Songhua River

Songhua RiverSonghua River

The Songhua River is the largest tributary of the Heilong River, flowing about 1,434 kilometres (891 meters) from Changbai Mountains through Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. The river drains 557,180 square miles (1,443,100 km2) of land, and has an annual discharge of 2,463 cubic metres per second (87,000 cu ft/s).

At the second Songhua River, it joins the Heilong River at the town of Dongjiang. It is then interrupted by the Baishan, Hongshi and Fengman Dams, which are used for hydroelectricity production. Fengman Dam forms a lake that stretches 62 km upstream. Below the dam, the Second Songhua flows northwest until its largest tributary, the Nen River, joins it near Da'an and creates the Songhua. The Nen River drains the northern Manchurian Plain. The river travels east until it joins the Hulan River near Harbin. Then it passes between the northern end of the eastern Manchurian mountain system and the Lesser Khingan Range. The river then flows into the Heilong River valley. The river freezes from late November until March. It has its highest flows when the mountain snow melts during the spring thaw. The river is navigable up to Harbin by medium-sized ships. Smaller craft can navigate the Songhua up to Jilin and the Nen River up to Qiqihar. 

Songhua River served as an important artery for the development of the city. In the 17th century, under the reign of Emperor Kangxi, naval ships were stationed along these areas, and resisted the invading Russian enemy successfully. After that, in 1689, Sino-Russian Treaty of Nerchinsk was signed. That is the first border agreement between the Qing government and the imperial Russian government. On June 6th, 1898, a Russia warship taken on the engineers and surveyors to made a topographic map for building the China-East Railway. There landing point is where the Flood Control Monument located now. From then on, the river became busy and lots of material needed for build the railway were transported through this River and then, a modern city was erected at the south bank of Songhua River.

Three big bridges have been built over the river, and one of them connected the south bank of Harbin and Sun Island was built in 1983 and opened to traffic in 1986. This bridge approach or the leading bridge on the south bank of the Songhua River was designed to have two circles. So the whole bridge was like a scissors and the bridge approach is like the scissors’ handle.

The Songhua River in winter is no less bustling than a summer bathing beach. It's frozen hard with ice nearly one meter thick, turning it into a huge playground for all kinds of ice sports. You can go swimming, skating and ice sailing, or ride in ice junks or horse-drawn sleighs.

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