Book Express
Published: Mar 28, 2022 07:18 PM
The beauty of Harbin's architectures 

Harbin is a new city built by Czarist Russia while building the Far East railway in Northeast China in 1898. As a result of its special historical background, a unique urban architectural culture comprising a blend of  old and modern Western-style architecture and traditional Chinese architecture was created. The planning of the urban city layout of Harbin commenced in 1899.

It was modeled after Russia's capital city, Moscow, whereby the city was divided into several districts by the inter-crossing T-shaped railway tracks. Many of the historical buildings showcasing traditional Russian architecture and the designs of the new Art Deco Movement were built on China Street in Butou District (now Daoli District), including the Concord Bank (1917), the Modern Hotel (1913), Qiu Lin Business Shop (1919) and the Russian Immigrants' Association (1909). Built in 1903, the Harbin Railway Station served as the gateway to the city and was a landmark in its own right, with its New Art Deco design elements.

The Russian Orthodox churches played an important role in shaping the unique city landscape of Harbin. As early as 1898, the St. Nicola Orthodox Cathedral was built upon the Southern Peak, the highest point in Harbin. The cathedral was laid out in the shape of the Greek cross and was built according to the traditional Russian wooden structure with tent-like, octagonal roofs topped with onion-shaped domes. 

Once hailed as the symbol of the "Moscow of the East," the St. Nicola Cathedral was unfortunately demolished. 

In the 1930s, the number of Orthodox churches in Harbin increased to 25.

About the book 

Chinese Architecture Written by Cai Yanxin Published by China Intercontinental Press, Beijing, 2018