1 Zhongyang Dajie Lined with pastel-coloured wedding-cake buildings, Zhongyang Dajie may well be China's most European strip outside the Bund. But unlike its southern counterpart, it's strictly off-limits to traffic. No matter how low the temperature falls, hordes of locals cruise the street, to window shop and carouse. Original Euro-style buildings are scattered throughout the city, and just about every neighbourhood features the occasional grand facade. But since the 1998 restoration of Zhongyang Dajie, even the KFCs are easy on the eyes, with each building evoking the city's early 20th-century heyday. For a full Euro-experience, pop into Harbin Sweet Chocolate (corner of Zhongyang Dajie and West 13th Street), where a large assortment of treats awaits. Or visit the Modern Hotel, built in 1913, and once the musical centre of the city, regularly hosting visitors and residents from across Europe (89 Zhongyang Dajie, tel: [86 451] 8461 5846). 2 St Sophia Church Built in 1907, St Sophia Church is the most famous of Harbin's many churches, and by far its most striking (corner of Toulin Jie and Zhaolin Jie). Nowadays, the church has no congregation. Instead, it acts as the Harbin Construction Art Museum, with photographs detailing the development of the railway and the city that came to be known as Little Moscow. Harbin boasts plenty of other houses of worship, most still in use. The Guogeli Church (corner of Guogeli Dajie and Yonghe Jie), with its onion-shaped dome, has a Catholic congregation. The Nangang Church, built by a German Lutheran in 1914, boasts a congregation of 7,000, although nothing like that number can fit into the small chapel at the same time (252 Dongdazhi Jie). 3 The Jews of Harbin Harbin's religious encounters with the west involve another of the world's major religions. 'You can't study local history without studying the history of Jews in Harbin,' says Professor Li Shuxiao, director of the Harbin Jewish Research Centre. Remnants of the city's Jewish population abound, and the best place to get the story is at the provincial Academy of Social Sciences' exhibition (501 Youyi Lu, tel:  451 8462 7738). It highlights the businesses, schools, homes and houses of worship that dotted the city when the Jewish population peaked at 20,000 in the 1920s. Outside town, in Huangshan, is the best-preserved Jewish cemetery in Asia. 4 Unit 731 Museum Japan's legacy on the city is mired in violence. In Pingfang, 30km southwest of Harbin, is the remains of the Japanese army's Unit 731 germ warfare research facility. The grounds have been transformed into a museum, a reminder of the work that was done there at the expense of local residents, who were unwilling participants in a various experiments (the results of which, in exchange for immunity, were given to America). The station is reminiscent of a Nazi concentration camp. Much was destroyed by the Japanese towards the end of the war, but what's left provides adequate evidence of the cruelty dished out to those incarcerated between 1939 and 1945. Museum exhibits detail experiments that ranged from injections and surgery to tests seeking the limits of human endurance in extreme cold and oxygen starvation (Xinjiang Dajie, tel: [86 451] 8680 1556). 5 Bomb shelter shopping Russian-Chinese relations deteriorated in the 1960s and 70s, and underground bomb shelters were built around the city to protect the locals against an attack. The network of shelters has since been transformed into marketplaces - a sensible idea, given the freezing cold that hits Harbin in winter. You can find stairways leading into the maze of stores, stalls and halls selling everything from clothing to leather goods and DVDs. 6 Russia Coffee & Food Harbin's cosiest cafe/restaurant, Russia Coffee & Food makes a great cup of java and decent cake to go with it, not to mention a choice of Russian entrees. The interior is so full of antiques - dishes, cameras, pictures and the like - that locals call the place the Museum of Russian Life in Harbin. A meal here feels like a trip to grandma's house (57 Toudao Xijie, Daoli District, just off Zhongyang Dajie, tel: [86 451] 8456 3207). 7 Siberian Tiger Park More than 200 tigers live in the park, which is the world's largest such reserve, a short drive north of the Songhua River. Minibuses take visitors through the pens, where they're encouraged to buy chickens, ducks, sheep or pheasants - dead and alive (something we don't endorse) - to feed to the tigers. The meals arrive in a caged Land Rover, and the tigers barely give the driver enough time to chuck them the animals and meat. During Spring Festival, regular shows feature a live cow being released into one of the tiger's pens (tel: [86 451] 8430 9997). 8 Huanghu Lu Harbin's equivalent of Lan Kwai Fong is Huanghu Lu in Guogeli, three blocks from the church. This new strip of bars lines a small canal, which, in winter, is open for skating, along with a nearby mini ski slope. Here, you'll find bars such as Alps, decorated with old and new movie posters; Ladybar, featuring live music; plus a couple of ripoffs of foreign bar/restaurant chains. My Cheesecake Place offers tasty desserts of a standard you wouldn't expect to find this far north, while further up the road at 207 Guogeli Dajie, Barbizon bar is part Flintstones, part Wild West, with music that's a mix of jazz and country. 9 Ice and Snow Festival As soon as the mercury dips, sculptors from Harbin and abroad start chiselling on huge chunks of ice and snow in Zhaolin Park, on Sun Island, and throughout the city. For those hearty enough to brave the temperatures, a walk across the Songhua River from the Flood Control Monument to Sun Island is possible, although carriages drawn by a variety of animals - horses, dogs, and even goats - can whisk you across in a fraction of the time. A short train ride away is Yabuli, China's premier ski resort. National cross-country, downhill and snowboard teams train here, but the slopes evoke not so much Europe as downtown Harbin. 10 Multi-cultural cuisine Aside from the architecture, Harbin's multi-cultural history is best represented by its culinary offerings. China's Korean minority is well represented, perhaps best by Qingrui, which offers an affordable and tasty assortment of skewers and other Korean specialties (23 Dongfeng Jie, Daoli District, just east of Zhongyang Dajie). Mt Fuji features tasty all-you- can-eat sushi (132 Jingwei Jie, Daoli District, just west of the Holiday Inn, tel:  1309 186 7416). Local Russian institution Huamei, one of several downtown Russian restaurants, is overrated. But, with its bowtied, aggressive waiters and baroque second floor, it's ostentatious enough to warrant a visit (142 Zhong-yang Dajie, Daoli District, tel: [86 451] 8461 7368). Heaped portions of tasty jiachang or homestyle cooking can be found at Huazhu, where the chef's array of awards is on display (138 Andao Jie, Daoli District, tel: [86 451] 8428 2332).