Harbin is famous internationally for its winter festival. An avalanche of visitors descends on Harbin and brave the cold to see the ice/snow sculptures that are often record-breaking in size.
Harbin Is the World's Coldest Big City.
Harbin became a Russian town in 1895 to serve the construction of a Russian-financed railway, and during the 1905 war against Japan, it was a Russian military base.
After the 1917 revolution, about 100,000 Russians fled to the city, so in its heyday in the early 1920s, about 120,000 Russians lived there. Thousands of other people of other mainly European nationalities also settled there.
Many old buildings remain in the old city area. The Russians built church and governmental buildings. The St. Sophia church is one of the main architectural highlights.
It is hard to gauge which town or city is the coldest, but in lists of coldest cities, Harbin often makes it into the top 5 coldest cities in the world.
What distinguishes Harbin from other cities is that 10,000,000 people live there! It is a major metropolis. The Harbin metropolitan region's population is about the same as that of Chicago, USA.Other cities usually mentioned as among the world's coldest such as Novosibirsk in Russia or Winnipeg in Canada have a population of a million or two million. For comparison, Harbin is significantly colder than Moscow that has an average January low of -9 °C (16 °F) even though they are at about at the same latitude.
Siberian tigers and other kinds of large cats roam the Siberian Tiger Park.The Harbin Siberian Tiger Park is China's second largest Siberian tiger/wild cat safari park. Almost a thousand tigers are housed there.
The park covers about 250 acres in an area just to the north of Sun Island Park where the snow sculptures are displayed during the day. It is across a branch of the Songhua River.