At the heart of Harbin is Zhongyang Street. It is the first open and public architectural arts museum in China. Zhongyang Dajie, also known as Central Avenue, is part of the hundred-hectare architectural arts museum. Seventeen out of seventy-five buildings are on this street.
Having Harbin close to the Russian border, European-style architecture is evident around the city dating all the way back in the 15th Century. Buildings and structures are built and influenced by the Renaissance, Baroque, Eclectic and the Art Nouveau Movement.
Cobbled-stone. Closed to any vehicles. A visit here should not be rushed. You may want to start from the south where an arch, a marker for the open museum greets you at Jingwei Street and end in the north where the Flood Control Monument blocks Songhua River at Youyi Road. Your leisure walk may include queuing for some Russian bread and pastries, Harbin sausage and the Harbin ice cream on a stick. In the winter, a cup of warm soya milk at KFC or café latte at Starbucks (two SB stores recently opened here in Zhongyang Dajie, the only ones in Harbin) for a break brings much comfort.
During the Ice and Snow Festival, the ancient architecture provides a dramatic setting for the larger-than-life ice and snow sculptures along Harbin’s old quarter. Even Psy, a phenomenal Korean pop star makes it to the most admired street in Harbin this year. A gangnam pose is just hard to resist!