New Year Prayers at Temples
We were in Harbin over the new year celebrations. Many people go and pray and make offerings on new years day.
There is actually 2 large temple complexes next to one another. The old one and a newer one (you have to pay to get in about 20 reminbi ip/p think). Worth it even if your not religously inclined as the big buddha is very impressive and the out buildings are lovely.
Hongbo Square is the hub of modern Harbin, with Xi/Dong Dazhi Jie stretching away, and Harbin's original raison d'etre - the railway station - down the slope to the north. Today, a modernistic water sculture sits in the middle of the roundabout isolated from Harbin by the roaring and rushing traffic. Until 1966, one of the region's most charming churches sat here, the wooden St Nicholas Church. It was burnt to the ground during the Cultural Revolution.
Along the north-western quadrant, curving around two street frontages is the spectacularly beautiful Heilongjiang Provincial Museum. However, advertising hoardings have completely covered the upper half of the building and much of the lower levels, so its charms can only be seen from photographs in St Sofia's Church.
The big square modern building to the west is the Northern Theatre, constructed in 1983 and a surprisingly graceful glass building considering the rubbish that China was constructing in the early 1980s.
The south-eastern quadrant of Hongbo Square holds some interesting buildings, but we didn't have the time to get to see them. The most notable building on that side is the small building knowns as the Soviet Experts House, which was built in 1908 for use as railway offices then taken over by the Japanese invaders in 1932. It was used by Soviet technical experts during the 1950s and 1960s.
Harbin Ice and Snow World
It's amazing that the annual Harbin Ice Festival hasn't permeated into the mainstream travel destinations for westerners. This is a truly world class event; it alone almost worth a flight out to China. Be sure to check out all the photos and those in the travelogue attached to the Harbin page.
The grand opening of the festival is usually on January 5th, but they tend to let people in about a week early. We were there on the 2nd, so they were still doing some finishing up, but mostly all the sculptures were complete. There are life-size sculptures of famous buildings around the world and you can climb over most of them. There is a man made mountain with an ice castle and slides coming down. There are enough exhibits that it takes a few hours to see, climb over, and photograph each one.
They are also many activities for kids: skating, skiing, riding ice-skate-sled things, spinning Chinese tops on ice, and small to large ice slides. You can rent mini ice yachts, snowmobiles, or dune-buggies. You can have a ride on a donkey, horse, or reindeer; or in a horse-drawn sleigh. There is also a climbing wall for adults, 20 feet tall with knotted ropes, with a fall onto solid ice if you fail. Of course there are absolutely no safety measures at any of these activities, as well as at the multi-storey sheer ice steps. It's kind of refreshing after the western lawsuit-conscious world.
It's worth two trips: make the first one in daytime and you will be amazed. Then come at night and you will be blown away! Inside each ice brick is a coloured light. The whole city lights up in multicolour display at night, creating a sight you will not see anywhere else in the world.
There is also a Snow Sculpture Art Fair, another daytime display elsewhere, and an Ice Lantern Festival in Zhaolin Park.
R. Todd King appears to be an expert and has much better photographs than mine.
Martyr's Museum (Dongbei...
Martyr's Museum (Dongbei Lièshi Guan):
This museum features a collection of photographs depicting the history of communism (as far as I understood) in Haerbin, including photographs of publicity materials used by the regime, for example showing how smoking and drinking alcohol can bring one to violence. All the captations where in chineese except for the dates. The basment contains a collection of photographs and objects depicting the fight against a flood that swept the railway away in 1998.
my lovely hometown
Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang provincy.
Referred to as the "pearl under the swan's neck", Harbin is one of the most beautiful city in China.
Due to history reason, the city's building was influenced greatly by Russia. (sorry my history is not good, maybe during 1890-1945) . Today you can see lots of building or church in Russia style. Harbin is also known as Oriental Moscow.
It also call "ice city" , if you came here in winter and join the Annual Ice Lantern Festival, you will know why.
I left this beutiful city when I am 18. Miss it really much. If you wat to come, do not hesitate to email me , I am realy glad to give you any info I know. So welcom to harbin!