Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province, is located in the middle reaches of the Songhua River in the south of the province. The urban area is composed of seven districts: Daoli, Daowai, Nangang, Taiping, Xiangfang, Dongli and Pingfang. The whole city covers an area of 632 square miles, with a population of 2.54 million.
Known as Huentong River in ancient times, the Songhua River flows from Tianchi Lake atop Baitou Mountain. The water rolls down the mountain as if it fell from the heaven, hence it is also known as the Tianhe River (River from Heaven).
Facing the busy urban area across the river, this famous scenic resting spot is a sand bar embraced by lapping waters and edged by willow-lined embankments. Here the leafy trees illuminate the shade with varying shades of green, flowers vibrate with brilliant colors and fragrant scents permeate the fresh air over the undulating sand dunes and carpet-like lawns.
Originally named Daoli Park, it covers 17.3 acres at the northern end of Zhaolin Dajie in the Daoli District. On August 15, 1946, it was renamed in honor of General Li Zhaolin, a national hero in the Anti-Japanese War. The General was buried in the park after Kuomintang reactionaries assassinated him.
The Harbin Zoo is one of the largest zoological gardens in Northeast China. It occupies about 104 acres on the western outskirts of the city and has over 2,800 animals of some 150 different species on display, most of which are rare local species, such as the Northeast China tiger, the Red-Crowned crane, sika, moose, reindeer, sable, black bear and swan.
Harbin Ice Festival
The Harbin Ice Festival is an annual event held in Harbin. Usually falling on January 5 and lasting a month, the festival exerts a strong draw on both local residents and visitors. The city boasts its artistically impressive ice and snow sculptures, carvings, and buildings in parks and on frozen rivers. World famous monuments like grand cathedrals, pyramids, Potala Palace and the Great Wall have all been carved out of ice in past years, in spectacularly giant sizes! Some of them, embedded with colored lights, are designed for nighttime observation. Ice sliding and skiing are popular activities on this occasion.