In recent years, the world has heard of the north-eastern Chinese city of Harbin because of its incredibly ice sculpture festival which, held every year, is an extravaganza of subzero sculptures on a vast scale. It isn't surprising then, that expats moving to Harbin may hear it referred to as "The Ice City", although it is often also called the Oriental Paris or – more understandably – the Oriental Moscow. The city's architecture bears witness to its location not far from Russia and its history under Russian occupation, with the city's old quarter almost entirely built by Imperial Russia. The Russian Saint Sophia Cathedral, for example, is hugely worth a visit for any expatriate living in Harbin with an interest in history. The city's links with nearby Russia are still strong today, and expats in Harbin will find the city to be in many ways a meeting point of China and her western neighbor.
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The city has an important role as a trading link with Russia and, with a population of almost six million people, is one of the largest in China. Consequently, there are many transport options for expats moving to Harbin. The city is well served by train and road connections, with good links to the major Chinese hub cities. Expatriates moving to Harbin from China, south Asian and a few Russian destinations can also fly directly to the city's Harbin Taiping International Airport. We have a good selection of articles on the InterNations website to give expats about to start life in Harbin the information, tips and advice they need to start off on the right foot. Much of this information can be found in our Expat Magazine, which is a collection of articles covering topics ranging from cross-cultural communication to expat finance and insurance. Alongside this, we have various pieces written by InterNations members on their own experiences of expatriation.
As an expatriate working in Harbin, you will be at the heart of a busy trading city with an international feel, not least because of its array of European, Russian and local styles of architecture – in much of the city, an expat in Harbin might be forgiven for forgetting they were in China if it wasn't for the Chinese street signs. The climate of the city is cold – this is another reason for its nickname, "The Ice City". Expats working in Harbin will find plenty to do regardless of the weather, though, with a buzzing cultural life and a music scene that's famous throughout China. It is a city where you're sure to find other expatriates and global minds – and the discussion groups and private communications on the InterNations website are an ideal way to get in touch with other expats in Harbin to organize meet-ups, network or get the latest information on things to see and do in China's Russian City.