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China’s Coldest Town Mohe Has Built a Home for Santa to Attract Tourists during Winter

Date: 2010.12.23 Editor: Evelyn Shi

This week, the Father Christmas Village opened in Beiji Cun, or North Pole Village in Heilongjiang’s Mohe Town. It has been modelled on Rovaniemi, the self-proclaimed hometown of Santa near the Arctic Circle in the northern Finnish province of Lapland.

Less than 80 kilometers from China-Russia Border, Mohe is mainland’s most northerly town and its coldest place. Winter in Mohe runs from early October to mid-May, and there are only 90 days a year when there isn’t frost on the ground. In winter, the temperature can plunge below 40 minus degrees Celsius.

With freezing winds that howl down from Siberia and darkness from mid-afternoon, the town of Mohe might not sound ideal for a holiday. To attract more tourists, Mohe is cashing in on its uniquely icy weather conditions by turning itself into the official home of Santa Claus in China.

"The Father Christmas Village has been designed exactly like the village in Finland. It has Santa Claus’s house, a post office where people can send Christmas cards with a special Santa Claus postmark and there’s a ski run,” says Huang Nana, deputy director of Mohe’s Tourism Bureau. “We think that having a Father Christmas Village will enable tourists to enjoy a unique Christmas holiday.”

Mohe receives about 400,000 visitors annually, and the number is increasing every year. With Christmas gaining popularity on the mainland, that number seems likely to increase in the future, even if some people find it hard to regard Mohe as a holiday destination.