Harbin (Chinese: 哈尔滨 ) is the capital and largest city of Heilongjiang province in the northeastern region of the People's Republic of China.Holding
sub-provincial administrative status,Harbin has direct jurisdiction over nine metropolitan districts, two county-level cities and seven counties.
Harbin is the eighth most populous Chinese city and the most populous city in Northeast China. According to the 2010 census, the built-up area made
of seven out of nine urban districts (all but Shuangcheng and Acheng not urbanized yet) had 5,282,093 inhabitants, while the total population of the
sub-provincial city was up to 10,635,971. Harbin serves as a key political, economic, scientific, cultural, and communications hub in Northeast China,
as well as an important industrial base of the nation.
Harbin, which was originally a Manchu word meaning "a place for drying fishing nets",grew from a small rural settlement on the Songhua River to become one of the largest cities in Northeast China. Founded in 1898 with the coming of the Chinese Eastern Railway, the city first prospered as a region inhabited by an overwhelming majority of the immigrants from the Russian Empire.
Harbin is notable for its beautiful ice sculpture festival in the winter.
Besides being well known for its historical Russian legacy, the city serves as an important gateway in Sino-Russian trade today, containing a sizable population of Russian diaspora.In the 1920s, the city was considered China's fashion capital since new designs from Paris and Moscow reached here first before arriving in Shanghai.The city has been voted "China Top Tourist City" by China National Tourism Administration in 2004.On 22 June 2010, Harbin was appointed a "City of Music" by the UN.