In the 1700s, it was again overrun by the Qing Dynasty 清朝. Soon afterwards, it was ceded to the Russians. In the era of the USSR, there was an important airforce base here, just to the right of my running route. Now it is just empty space.
I was told that when the Soviets left, they took all the equipment, and the experienced technicians with them. That dealt a big blow to the local industrial strength. This statue of an airplane at the city centre is a visible reminder of the USSR era.
Nearby is a popular shopping mall.
Today is the birthday of the girl in the skirt. She speaks English very well. Some of the others can also speak a few words. They seem to be celebrating her birthday by hanging out at the mall.
There are few prospects for young people here in the city. Many have left to find jobs elsewhere.