The lands near the confluence of the Ussuri River and the Amur River, where today's Khabarovsk stands, have been populated for many centuries by Tungusic people, probably related to the Jurchens of the past and/or the Nanais of the present day. Chinese expeditions reached this area as early as the first half of the 15th century, when the fleets of the Ming eunuch Yishiha sailed several times from Jilin City all the way to Tyr on the lower Amur.
In the mid-17th century, the Amur Valley became the scene of hostilities between the Russian Cossacks, trying to expand into the region and to collect tribute from the natives, and the rising Manchu Qing Dynasty, intent on securing the region for itself.
The Russian explorers and raiders of the 1650s set up a number of more or less fortified camps (ostrogs) on the Amur; most of them were in use for only a few months, and later destroyed. It is usually thought that the first such camp in the general area of today's Khabarovsk was the fortified winter camp named Achansk (Ачанск) or Achansky gorodok (Ачанский городок), built by the Cossacks of Yerofey Khabarov in September 1651 after they had sailed to the area from the upper Amur. The fort was named after the local tribe whom Khabarov's people called "Achans". Already on October 8 the fort was unsuccessfully attacked by joint forces of Achans and Duchers (who had good reasons to hate the Cossacks, due to their rather heavy-handed tribute-extraction tactics), while many Russians were away fishing. In late November, Khabarov's people undertook a three-day campaign against the local chief Zhakshur (Жакшур) (whose name is also known in a more Russian version, Zaksor (Заксор)), collecting a large amount of tribute and announcing that the locals were now subjects of the Russian Czar. Similar campaign was waged later in winter against the Ducher chief Nechiga (Нечига), farther away from Achansk.
On March 24 (or 26), 1652, Fort Achansk was attacked by Manchu cavalry, led by Ninguta's commander Haise, reinforced by Ducher auxiliaries, but the Cossacks stood their ground in a day-long battle and even managed to seize the attackers' supply train. Once the ice on the Amur broke in the spring of 1652, Khabarov's people destroyed their fort and sailed away.
The exact location of Khabarov's Achansk has long been a subject for the debate among Russian historians and geographers. A number of locations, both upstream and downstream of today's Khabarovsk, have been proposed since Richard Maack, one of the first Russian scholars to visit the region, identified Achansk in 1859 with the ruins on Cape Kyrma, which is located on the southern (Chinese) shore of the Amur, upstream of Khabarovsk. The most widely accepted point of view is probably that of Boris Polevoy, who believed that Khabarov's Achansk was located in the Nanai village later known as Odzhal-Bolon (Russian: Оджал-Болонь), located on the left bank of the Amur, closer to Amursk than to Khabarovsk. One of his arguments was that both Khabarov's Achan (sometimes also spelled by the explorer as Otshchan, Отщан), and Wuzhala (乌扎拉) of the Chinese records of the 1652 engagement are based on the name of the Nanai clan "Odzhal" (Оджал), corresponding to the 20th-century name of the village as well. (The name of the clan was also written as "Uzala", as in the name of its best known member, Dersu Uzala).
Polevoy's view appeared to gain wide support among the Russian geographer community; petitioned by the Amur Branch of the Russian Geographical Society, the Russian Government renamed the village of Odzhal to Achan in 1977, to celebrate its connection with Khabarov's raid.
As to the Cape Kyrma ruins, thought by Maack to be the remains of Achansk, B.P. Polevoy identified them as the remains of another ostrog - namely, Kosogorsky Ostrog, where Onufriy Stepanov stayed a few years later.
After the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689), the area became an uncontested part of the Qing Empire for the next century and a half. Modern historical maps of the Qing period published in China mark the site of future Khabarovsk as Bólì (Chinese: 伯力). All of the middle and lower Amur region was nominally part of the Jilin Province, run first out of Ninguta and later out of Jilin City.
French Jesuits who sailed along the Ussury and the Amur in 1709 prepared the first more or less precise map of the region. According to them, the indigenous Nanai people were living on the Ussury and on the Amur down to the mouth of the Dondon River (i.e., in the region including the site of the future Khabarovsk). These people were known to the Chinese as Yupi Dazi ("Fish skin Tartars").
In 1858, the area was ceded to Russia under the Treaty of Aigun. The Russians founded the military outpost of Khabarovka (Хаба́ровка), named after Yerofey Khabarov. The post later became an important industrial center for the region. Town status was granted in 1880; in 1893, it was given its present name.
In 1894, a department of Russian Geographical Society was formed in Khabarovsk and to found libraries, theatres and museums in the city. Since then, Khabarovsk's cultural life has flourished. Much of the local indigenous history has been well preserved in the Regional Lore Museum and Natural History Museum and in places like near the Nanai settlement of Sikhachi-Alyan, where cliff drawings from more than 13,000 years ago can be found. The Khabarovsk Art Museum exhibits a rare collection of old Russian icons.
In 1916, the Khabarovsk Bridge across the Amur was completed, allowing Trans-Siberian trains to cross the river without using ferries (or temporary rail tracks over the frozen river in winter).
After the defeat of Japan in World War II, Khabarovsk was the site of the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials, in which twelve former members of the Japanese Kwantung Army and Unit 731 were put on trial for the manufacture and use of biological weapons during World War II.
Chinese Emperor Puyi, captured by Soviet troops in Manchuria, was relocated to Khabarovsk and lived there from 1945 up to 1950, when he was returned to China.
On 5 November 1956, the first phase of the city tram was commissioned. The Khabarovsk television studio began broadcasting in 1960. On 1 September 1967, the Khabarovsk Institute of Physical Education, now the Far Eastern State Academy of Physical Culture, opened. On 14 January 1971 Khabarovsk was awarded the Order of October Revolution. In 1975 the first stage of the urban trolley opened. In 1976 the city hosted an international ice hockey tournament with the ball for the prize of the newspaper Sovietskaya Rossia. In 1981 the Bandy World Championship was played in the city.
In 1996, Khabarovsk held its first mayoral elections. Paul D. Filippov, whose candidacy was supported by Governor Viktor Ishayev, was defeated. In 1998, reconstruction of the central square of Khabarovsk was completed. In May 2000, President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, decreed that new federal districts be formed, and Khabarovsk became the center of the Far Eastern Federal District.
In 2006, the Center for Cardiovascular Surgery, a high-tech medical center, was constructed according to a Russian national health project. In 2008, the train station was completely renovated, and the adjacent square was reconstructed to include fountains and an underground passage. In 2009, Khabarovsk hosted the EU-Russia summit. In 2010, the city hosted a meeting of the Great Circle of Ussuri Cossacks. On 3 November 2012, Khabarovsk was awarded the honorary title of "City of Military Glory".
Khabarovsk is the administrative center of the krai and, within the framework of administrative divisions, it also serves as the administrative center of Khabarovsky District, even though it is not a part of it. As an administrative division, it is incorporated separately as the city of krai significance of Khabarovsk—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the city of krai significance of Khabarovsk is incorporated as Khabarovsk Urban Okrug.
Khabarovsk experiences a monsoonal dry-winter humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dwb).
The average annual precipitation is 682 millimeters (26.9 in), mainly concentrated in the summer. In a few years, November to March hardly receive any precipitation. The driest year was 2001 with only 381 millimeters (15.0 in) of precipitation and the wettest was 1981 when 1,105 millimeters (43.5 in) of precipitation fell. The wettest month was August 1981 with a total precipitation of 434 millimeters (17.1 in). Snowfall is common, though light, with an average maximum snow height of 16 centimeters (6.3 in).
The city's extreme climate sees average highs and lows vary by around 50 °C (90 °F) per year. The average temperature in January is −19.8 °C (−3.6 °F) and the average for July is +21.3 °C (70.3 °F). Extremes have ranged from −40 °C (−40 °F) in January 2011 to +36.4 °C (97.5 °F) in June 2010.
Primary industries include iron processing, steel milling, petroleum refining, flour milling, pharmaceutical industry, meat packing and manufacturing of various types of heavy and light machinery.
A high-speed international fiber-optic cable connects the city of Khabarovsk (Russia) and the city of Fuyuan (China).
The city is located along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Rail distance from Moscow is 8,523 kilometers (5,296 mi); it is a principal railway center.
Khabarovsk is served by the Khabarovsk Novy Airport with international flights to East Asia, Southeast Asia, European Russia, and Central Asia. It is also served by the Trans-Siberian Railway, the Trans-Siberian Highway (M58 and M60 Highways) and the Amur River and Ussuri River waterways.
Public transport includes: tram (8 routes); trolleybus (4 routes); bus and fixed-route taxi (marshrutka , approximately 100 routes).
There are the following institutions of higher education in Khabarovsk:Pacific National University (former Khabarovsk State University of Technology)
Far Eastern State University of Humanities (former Khabarovsk State Teachers Training University)
Far Eastern State Medical University
Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law
Far Eastern State Transport University
Far Eastern Academy of Public Service
Far Eastern State Physical Education University
Khabarovsk State Institute of Arts and Culture
A key street in Khabarovsk is the broad Amursky Boulevard with its many shops and a local market. The city's five districts stretch for 45 kilometers (28 mi) along the Amur River. The similar boulevard - Ussuryisky is located between the two main streets Muravyov-Amursky and Lenin street and runs to the city's artificial lakes (Gorodskie Prudi) with the sport complex Platinum Arena. The lakes are famous for their fountains with the light show.
Recently, there have been renovations in the city's central part, rebuilding with historical perspective. There is a walking tour from the Lenin Square to Utyos on Amur via Muravyov-Amursky Street, where visitors find traditional Russian cuisine restaurants and shops with souvenirs. There are a number of night clubs and pubs in this area. In Wintertime ice sculptures are on display on the cities squares and parks. Artists come from as far as Harbin in China.
Unlike Vladivostok, the city has never been closed to foreigners, despite it being the headquarters of the Far East Military District, and retains its historically international flavour. Once the capital of the Soviet Far East (from 1926 to 1938), since the demise of the Soviet Union, it has experienced an increased Asian presence. It is estimated that over one million Chinese travel to and through Khabarovsk yearly, and foreign investment by Japanese and Korean corporations has grown in recent years. The city has a multi-story shopping mall and about a dozen hotels.
The headquarters of the Russian Eastern Military District is located at 15 Serysheva Street. There is also an air base located 3 km (1.9 mi) to the east of the city.Amur Khabarovsk, a professional ice hockey club of the international Kontinental Hockey League and plays its home games at the Platinum Arena. It is the easternmost-based team in the league.
FC SKA-Khabarovsk, a professional association football team playing in the Russian Premier League, the top tier of Russian association football.
SKA-Neftyanik, a professional bandy club which plays in the top-tier Russian Bandy Super League at its own indoor venue Arena Yerofey. It is both the easternmost and southernmost team in the top division. In the 2016-17 season the club became Russian champion for the first time.
The city was a host to the 1981 Bandy World Championship. It also hosted the 2015 Bandy World Championship, which was visited by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. 21 teams were expected, which would have been 4 more than the then record-making 17 (now it's 18) from the 2014 tournament. In the end, China was the only newcomer, while Canada and Ukraine withdrew, the latter for political reasons. Khabarovsk will organise the 2018 tournament as well, but not Division B this time around, which will be held in Chinese Harbin.
A delegation from the 2022 Winter Olympics organising committee will visit Khabarovsk to watch matches in the bandy league, since they are considering letting bandy be a part of the programme in 2022.Oleksandr Aliyev, association football player
Sergei Bodrov, filmmaker
Evgeny Grachev, ice hockey player
Mikhail Grigorenko, ice hockey player
Alexandra Ivanovskaya, 2005 Miss Russia winner
Alexander Mogilny, ice hockey player
Evgeni Plushenko, Olympic figure skater
Ivan Skobrev, speed skater
Andrei Tchmil, professional cyclist
Efim Zelmanov, mathematician
Ivan Koumaev, dancer
Andrey Zamkovoy, boxer
Vita Sidorkina, model
Khabarovsk is twinned with: Niigata, Japan, since 1965
Portland, United States, since 1988
Victoria, Canada, since 1990
Harbin, China, since 1993
Bucheon, South Korea, since 2002
Sanya, China, since 2011
Chongjin, North Korea, 2011
Khabarovsk placed first in different categories of "Most Developed and Comfortable City of Russia" in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
In 2010, Khabarovsk won the second place in the Forbes list of most suitable cities for private business in Russia. First place went to Krasnodar.