Christmas Village greets tourists at China’s north pole

Saturday, December 25, 2010

BEIJING - A Santa Claus House, a Christmas Post Office and snow buildings are all set to greet the visitors to the Christmas Village which was opened in China’s north to attract more number of tourists in winter.

The Village in Mohe county of the northeastern Heilongjiag province which is popular as the “country’s north pole” has been created on the pattern of Finland’s world famous Santa Claus Village.

The place had witnessed the coldest weather in 1956 with temperature as low as -52.3 degrees Celsius, according to the China Daily.

Since the 1990s, people have been flocking to the picturesque town during summer. Some 430,000 tourists visited the county in 2009 and this year the number has crossed 620,000 so far.

“Business across the seasons is not steady,” Ji Bin, secretary of the Mohe committee of the Communist Party of China, was quoted as saying.

“Summer visitors often fully book our hotels, so we build more hotels, but after we’ve built them, they’re only occupied for a few months in summer. The rest of the year, they’re empty.”

Situated on the outskirts of Beiji, Mohe’s northernmost village, the 1.2-square-km park features a Santa Claus House, a Christmas Post Office and snow buildings.

Santa’s House is the headquarters of the village’s most important resident - a plump, white-bearded man in a red suit and a white cap who hands out presents to children.

The two-floor wooden building is adorned with close to 100 Santa dolls. Decorations also hang from Christmas trees and there is a life-size model of a reindeer sleigh.

According to officials, the Santa has come from Finland. He will stay in the Christmas Village until Feb 17, the last day of the Spring Festival holiday.

“It’s important for us, from the embassy’s point of view, that Chinese people know more about Santa Claus,” said Finnish Ambassador Lars Backstrom, who attended the opening of the Village.

Besides Santa’s House and the Christmas post office, the Village has a number of snow buildings, including the Christmas Club, a bar with booths made of snow and a wine rack made of ice.

A Christmas Snow Castle that offers panoramic views of the village and the Wish House, which offers visitors a chance to post their wishes to be fulfilled by Santa, are also parts of the Village.

Zhang Yan, manager of Harbin Human Resources Cultural Propagation Company, said: “We created the design ourselves, incorporating Finnish elements we researched online.”

The Christmas Village is the first phase of Mohe’s plans to market itself as a major tourism destination. The authority also has plans to set up a ski resort, a Christmas museum and a chapel for weddings.

Filed under: Economy

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