Harbin – also spelt Haerbin, and even Haehrpin – sits close to the Korean and Russian borders, not far from Mongolia, in the far north-east of China. The city’s unique culture blends strong Russian heritage with traditional north-eastern Chinese cuisine and noticeable Korean influences.
The annual Ice and Snow Festival, with its dazzling ice sculptures, has made the city famous – but there’s much more to this city of ten million people than the beauty of the ice, and the famous Harbin beer. Such as skiing – not only at the Festival, but at Yabuli and Beidahu.
For culture and history, visit the old synagogue, the Russian cathedral, the Temple of Bliss, or Unit 731, where some of the worst atrocities of World War II took place. Harbin’s Russian heritage means authentic Western restaurants like Cafe Russia 1914 sit alongside delicious northern dumpling eateries like Orient King of Dumplings and traditional North-Eastern Chinese barbeque.
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Header image courtesy of Derek Harkness.