Today we discover Harbin on a walking tour. The walk will start in Stalin Park
, set alongside the Songhua River, where several delightful cafes and restaurants can be found. Walk towards the Flood Control Memorial Tower, built in 1958 to commemorate the thousands of people who died in years past when the Songhua river overflowed its banks.
Afterwards, we take a stroll down the famous Zhongyang Pedestrian Street
or known as the Central Avenue, which has been the most prosperous commercial hub for over one hundred years in downtown Harbin. Pass in front of the Modern Hotel, built in 1906. Some of the building’s original marble is partially conserved, along with some of its Art Nouveau touches.
Walk down Tongjiang Road
, previously the heart of the Jewish community, and pay a visit to the Harbin Main Synagogue which has been refurbished as a concert venue. In the nearby area, pass by the neighboring Turkish Mosque (closed to visitors) which beautifully reflects the open spirit of the city. After just a few minutes’ walk, pay a visit to the early 20th century Harbin New Synagogue, which has been transformed into an interesting museum.
The final religious site is the Saint Sophia Church
or the Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom of God. Built in 1907 by the Russians as part of a plan to reconsolidate the confidence of the army by building an imposing spiritual symbol, it is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the Far East. The church covers a total area of 721 square meters in construction area, and 53.35 meters in height.
: Depending on the day’s pace, there may be a chance to visit Gogol Street (named after the Russian writer) which is a good place to introduce Russian flavor and Sino-Russia culture fuse in history in China. The two sides of the street are lined with trees and a beautiful collection of Russian buildings. It’s recommended to take a taxi to reach here.
For dinner, you can grab a bite to eat at Cafe Russia 1914, decorated in a typical Russian style. While the service isn’t always inspiring, the menu offers typical Russian specialties and the interior is covered in unique, antiquated photos, which make for an interesting visit.
Overnight in Harbin.