#110 Teaching at Taizhou Teachers College, China ( HARBIN, Part 1: Ice & Snow Extravaganza, and St. Sofia Cathedral )


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Asia » China » Heilongjiang » Harbin
January 8th 2009
Published: January 8th 2009
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The crowded and long train left my home, cold Taizhou, Jiangsu, at 6:02pm and 24 hours later arrived in what is known as the "coldest" city of China, bone-chilling HARBIN, the capital of China's most northern province of Hailongjiang. The province of Hailongjiang has its borders with arctic Russian-Siberia, and HARBIN looks more like an Eastern-European or Russian city than a Chinese city. What... Read Full Entry



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The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night.The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night.
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night.

The "Zhongyang Dajie" is reputed to be the longest pedestrian mall in all of China. It is lined on either side by wonderful architecture dating to the time of the European influence on Harbin. I found it most impressive and most beautiful at night.
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #1The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #1
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #1

Along the center of "Zhongyang Dajie", pedestrians pass various ice-sculptures, that can be immediately recognized. The "Thinker" attracted my attention.
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #2The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #2
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #2

The European influence on Harbin is clear, as seen by many of the architectural legacies that line the "Zhongyang Dajie". These have been restored, and their histories have been recorded in English on exterior plaques.
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #3The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #3
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #3

An ice-sculpture of Ludwig von Beethoven occupies a prominent spot along the "Zhongyang Dajie" pedestrian-mall.
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #4The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #4
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #4

Now this little boy is brave to "releave" himself in sub-zero temperatures along the "Zhongyang Dajie".
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #5The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #5
The Pedestrian Mall of Harbin at night. Photo #5

Along the length of this wonderful pedestrian mall are hotels, upmarket boutiques, fur shops (sad!), department stores, bars and restaurants, along with numerous Russian gift shops.
The Snow Carving Gala, 2009, on Sun Island along the Songhua River of HarbinThe Snow Carving Gala, 2009, on Sun Island along the Songhua River of Harbin
The Snow Carving Gala, 2009, on Sun Island along the Songhua River of Harbin

Now visit with me the spectacular snow-sculptures on Sun Island in Harbin, one of the world's great snow sculpture exhibitions. It draws artists from around the world, to the delight of visitors from every corner of the globe.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #1Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #1
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #1

My first morning in Harbin takes me via cable-car across the frozen Songhua River to Sun Island. I want to walk among the world-famous "snow-sculptures", fashioned every winter for the "Snow Carving Gala".
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #2Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #2
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #2

I am walking along the main street on Sun Island, leading toward the fabled snow-sculptures. Both sides are lined with old Russian summer cottages.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #3Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #3
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #3

Foreigners, especially the Russians and the Japanese living in Harbin, constructed beautiful summer homes on Sun Island, and enjoyed a comfortable colonial life.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #4Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #4
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #4

At the entrance to the Snow-Sculpture-Park, two back-to-back trains receives final touches. The locomotives are life-size, and not a detail is missing.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #5Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #5
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #5

The work on the locomotives is labor-intensive and accomplished with loving care.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #6Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #6
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #6

This man has his deer on a leash, waiting for anyone who might wish to take a photo with "Bambi", for a fee of course. For all the wonderful sights in Harbin, it was the poor treatment of the animals that bothered me greatly, and will stay with me for some time. I saw that with dogs, horses, birds, and other animals exploited as entertainment for visitors.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #7Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #7
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #7

Snow-sculptors are carving the last details before the official opening of the Snow Carving Gala, on January 5th.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #8Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #8
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #8

Each of the snow-sculptures must have taken weeks to complete, and the details are easy to appreciate. Here, I am saying hello to the "endangered" polar bear (not according to the current administration!), part of an elaborate snow-carving.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #9Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #9
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #9

Please enlarge the photos if you have the time and appreciate the details of the artistry carved from snow.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #10Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #10
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #10

It is morning, and there are few visitors along the many streets, each lined with many dozens of exquisite snow sculptures. And OHH! It was sooo cold!!
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #11Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #11
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #11

The children especially will love these happy cartoon faces made of snow.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #12Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #12
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #12

I could not pass this snow-sculpture without adding my face to the cartoon images.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #13Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #13
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #13

Shark and Giant Squid are locked in battle.
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #14Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #14
Snow Carving Gala on Sun Island, Harbin, Photo #14

A little kiss almost froze my lips to the nose of this lovable face.



8th January 2009

Hi from Oz!
Hi Hans I am so pleased that you decided to travel to Haerbin for the Snow and Ice Festival as I did in 2008! I still can't believe you went without a hat! Aaaargh! Had a wonderful call from Stef the other day. Seems like she is in limbo a bit. Are you travelling home to the States this winter? Job-hunting is in full swing here- I'll let you know how I go. Miss you! Suexx Sue
8th January 2009

I think it's beautiful!! Thanks for sharing~
8th January 2009

Oh wow! I did not know that existed in China lol
9th January 2009

Hello Hans
You travelled a lot , hans, you are good!!! I think you can not remember me . you old freind.
9th January 2009

The sculptures are really overwhelming and sensational! It's been a local tradition over, God knows, how many years. Thank you, Hans, for having brought us so many detailed photos to look at. I could never have imagined the size, the scale and the beauty of the famous ice show, unless witnessed these colossal products, even only through their photos. Harbin is a place much colder than Berlin averagely in winter, despite the lower latitude, though both cities have a continental climate. The amount of labour and cost of creating such fantastic artistries must be huge, but, it worth the effort.
10th January 2009

hi
are you cold there? take care of yourself.
10th January 2009

take care ! miss you , hugh
13th January 2009

Beautiful photos
Beautiful city.

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