Harbin Cultural and Historical Journey

Because of its geographical location, Harbin was the bridgehead of the connection between the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, China, and the Far East in the first half of the 20th century. It is also an important international trade city in northern China and one of the earliest internationalized cities in China in the 1920s. Today, Harbin's urban architectural style is deeply influenced by early immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Jewish community. Various European-style buildings can be found throughout the city. Now, let me take you to explore Harbin's culture through its attractions.

This building was constructed in 1909 and was originally a luxurious residence built by a Polish timber merchant named Gwaliś. Over the years, it served as a private residence, the high-level meeting place for the Middle East Railway during the Japanese puppet regime, the headquarters of the Soviet Red Army stationed in Harbin during the Northeast Restoration period, the office of the commander-in-chief of the Northeast Democratic United Army during the Liberation War, the school for children of cadres in the Northeast Democratic United Army, and later as a guesthouse for the Harbin Municipal Government of Songjiang Province. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, it was visited and used by senior leaders of the Party and the country, such as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Zhang Wentian, and Soong Ching-ling. In 1975, it was converted into the Black Dragon River Memorial Hall and opened to the public for free.

Alexeyevskaya Church

Then take a car to St. Alexiyevsky Church. Built in 1931, it is a typical Russian-style building. It was originally an Eastern Orthodox Church, but was converted to a Catholic Church after restoration in 1980. St. Alexiyevsky Church was originally a military church in Gongzhuling. After being relocated with the Russian army, a wooden church was built here on February 25, 1912 (it was demolished in July 2000 during the reconstruction of the surrounding environment). In October 1930, construction of the current brick and stone church began next to the wooden church. It was completed on October 6, 1935. After the reform and opening up, the relevant department renovated the church and assigned it for use by the Harbin Catholic Church. The church was officially opened on Christmas Day in 1980.
When you arrive at Hongbo Square, you can see the Heilongjiang Museum, an obvious building. It was built in 1906, and the main building is a European Baroque-style architecture, which was originally a former Russian shopping mall. With the establishment of the Sino-Russian railway, Russian scholars proposed to establish a museum and transformed the former Moscow shopping mall (now the main building of the provincial museum) into an exhibition hall for the research association. On June 12, 1923, the exhibition hall of the Eastern Province Cultural Relics Research Association was established here and opened to the public. During the puppet Manchukuo period, it served as the Institute of Cultural Relics Research in the puppet North Manchuria special zone. After liberation, it was renamed the Industrial University Scientific Research Institute of Harbin Heilongjiang Provincial Museum. In 1951, China began taking over and renamed it Songjiang Provincial Science Museum; in 1953, it was renamed Songjiang Provincial Museum; in 1954, with the merger of Songjiang Province into Heilongjiang Province, the Songjiang Provincial Museum was merged with the preparatory office of the Heilongjiang Provincial Museum, and it was officially called the Heilongjiang Provincial Museum.

Meiolovich Building

From the museum, you can see a yellow building called the Mayelovich Building, also known as the Mayelovich Palace. It was historically known as the "Lotus Art School" and is located southeast of Hongbo Square, commonly called "Naihuang". The building was completed in 1921 and designed by Yuo B. Jidannov. It features a classical column-style and typical French Renaissance architecture. Originally, the ground floor of the Mayelovich Palace was occupied by the Popovorinsk Hospital, established in March 1921. In the 1920s, it became a gathering place for Russian intellectuals fleeing to Harbin after the October Revolution, and Russian painter Kichkin settled here and established the famous "Lotus Workshop" on the third floor. It later became the Autumn Forest Company's employee club. After liberation, it became the Harbin Youth Palace. It especially nurtured many table tennis players at that time, producing table tennis champions like Han Yuzhen and Kong Linghui for generations.

Impression Gallery of the Middle East Railway

Exhibition hall showcases the development history of Harbin with a focus on the Middle East railway.

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