One doesn’t really think about a pure white, snowy festive facade when China is mentioned, nor is Christmas synonymous with the uber traditional oriental cities found within the Chinese nation. But, it would certainly be erroneous to disregard it as a winter destination completely.
More specifically, Harbin city located in China’s northernmost province is more akin to an icy fantasy realm — much like the Northern region of Westeros — than a modern Chinese city. The snowy city began to flourish in the late 19th century with an influx of Russian workers, typically engineers, who were coming to China to work on the eastern leg of the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
It was the Russian community that the workers were apart of that finally left an indelible mark on the city — as can be seen by the Slavic architecture that proudly stands today. For instance, the green-domed Saint Sophia Cathedral (now a local history museum) is an especially magnificent sight to behold during winter.
But like any other winter travel destination, you would be remise to visit Harbin at any time outside of winter. Visiting Harbin during the Christmas season is highly suggested as the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is held around this time. At the festival(s), you’ll be able to witness and be awed by towering Christmas-themed ice castles and sculptures making their debut on the grand stage.