Harbin Tourist Attractions
It is linked by rail and air with the capital Beijing. There are also flights to Harbin from other Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Canton, Xiamen and others.Manchurians first settled here 900 years ago and founded a small village called Arjin. Several centuries later the name was changed to Harbin. From the late 19th C onwards the village gradually grew into a town, aided by the building by the Russians of the first rail link, part of the Trans-Siberian Railway. As well as other foreigners, many Russians settled here in the early years of this century, especially in the wake of the October Revolution of 1917, and this is witnessed by the large number of Russian churches and houses to be seen in the town.After 1946, following the amnesty granted by Stalin, many of these refugees returned to their homeland. Today Harbin is one of the major industrial centers of northern China. In 1998, the town suffered from the devastating flooding of the river Soghuajiang.
Temple of Paradise
The Temple of Paradise (Jile Si), at Dongda Zhijie No. 5 in the city center, covers an area of 2.6ha/6.5acres; it dates from 1924 and ranks as the largest Buddhist temple in Heilongjiang province.It consists of four large halls - the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings (Tianwang Dian), with statues of Maitreya and the Four Heavenly Kings, the Sumptuous Hall of the Great Hero (Daixong Baodian), the Hall of the Three Holy Ones (Sansheng Dian), containing statues of Amitabha, Guanyin and Dasizhi, and the Pavilion of the Holy Scriptures (Cangling Lou).As well as the halls, the seven-stepped Pagoda of Qiji Futu Ta deserves special attention. The niches on the exterior walls contain over 30 small statues of the Buddhist saint, Arhat. Inside, a wooden staircase leads to the upper floors.From the ground floor there is access to a neighboring temple containing seven statues of Shakyamuni, Guanyin, Bhaisajya (the ''Medicine Buddha''), and four Bodhisattvas.
The Ice-Lantern Festival is held every year between January 5th and February 5th in the Zhaolin Gongyuan Park. All the roads and houses in the town are decorated with lanterns and carvings sculpted from ice. The park itself is covered in a sea of lanterns, statues, miniature houses, temples, animals, plants, boats and other vehicles, all made in ice by local artists. At this time of year the temperatures range between -20 and -30°C (-4 and -22°F).
Church of St Nicholas
The orthodox Church of St Nicholas near the Temple of Paradise was built in 1899 in the Neo-Gothic style. The framework is entirely of wood and richly decorated with sculptures. This church is one of the largest of Harbin's seventeen Christian churches.
Stalin Park (Sidalin Gongyuan), close by on the south bank of the Songhuajiang, offers many kinds of water-sports and other leisure activities. The monument in the park commemorates the flood of 1957 and the many volunteers who helped at the time.
Sunny Island (Taiyang Dao Gongyuan) is a sandbank of 38sq.km/24.5sq.mi on the opposite bank of the Songhuajian river. It is a popular excursion spot and health resort with sanatoriums. In summer whole families often come here to picnic.
Temple of Confucius
Situated in Dongda Zhijie is the Temple of Confucius (Wenmiao), built in traditional style in 1926. It comprises a main hall and two side-halls. The main hall contains statues of Confucius and other men of learning.
Zhaolin Gongyuan Park
In the northwest of the town, not far from the Songhua river, lies Zhaolin Gongyuan Park, named after General Li Zhaolin (1908-46). His grave can be found in the northern section of the park.
The Children's Park (Ertong Gongyuan) is a special attraction. Children can ride on a 2km/1.25mi long miniature railroad.
Heilongjiang Provincial Museum
The most interesting section of the museum is its Natural History department with exhibits describing the history of mankind.
The Zoo in the south of the town boasts 150 species and over 2,800 animals; the tiger from northern China is particularly rare.