After my excursion to the Ice and Snow Festival, I go back to the hostel with taxi (another 30 CYN) and have a nice Japanese lunch near the hostel. I walk around a bit to see the buildings nearby.
A Bus Station nearby
Some European style apartments
Next I decide to walk along Zhongyang Dajie (中央大街; Zhōngyāngdàjiē, Central Avenue) for the rest of my afternoon (and at night), the European architecture street museum. The street is also near the hostel I’m staying at.
The street name in 3 languages; Chinese, English name and Russia. Zhongyang Street, 中央大街, Tsentral’naya ulitsa (Центральная улица).
Harbin is a city on the Northern China, closer to Russia. After the Russian revolution, refugees from the old empire move to Harbin. There’s already a settlement here from the early Chinese Eastern Railway development in conjunction to Trans-Siberian Railway. Aside from the Russian, there are influx of people from Jewish community, Japanese, Korean and other East European countries.
Zhongyang Street is the longest cobblestone pedestrian street in Asia. The street is 1.450 meters long and was built in 1898, named as Chinese Street (中国街头, Zhōngguó jiētóu) or in Russian, Kitayskaya ulitsa (Китайская улица). It’s renamed as Zhongyang Dajie (中央大街; Zhōngyāngdàjiē, Central Street) or in Russian; Tsentral’naya ulitsa (Центральная улица) in 1920’s. The European style buildings littered along the street, influenced heavily in architecture mostly from Renaissance (15th – 16th century), Baroque (17th century), Eclectic style (18th century), Art Nouveau (19th century) and Byzantine Russian influence like the St. Sophia.
There are food street hawker style, cheap knock-out Chinese/Russian souvenirs, fashion and products. The increase of tourists and western fashion also influence the more modern fashion stores, up to date trend in fashion from Europe, branded and expensive. European fashion and new designs usually come to Russia and then Harbin as the first city of China’s fashion gate way before Shanghai. Huh. That’s good to know.
In the afternoon, there are some street performance, folk dance called Yangge (秧歌) Traditional Chinese Dance. There are also characters from the Journey of the West.
The Monkey King, Sun Wu Kong, climbing the tree and posing for camera.
Several food hawkers with European style food. Smoked savory red sausage for 10 CYN. Fruit caramelize candy. I think it’s around 5 to 10 CYN as well.
During winter, day time in Harbin is quite short. By 4-5 PM, the night is falling. Zhongyang street transform by night with all the lights and especially the lantern and ice lit. Overall, I prefer to see the ice sculptures lit up during the night here.
Another street hawker with more food
Bomele 1931, Cakes and Ice cream shop (yes, even in Winter)
The lit up street
When I got back to the hostel, I have new roommates for the night. The girls staying at the same room are teachers from Hainan and are having a holiday at Harbin. Most of them come from America to teach English while traveling. I ended up going with them for dinner in a nearby hot pot restaurant. Each of us only pay for 22 CYN + Harbin Beer (or course). Sweet.
Tomorrow is to see the Harbin, Jewish and Russian Architecture, including St. Sophia.
Source Information: The Harbin Guide