Harbin - My Hometown
I was born and brought up in Harbin, China. Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang Province, and the most populous city in Northeast China. The name 'Harbin' was originally a Manchu word meaning 'a place for drying fishing net'. The city grew from a small rural settlement on the Songhua River. The modern Harbin was founded in 1898 with the coming of the Chinese Eastern Railway, and first prospered in the early 20th century. Russia has a strong and long-standing influence on Harbin's history, culture, and cuisines. After the people's republic was founded, Harbin was heavily industrialized with the help from the Soviet Union.
Harbin has the most bitterly cold winters among major cities in the world. Under the direct influence of the Siberian high-pressure system, the average daily temperature is −19.7 °C in winter. Daytime temperature below −30 °C is not uncommon. Nicknamed "Ice City" due to the freezing cold winter, Harbin is decorated by various styles of Ice and Snow Sculptures from December to March. The annual "Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival" has been held since 1985, and is the largest winter-themed ice-and-snow festival in the world.