The provincial capital is Harbin. a picturesque city with beautiful Songhuajiang River going through it. Known as "Oriental Moscow "or "Oriental Pairs".Why? the reasons are as followes. It lays to about 125 degrees East Longitude and 46 degrees North Latitude, about the same latitude as Venice in Italy. It is marvelous that the Water City and the Ice City are in the similar latitudes. Harbin is located southwest of Heilongjiang province. As an important traffic hub, it is an important city linking with Northeast Asia, Europe and the Pacific Ocean in the past. As the capital, it is a heart cross point of politics, finance and culture. Now it governs 8 districts and 11 counties and covers an area of 53 square kilometers with a population of 9.7 million. Therefore it boasts the largest area among the capital cities of China. In 2004, Harbin was ranked as one of the Comprehensive Urban Competitiveness of the Top 10 Cities.
If you read the map of China, you will find that the most important cities are clustered in the North China Plain and the Lower Yangtze Valley, why there has a big city in the Northeast China? In order to better known this; I want to tell you a bit of history of Harbin.
In a word, Harbin is old but young. Excavations reveal that 20,000 years ago, in the Paleolithic age, our ancestors began to live on this land. By the end of the 10th century, the Nuzhen nationality, the ancestor of the Manchu nationality had settled here. They named the area of their settlement “Alejin” meaning “swan” in the Nuzhen language. After years of evolution, Harbin has got it present name. I am sure during your short stay here; you will find the city seems to exude the same kind of charm as an elegant and graceful swan.
As luck would have it, a map of Heilongjiang looks like a beautiful snow, and Harbin the capital, is reputed to be a pearl on the neck of the swan.
A-cheng District, one of the 8 districts of Harbin, used to the capital city of the Jin Dynasty. During 38 years, Harbin witnesses the development of this dynasty and its 4 emperors. In 1153, Emperor Hailing, moved the capital from here to Beijing. From then on, This area was worshiped as the birthplace of the Jin and Qing Dynasty.
In 1896, Russia seized the power from the Qing government to extend its Siberian railway, also known as China-eastern railway, from Vladivostok into Northeast China. It is so important because it link the Asian and European continents. Harbin, then only a cluster of some fishing villages on the bank of Songhuajiang River, was chosen as the management. So the city growen up alongside the Far-East Railway.
When the railway was completed in 1903, the modern city was starting to take shape. Harbin became the virgin land of opportunity that attracted people seeking freedom and fortune from all over the world. Known for its economic importance, cultural tolerance and racial variety, Harbin evolved into a true international m