Winter Travel In
Harbin sleigh ride in China
Northeast China defined by the government of the People's Republic of China includes the three northeastern provinces of Heilongrjiang (黑龙江) Jilin (吉林) and Liaoning(辽寧), and thus the region is sometimes called the Three Northeast Provinces (东北三省). The region is, on the whole, more heavily urbanised than most parts of China, mainly because it was the first part of the country to develop heavy industry owing to its abundant coal reserves. Major cities include Shenyang(瀋阳), Dalian(大连),Harbin(哈尔滨) and Changchun(长春). We had included all of them in our tour except Dalian.
Several thousand miles of Ice and snow View in Harbin
(1) Harbin (哈尔滨) ,Hillongjing Province (黑龙江省)
I like winter. I love snow. In the year of 2005, Sulee and I went to embrace the bitter cold in the three Northeast Provinces in China. We first visited Harbin of Hellongjing Province in order to see the world renowned “ Harbin Ice and Snow Festival”. On our arrival in Harbin airport, the temperature was below freezing at -18C. In Harbin, we saw a lot of ice sculptures on the street or on the roadside. The spectacular Harbin Ice and Snow Festival was held in Zhaolin Park(兆麟公园) which was located in the central Harbin next to Songhua River(松花江). Laid out in scenic park, these amazing carvings replicated everything from gigantic palace to animals,temples, and even the Great Wall. We went to see these handcrafted snow and ice sculptures at night, they were embedded with sparkling coloured lightings. We were so enchanted by such atmosphere feeling that we were living in the Dreamland.
St.Sophia Orthodox Church, Harbin.
Harbin is one of the world's four largest winter festivals along with Sapporo's Snow Festival, Quebec City's Winter Carnival and Norway's Ski Festival. Heilongjlang Province is the province with the longest winters. Its main crops include wheat, soyabeans, beet, flax and sunflower which all occupy a significant position in China . It is abundant in forest and land resources and its soil is fertile. Heilongjiang is also China 's most important base of forestry, ranking No.1 in both timber reserve and production.
Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang Province which was called Manchuria(满州国). Historically separate from China, Manchuria became the seat of power when the Manchus invaded and took control of China, eventually becoming the Qing Dynasty (清朝1644-1911).
Fascinating Snow and Ice Festival in Harbin
Harbin has several nicknames including the "Oriental St. Petersburg" because of the Russian and European-influenced architecture. A walk in the Central street area is the perfect place to see the different building styles from Baroque to Byzantine and Renaissance. We strolled on the street and purchased some souvenirs from the Russian Souvenir Shop.
Apart from viewing the fascinating Snow and Ice Festival, we also visited St. Sophia Orthodox Church, Flood Control Monument and Stalin Park.
(2) Changchun(长春),Jilin Province(吉林省)
Jilin borders North Korea and Russia to the east, Heilongjiang to the north, Liaoning to the south, and Inner Mongolia to the west. The literal meaning of the Chinese characters for "Jilin"(吉林) is "auspicious forest".
Museum of the Manchu State Imperial Palace in Changchun
Jilin Province is rich in natural mineral deposits with 136 different types of minerals, of which 70 have already been extracted. It is rich in large reserves of oil,gas, coal and iron ore…etc. Jilin also has abundance of Traditional Chinese herb medicine resources. The Changchun Movie-Making Studio is well-known to movie-goers in China and overseas. The famous Red Flag limousines were made in Changchun. Ever since 1950, Changchun has become a centre for China’s antomotive industry. Therefore, Changchun also has the nicknames of “Automobile City”, “Forest City”, “Movie City” and “ Science and Technology City”.
We embarked on 250km-journey by coach from Harbin to Changchun, the capital city of Jilin. Changchun has a population of 7.46 million, of which the urban districts have a total population of 3.58 million.
The unique natural wonder of frosted trees in Changchun
In Changchun,we visited Museum of the Manchu State Imperial Palace and saw the unique natural wonder of frosted trees(or ice-rimmed trees雾松或树挂).Historically, we know that as from 1931 to 1945, China's last emperor Pu Yi (溥仪)was crowned as Head of State for the Manchukuo(满洲国) government established by the Japanese authority. He resided in the Imperial Palace which is now the Museum of the Manchu State Imperial Palace (偽满皇宫博物院). On our arrival in Changchun city, we saw all the trees covered with white frost and snow. Such a spectacle was quite pageantry and was called “Wusong” (雾松) “ice-rimmed tress” or “frosted trees”. Frosted trees or ice-rimmed trees are considered as 4 natural wonders of China along with the unique landscape in Guilin(桂林)、Stone Forest (石林)in Yunnan(云南)and Three Gorges in Yangtze River(长江三峡).We have so far visited all these natural wonders.
Photo taken under heavy snowfall and freezing weather in Changchun
(3) Shenyang(瀋阳), Liaoning Province(辽寧省).
We embarked on the coach again to continue the journey to our last destination--Shenyang The distance from Changchun to Shenyang was about 360 km. On our way to Shenyang,there was heavy snow falling down from the sky.We were so happy and took a lot of pictures under the bitter cold weather of white snow. The population of Shenyang was about 6 million. On our arrival, we were so surprised to note that all the white snow had changed the colour into black. The Tour Guide explained that this was due to pollution because Shenyang was a heavy-industrial City.
Shenyang Imperial Palace
In Shenyang, we visited two historical buildings. The Shenyang Imperial Palace(沈阳故宫) and the Mansion of General Zhang Xueliang(张氏帅府),The former one was a small palace or building complex similar to the Forbidden City(紫禁城) in Beijing. .It was completed by Huang Taiji(皇太极)of Qing Dynasty(清朝) in 1636. Shenyang was the cradle of Qing Dynasty.
Mansion of General Zhang Xueliang
Today,The Imperial Palace has become a museum that exhibits of jade, ivory, artworks of Ming and Qing dynasties ,musical instruments, and a large display of 17th and 18th centuries military equipments. It was in this Palace (in 1644 )that Shunzhi(顺治) became Emperor before he crossed over the Great Wall to take over the reign of power in Mainland China. The latter was the place where General Zhang Xueliang(张学良将军) history in the making. He was considered as a contemporary person who helped to shape the destiny of China.