"The River of the Black Dragon" Heihe by jorgejuansanchez
Heihe Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 8 photos
I arrived to Heihe early in the morning in winter, by train from Harbin, Heilongjiang capital.
Heilongjiang means The River of the Black Dragon. That is how Chinese know the Amur River.
Heihe (in Chinese means Black River) is located at the bank of the River Amur. At the other side of the river you can see the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk.
I was surprised to see in the central streets of Heihe so many Russians, who cross the Amur River in hovercrafts in winter and in ferries in summertime. Hundreds and hundreds of Russian travel to Heihe from Blagoveshchensk several times a day just to buy clothes, shoes, fruits and, in general, those products that are much cheaper in China than in Russia.
Most of the shops offered their merchandises in Chinese and Russian languages, and practically all the Chinese vendors in the shops or supermarkets and waiters in the restaurants could speak Russian fluently. One of the restaurants in the center was called Putin.
Russians do not need Chinese visa to visit Heihe. If they want to travel further, until Harbin, for instance, then they have to obtain a Chinese visa in one of these three cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg or Khabarovsk
In Heihe it was too cold to sleep outside, as I had done a few weeks earlier in the hot Yunnan province, consequently I was forced to rent a room for a couple of nights in a hotel called Edem, in the downtown. Furthermore, after a few nights sleeping in trains (in hard sleeper) I needed a shower very urgently.
I am very fond of travelling by train. A few days earlier I had taken the historical line Trans-Manchurian, from Harbin to Hailar, in the north of Inner Mongolia, and now I wanted to reach the other end of an imaginary line called Heihe–Tengchong, that divides China into two equal parts. Tengchong is a region in Yunnan province where I had also been.
There is no much to see in Heihe. Perhaps the most interesting is the nearby village of Aigun, where in 1858 a treaty was signed between Zarist Russia and China, for which the territories north of the Amur River were ceded to Russia in exchange for its neutrality. Chinese where fighting the English in the infamous Second Opium War, with the English miserably intoxicating with opium the Chinese population, and China trying to avoid it. Under those unhappy circunstances China preferred to concede territories before than fighting against the Russian in another front.
The third day I went back to Harbin, then to Beijing, with the intention to board the train to Lhasa, in Tibet.
Russians told me that the food is very good there
- Pros:you can practise your russian
- Cons:too cold in winter
- In a nutshell:the end of China
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