Harbin, which is 7,504 km (4,663 mi) away from Magdeburg, has a total area of 53,100 km² (32,995 mi²). The area of the city centre amounts to 7,086 km² (4,403 mi²). Approximately 9.87 million people live in Harbin; 4,755 of them in the centre. The city is the capital of the Chinese province Heilongjiang.
Harbin, being located in the north east of China right next to the Russian border, is characterized by a long standing history full of changes. As the country was exclusively home to the Manchu people who used to live there until the 10th century, it was constantly subject to power struggles. By the end of the 19th century, the northern part of the Manchuria was occupied by Russia. Even today in the older districts of the city, you can still see the Russian-shaped architecture. Due to the October Revolution, many Russians fled to Harbin. Years of occupation by Japanese troops and Soviet administration after the Second World War followed. China did not recover its sovereignty over the region until 1949.
The city has several oil and coal deposits and is characterized by its heavy industry. Touristic sights are the Songhua River, Taiyang Island, the tiger farm with about 800 Siberian tigers and the Zhaolin Park. The Dragon Tower, which was completed in 2003, has a height of 360 meters (1,181 feet) and is one of the highest freestanding lattice towers worldwide. Harbin annually hosts the International Ice- und Snow Sculpture Festival which attracts thousands of tourists.
With the help of the partnership, both cities wish to continue exchange and cooperation in different fields, such as culture, tourism, education and trade. In favour of a mutual understanding, projects and interaction between citizens of both cities shall be supported to enable the society actively shaping the partnership. The partnership has been in place since the 2nd of July, 2008.