Manzhouli is a century-old port city, with unique cultural characteristics - a combination of Chinese, Russian and Mongolian customs, located in the northwest of Hulun Buir Grassland of East Inner Mongolia, Manchuria. Known as the “Window of Asia” in the world, the Manchuria China-Russian Frontier Tourist Region in which Manzhouli is located, is rated as one of China’s 5A-level scenic spots. It has increasingly become more popular, but the purpose of Manchuria Tourist Region isn’t only to build scenic spots. It also establishes a “Region-Based Tourism” pattern.
“Here in Manzhouli, you don’t have to consider the composition of the picture you take, because wonderful scenes are everywhere. Neither do you have to consider what to eat, because all the cuisines are exotic and appetizing,” said Han Fei, a visitor from Guangdong, China.
Thus “Russian circus performances, roast beef steak from Lubuli Western Restaurant, racing horses from the AoErJin Ranch, and fresh milk from Wangquan Market, form the “essence” of Manzhouli,” as Susan, a traveller, records in her notes. According to Susan, Manchuria isn’t like other crowded scenic spots. Besides popular sites such as the Gate of China, Matryoshka (which is also called the Russian nesting dolls), and the Hulun Lake, she also fell in love with the local customs, “Manzhouli itself is like a big scenic spot, with every part of the city having a charming view, leading travellers to endless adventures.”
Manchuria China-Russian Frontier Tourist Zone consists of four parts: the Gate of China Scenic Spot, the Matryoshka Theme Scenic Spot, the Chagan Lake Scenic Spot and China-Russian Frontier Trade and Tourism Zone. With its features of tourism, revolutionary education, and Russian customs, Manchuria has become a cross-border tourism cooperation zone with a combination of border trading, duty-free shopping, services of food and accommodation, and cultural entertainment performances.
The Matryoshka Theme Scenic Spot of Manchuria China-Russian Frontier Tourist Zone is the only large-scale integrated tourist resort with the theme of Matryoshka - the traditional Russian handicraft “nesting dolls”. The main building is a 30-meter high Russian nesting doll – the largest one in the whole world. There are imitations of Russian-style castles in the Matryoshka Theme Scenic Spot. The small scale buildings in this zone are modelled on Russian architecture. The imitation of the Red Square in Moscow serves as the entrance and the tourist information centre; the imitation of St. Petersburg Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood serves as the experience pavilion of the Russian folk customs; the imitation of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral serves as the China-Russia friendship exhibition hall; also available are miniatures of Russian style buildings and direct sales stores of specialty food. Visitors can learn to make nesting dolls from the Russian craftsmen, and taste the freshly prepared cuisines by Russian chefs.
While the Matryoshka Theme Scenic Spot displays rich Russian and Mongolian exotic customs, the Gate of China Scenic Spot tells the revolutionary story of Manchuria itself. The Gate of China Scenic Spot is located on the Chinese side of the China-Russia frontier, 9 km west of Manzhouli city. The 200,000 square-meter zone is the landmark of tourist attractions in this city, with the largest gate of China among all the land border ports in China. The scenic spot includes cultural landscapes such as the Gate of China, the historic site of revolutionary underground secret line, the exhibition hall of the Sixth National Congress of CPC, No. 41 Boundary Monument, the Gate of Peace Theme Sculptures, the Red Tourism Exhibition Hall, the Locomotive Plaza, and the Aircraft Plaza. Standing at the Gate, you can enjoy China and Russia frontier scenery from a higher position.
Chinese, Russian and Mongolian cultures blend in the entertainment zone. There are not only cultural and entertainment venues and facilities for visitors to experience, but also world-renowned Russian Circus Performing Arts Theatre, Digital Full Dome Theater, Dreamy Holographic Ballet Theatre, Matryoshka Theme Russian and Mongolian Style Performing Restaurants, and Matryoshka Impression live-action performance and high-tech indoor and outdoor amusement parks. After enjoying the beautiful Russian song of Katyusha, you may see a handsome Mongolian young man playing the Morin Khuur (horse-head string instrument) in the middle of the stage.
The Chagan Lake Scenic Spot is definitely the most attractive one in Manzhouli. The Mongolian pronunciation of the Chagan Lake is “Chagan Nur”, which means ‘The White Holy Lake.’ Visitors can see the beautiful Hulunbuir Grassland on the way, with white sheep moving slowly under the blue skies and white clouds, and yurts scattered on the grassland. By climbing the nearby hills, one can even view Hobelikoversk, the small Russian border town.
During a trip to Manzhouli, one may also wish to visit China-Russia Manchuria-Zabaikalsk Frontier Trade Zone, where one can buy genuine Russian goods. It is a frontier commercial and trade zone jointly established by the Chinese and Russian Governments, the first of its kind state-level frontier trade zone.
Manchuria not only expands the construction of scenic spots, but also puts into effect the preferential policies of border tourism. Thus, the multicultural city of Manzhouli effectively brings together Chinese culture, Russian culture, Mongolian culture, and border trading culture.
Translated by Yang Keli
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