Aihui History Museum
Address: Sabsu Street, Aihui, Heihe, Heilongjiang province
opens at 9:10 (1 May - 7 October, last ticket: 16:00)
opens at 9:30 (8 October - 30 April, last ticket: 15:30)
Closed Mondays (8 October - 30 April), Chinese lunar New Year's Eve, and the first 2 days of Spring Festival
General admission: Free (passport required for entry)
In 1858, China's Qing empire (1644-1911) was stricken with domestic turmoil and foreign aggression. Besides the sprawling rebellions and wars, in the northeastern border town of Aihui (today's Heihe of Heilongjiang Province), the Qing official Yishan (1790-1878) of the Aisin Gioro clan bitterly signed a treaty with Nikolay Nuravyov (1809-1881) of the Russian Empire. The Treaty of Aihui was humiliating, for the Qing government was made to cede to Russia over 610,000 square kilometers of territory between the Heilongjiang River (or Amur River) in the south and the area beyond the Khingan Range in the north. Consequently the Heilongjiang River was made a border river between China and Russia rather than an inland waterway as it used to be, and the Qing government lost absolute control of the Heilongjiang and Wusuli rivers. Russia thus gained free access to the Pacific Ocean.
The scene of the signing of the treaty is restored with wax figures in the Aihui History Museum, located in the heritage site of Aihui town which dates to the late 17th century. With ample documents and objects, the museum is dedicated to revisiting the history of the town and east Sino-Russian relations from the mid-17th to the early 20th century, with emphasis on key historical incidents such as the signing of the treaties of Nerchinsk (1689) and Aihui (1858), the Hailanpao Massacre (1900), the Massacre at the Sixty-four villages east of the River (1900) and the ensuing looting and burning-down of Aihui by the Tsarist Russian army.