24 Hours in Harbin, China
Harbin, otherwise known as Ice City, is the capital and the largest city in the Heilongjiang province of China. Its beautiful display of ice sculptures during an annual winter festival and interesting cultural influences has made Harbin a popular and unmissable tourist destination in the past few years.
1st stop: Volga Manor
Volga Manor is located on Ashi River in the Xiangfang District of Harbin, and is testament to the fact that they city has been heavily influenced by Russian culture and architecture. Strolling through the area, it transports you to the wintery times of Europe. The lake, which runs through the area, is surrounded by colourful Russian-styled houses, that are open to public for viewing. There is also a Russian dance show that takes place every day between 11am - 4pm.
2nd Stop: St Sophia Cathedral
The cathedral is a former Russian Orthodox Church and sits right in the central district of Harbin, in clear view for all to admire, with great similarities to the Red Square in Moscow. The cathedral was built in 1907 after the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1903.The structure of the church is laid out like a cross, with the main hall supporting a large green-tipped dome, making it a beautiful example of Neo-Byzantine architecture.
Walk around the church and you’ll find many quaint cafes and local eateries, the perfect place to spend an afternoon in the city.
3rd Stop: Centre Street
Centre Street is an enchantingly beautiful pedestrian street featuring a mixture of numerous foreign shops, hotels, and bars. In the shops, European products such as British cloth, French perfume and German medicine, can be abundantly found. There are also around 70 buildings, imitating European architectural style - making the street a very interesting mix of Harbin’s past and modern influences.
And there you have it - 24 hours well spent. And of course, if you have any time left on the clock, do check out the Ice Festival. Harbin, is the perfect place to visit to experience the winters, the architecture and food of Russia without using up too many of your miles!
Best time to go: December - March