Harbin 哈尔滨

This was as far as I got in a northeasterly direction. There is a Wikipedia article on Harbin, so I won’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, I’ll just give my impressions of the place and add a few photographs.

Harbin traffic was especially dangerous, and the pedestrianised streets were very crowded. I was there in October, and it was already around freezing. I thought about going back for the famous Ice Festival, but it’s pretty expensive there when that is on.

There are underground passageways through much of the centre of the city, because it is too cold to walk around o1n the surface in winter. Many of them are full of little shops and entrances to the bigger department stores.

There is a very strong Russian influence in the architecture, and in the food – Russian-style bread is especially popular. So is vodka and the stronger versions of Chinese white spirit (baijiu).

The cathedral square is the focal point of the modern city centre – but it wasn’t always so. In fact, it was very hard to find during and after the Cultural Revolution, when it was used as a warehouse, although it did survive structurally. The history of the cathedral is really quite interesting.

Off in one corner of the square is the former entrance to the old railway station; an interesting brick and metal structure.

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