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Heilongjiang Province

Name (hēi lóng jiāng) ['black' 'dragon' 'river'] Old Name Heilungkiang WG
Population38.34 million (2.79 %) [15th] comparison table
Area469,000 km2 [181,081 mile2] (4.89 %) [6th]
GDP39,226 (6.01 %) [22nd]
Position of Heilongjiang in China
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Google map of Heilongjiang
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Heilongjiang, Harbin, church
Russian style Saint-Sophia Cathedral, Harbin, Heilongjiang

Heilongjiang is named after the ‘Black Dragon River’ that forms much of its eastern border with Russia (the Russians call the river ‘Amur’). The province shares its harsh, cold winters with Russia too.

Heilongjiang History

The province was part of the Korean Balhae Kingdom at the time of the Tang dynasty. This fell to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty but Heilongjiang only really became an integral part of China in the Qing (Manchu) dynasty. At this time it was only sparsely populated and not seen as strategically or economically important. As part of Manchuria it was invaded and industrialized by the Japanese in the 1930s, for it has extensive coal; iron and oil deposits as well as timber. The rural extremities have people of Manchu; Hui; Korean; Oroqen and Mongolian origin.

It was the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway through to Vladivostok that led to the rapid urban development of Heilongjiang, particularly at Harbin. The strong Russian involvement in the early twentieth century can be seen in the local architecture including the onion dome of St. Sofia in Harbin. Russian investment has remained an important spur to development in the province.

Heilongjiang, ice sculpture, Harbin
Illuminated ice sculptures at Harbin, Heilongjiang Copyright © Dreamstime see image license


The loud bangs from strings of firecrackers are often heard when the Chinese have something to celebrate. Traditionally gunpowder was packed into the hollow stem of bamboo, but now paper and plastic are used for the casing. Liuyang in Hunan is a key center in the manufacture of firecrackers.
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Harbin has a famous ice sculpture fair at Zhaolin Park from January to March, reflecting the long, cold winters (typically -22 ° F [-30 ° C]). It gets so cold that fruit and milk are sold in frozen form. Lanterns made out of ice feature at the Chinese New Year festival. To complete the cold theme there are ski slopes nearby at Shangzhi . Harbin, whose name means ‘Place of Drying Fish nets’ is a relatively modern city, only a hundred years ago it was a fishing village on the Songhua River. It has recently built an impressive Opera House of very modern design. The city has been laid out with a large number of public parks.

Heilongjiang, tiger, wildlife
A Siberian tiger walking on snow, Heilongjiang

Places to visit in Heilongjiang

Heilongjiang has impressive mountain scenery and its fringes are covered with dense pine forests. A Siberian Tiger Reserve is located near to Harbin. An area with important industrial history is the famous Daqing oilfield which was strategic during the Mao era when China was isolated and had to find its own (at the time) scarce sources of oil.

The Cambridge Illustrated History of China

book cover Cambridge University Press produce a mammoth in-depth history of China, this can be considered an abridgement of this work. It has copious illustrations and useful panels describing key parts of Chinese culture and history. It covers the whole time period from pre-history to the present day - a lot to cover in one book. It is a fascinating and engaging read and to be recommended as a key reference work.
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Mirror Lake (Jingpo) is a volcanic lake (22,239 acres [90 sq kms]) south-west of Mudanjiang set amongst the forests. It is a popular resort particularly for fishermen. Qiqihar is an old industrial town while nearby is the Zhalong Nature Reserve that attracts many birds, particularly on migration, and is the home of rare red-crowned and white-naped cranes. Wudalianchi meaning Five inter-linked lakes, north of Bei'an is another popular scenic spot amid one of China's few active volcanic areas. Yichun is a historic forestry town with many old adobe buildings.


The Songhua River has been subject to high levels of pollution as it flows through many industrial cities picking up associated industrial and domestic waste. Extensive pasture lands make Heilongjiang the most important province for dairy products, it is also produces a large amount of grain and soybean.

Heilongjiang, Harbin, modern housing, view
Skyline of Harbin, Heilongjiang

Heilongjiang Climate

Temperature axisClimate ChartRainfall axis
Climate chart for Heilongjiang
Both Temp Rainfall ° C/mms ° F/ins Key
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Major CitiesPopulation
Bei'an 436,444
Daqing 203,488
Harbin 5,878,939
Hegang鹤岗 743,307
Jiamusi 549,549
Jixi西 403,759
Mudanjiang牡丹 665,915
Qiqihar齐齐哈 882,364
Qitaihe 320,385
Shuangyashan 600,000
Yichun 155,762


Harbin Taiping International Airport 哈尔滨太平国际机场 HRB IATA / ZYHB ICAO
The airport has 2 terminals and is located 20.5 miles (33.0 kms) from Harbin. Live Flight information , rank in China 22
International Links to :Korea Russia
See map of location Harbin Taiping International Airport


Harbin Institute of Technology

The Harbin Institute of Technology is the leading university in northeastern China. It is actually split over three campuses spread over three provinces: Weihai in Shandong; Shenzhen in Guangdong and Harbin in Heilongjiang. It concentrates on space technology; military technology and general engineering. The Harbin campus has some hints to its history of Russian influence.. Undergraduates: 25002, Postgraduates: 12710, International students: 1584, GP World ranking 291

City populations for 2012, Province statistics National Bureau of Statistics 2014

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