Phone Code: 0451
Postal Code: 150000
Area: 53,100 Sq km (19,691.1 Sq miles)
Population: 10,636,000 (in 2010)
Nationalities: Han, Hui, Manchu, Chaoxian, Daur, Hezhen, Kirgiz, Elunchun and Mongolian
Neighboring Areas: Jilin Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
Location: On the middle reaches of the Songhuajiang River, Harbin is located in the southwest of the Heilongjiang Province and on the Southern Songnen Plain.
Physical Features: Harbin City sits on predominantly, flat land through which the Songhuajiang River flows. The southeastern part overlaps the Zhangguangcailing Mountains, so the 10 eastern counties under its jurisdiction are relatively hilly and mountainous.
History: Surviving from the late Paleolithic Age about 22,000 year ago, it was once the birthplace of the Jin (1115 - 1234) and Qing (1644 - 1911) dynasties. It is rich in glorious revolutionary tradition owing to a group of national heroes that originated here. It formed the rudiments of a modern city along with the construction of the China Eastern Railway from 1896 to 1903. In the early 1900s, it became an international commercial port, where over 160,000 alien residents from 33 foreign countries have ever lived. Nowadays, it is emerging as a city of tourism, attracting more and more travelers with its exotic flavors and magnificent backdrop of ice and snow.
Attractions: Known as 'Ice City', 'Oriental Moscow' and ‘Oriental Paris’, Harbin is a galaxy of beautiful landscapes, exotic flavors and the fascinating history and culture of northern ethnic minorities. The annual Harbin Summer Music Concert, Ice and Snow Festival and Ice Lantern Garden Party fully display its deep historical and cultural foundation. Yabuli International Ski Resort is the largest skiing resort both locally and internationally. For historical reasons, it owns both Jile Temple and Confucius Temple of the traditional Chinese heritage, and St. Sofia Orthodox Church and Central Avenue of the Russian, Roman, Parisian and Greek influences. Together with Zhaolin Park, Sun Island Scenic Area, Jingbo Lake, Wudalianchi (Five-linked Pool), Zhalong Nature Reserve and other cultural and natural sights, they make the city of unique features that would appeal to any tourist.
Transportation: Located at the hinterland of the Asia-Pacific Economic Development Zone, it is the transportation hub of North-East Asia, Europe and the Pacific Ocean, having an advanced transport system.
Air: Harbin Taiping International Airport has opened 75 national and international air routes to over 50 domestic cities and dozens of cities in Far East land of Russia. From the airport, there are regular flights to the other 7 airports in the Heilongjiang Province, except for Daqing Airport.
Train: There are two main railway stations in the city – Harbin Railway Station which is a receiving-departure station for the trains passing by and East Railway Station which is a terminal station for the trains departing from or arriving at the city. From Harbin, there are trains to all the cities and towns in northern China and most touristic interest cities in other parts of China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Yantai and Jinan. There have been bullet trains operating between Harbin and Qiqihar, Mudanjiang, Suihua and Jiamusi in Heilongjiang Province.
Ship and Ferry: As the largest inland river port in China, it has waterways to Japan, North Korea, South Korea and some other countries and regions in Southeast Asia. In the city, there are 3 ferry lines to Sun Island Scenic Area.
Bus: Bus stations in the city are distributed everywhere and the relatively large-sized are Nangang Bus Station and Jiaohua Bus Station near to Harbin Railway Station. From the city, travelers can take a bus to all the cities and counties in Heilongjiang Province and over 20 domestic cities of other provinces. In the city, bus routes radiate in all directions. There are buses to the major shopping malls, railway stations, hotels and scenic spots. For the convenience of the travelers, special sightseeing bus routes are also opened.
Taxi: The starting fare of the taxis is either CNY7 or CNY8 according to different cars. After 3 km (1.9 miles), CNY1.9 per km more will be charged.
Weather: It is cold throughout most of the year, with the snowy period lasting as long as half a year. The city's panorama of ice and snow has been considered as its main attraction, so the best visiting time is perhaps its coldest time, in December or January.
Dining and Shopping
Harbin has a particular range of local food adapted to the cold weather, its specialities being ‘cold food’ and ‘raw food’. The produce is locally sourced, such as meat, fish, vegetables, beans, rice and fruits. Typical dishes of the city are Sautéed Potato, Green Pepper and Eggplant, Stewed Chicken with Mushroom, Braised Pork with Vermicelli and Sauce Bones. Recent years, food from Russia, Italy and France has also become popular in the city. Authentic local food can be found on the Central Avenue and Yellow River Road.
The city is rich in natural resources such as ‘Three Treasures of Northeast China’ – ginseng, mink, and deer antler, salmon, pine nuts, black fungus, mushrooms and dry fruits. In addition, there is a supply of exotic food and crafts like tea, chocolates, rose gold necklaces and paintings from Russia and some other countries in Eastern Europe. Central Avenue is the busiest shopping area in the city.