Harbin, with a total land area of 53,068 km2 (20,490 sq. mi), is the capital city of Heilongjiang province. The urban part of Harbin covered 7,086 square kilometers while the total population is nearly 10.636 million. Harbin serves as a key political, economic, and cultural hub in Northeast China. Harbin is a historical city with rich culture. Harbin is heralded as the Ice City for its well-known winter tourism and recreations. Harbin was appointed “The Culture City” and a "City of Music". Located in the center of Northeast Asia, Harbin is considered as a pearl of Eurasia, earning the nickname of “Oriental Paris” and “Oriental Moscow”.
In the 12th century, Harbin was taken as the capital by four emperors, and was the birthplace of the Jin and Qing Dynasties. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, 160 thousand nationals from 33 countries moved to Harbin. Sixteen countries established consulates to serve their nationals.
Harbin is notable for its combination of Chinese and Western architecture styles. There are many Russian and Arabian style buildings such as Zhongyang Street (Central Avenue), Saint Sophia Cathedral, and the Mosque. In summer, Harbin is an ideal place because of its pleasant climate. In winter, Harbin is famous worldwide because of its ice and snow culture. The annual events held in Harbin such as the “Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival”, “Harbin Summer Music Concert”, and “Harbin International Trade and Economic Fair” reflect its deep culture.
Harbin is one of the cities with a high concentration of universities and research institutes. Harbin is famous for its standard Mandarin pronunciation and is the best choice for foreigners to study Chinese.
Harbin has a convenient system of transportation. Harbin Taiping International Airport has 82 air routes operated by 23 companies, both domestic and international. There are flights to major cities in China. In addition there are also scheduled international flights between Harbin and Russia, Japan, and South Korea as well as other major countries in Europe and the Americas.
In 2015, the “Heilongjiang Silk Road Economic Belt” has been formally incorporated into the national “The Belt and Road Mongolia and Russia economic corridor”. This brings more opportunities and policy support for foreign guests coming to Harbin.