something for you if you would like, please just contact me.

More Info on Harbin China


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