Located in the northeast of China, the shape of Heilongjiang Province of the map looks like a flying swan. Harbin , the capital city of Province of Heilongjiang, is a pearl under the neck of the swan. The city is famous both for its architectural style and natural beauty. The Songhua River, like a colorful belt, winds gently through the northern city with huge dams and flush trees on both sides. The Sun Island is like a sparkling jewel carved on the north bank. The Flood Control Monument standing like a giant is a symbol of the heroic spirit of Harbin people. The many buildings of foreign styles earn Harbin the name Moscow in the East.
Having a long, cold, and snowy winter, and a short, cool summer, Harbin is a famous summer resort on the plain and has got a beautiful name–City of Ice.
In the depth of winter, the Songhua River is frozen. The city becomes a sparkling world of ice and snow. People can see whirling snow and the scene of "a drop of water becomes ice before touching the ground." The natural conditions make it possible to have various sport events and to enjoy wonderful scenery of ice and snow. On the frozen river, one can not only enjoy sledding, sailing on ice, swimming, skating, sleighing and other interesting games, but also can admire the beautiful natural scenery, in which unique ice flowers seem to be carved in jade and silver. In Zhaolin Park, people can enjoy the excellent workmanship of ice carving and wonderful ice lanterns.
Sled, also called "toboggan", is a recreational tool of sports particular in North China. Some high platforms are erected near the bank, and skating runways are paved along natural slpes. Sitting or lying on a sled, people coast whooping down to the bottom, getting much excitement and fun out of the experience.
The sailing boat on ice can freely slide under the manipulation of the sailor. On the frozen surface of the river, when admiring the scenery of the North China by sailing on ice, you can have different feelings compared with sailing on water.
Because of the city's special geological location, one unique natural scenery, rime fog, is seen here in winter. In winter morning, the 10-mile quiet causeway of the Songhua River is usually veiled by cloud of fog and submerged in the misty smoke. As the fog clings to the weeping willows on the bank, their braches glisten with rime fog, and become multi-colorful under the sun. the rime fog attracts many tourists to appreciate the magic of nature in the North.
In the city of Shangzhi, which lies 240 km away from the city proper, is Yabuli Skiing Square. Surrounded by mountains which are covered with trees and snow, the slide here is 1,300 m above sea level, 3,050 m long and 40 m wide. The average slope degree is 20 in this undulating area. Every year from November to the next April, the accumulated snow here is over 1 m in depth. The National Skiing Match is held here.
Diligent and wise people in Harbin take ice and snow as unique natural advantages, and create the well-known art of ice and snow. The annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival originated in 1985. Later, the festival is held on January 5 every year. It is a regional festival, which has first taken the events concerning ice and snow as the main programs, with the characteristics of the northern cities. During this period of time, a variety of activities will be carried on, such as Ice Lantern Show, ice and snow sculpture competitions. The Ice Lantern Show stations in Zhaolin Park. People utilize natural ice and snow, with their wonderful workmanship of sculpture and gorgeous light modellings, to turn the whole park into a unique palace of ice and snow art. The ice sculpture is grand and magnificent, and the figures have all kinds of gestures, remarkable true to life. In the evening, ice lanterns radiate myriads of colorful rays, pure and noble, and the park is just like a dragon palace of ice and crystal. It is a really marvelous spectacle of North China.