Located in northeastern China, Tianjin is a major port city. The city is proud to be the largest artificial harbor in northern China. Following the 1858 Treaties of Tianjin, several Western nations established concessions in the city. Today it is a most modern city but you can see European-style houses, municipal buildings and churches from this period.
The Astor Hotel was founded in 1863 by Pastor John Innocent. It was built in classic British style using brick and wood. At one time it wasn’t larger than a cottage but with expansion through the years and two buildings on this site it can now serve as a hotel. In the hotel you’ll also find a museum with a wooden promenade and arched windows with carved designs. The museum displays different types of Chinese technology such as old telephones, gramophone players and the first Chinese elevator.
Tianjin has five great avenues found to the southern side of modern downtown running east-to-west. They’re lined with over 230 buildings preserved from colonial days. Some are quite modern but about 50 were built for wealthy Europeans in opulent style. As you go along you’ll notice the mix of architectural styles – Renaissance, ancient Greece, Gothic and the Romantic period. There is also architecture of the Chinese Qing Dynasty.
The Haihe or Hai River originates at the King Bridge in Beijing and flows for over 70 km before running into the Bohai Sea. This is the arterial river that flows through Tianjin. it is considered to be the “mother river” of the city. Along its banks is a great place to get a look at the impressive architecture of the Old Town.
Along its banks you’ll find the lovely Haihe Park which is a great place for strolling and relaxing. Within the park are two groups of bronze sculptures. There are verdant trees, beautiful flowers, green lawns, long corridors under ivy-laced frames and fountains.
Haihe Cultural Square got its name from the adjoining Ancient Culture Street. The square gives visitors a look at Tiajin’s cultural traditions and folk customs. There is amazing high-tech lighting, causeway pavement and a wooden floor which make this square stand out from the rest.
Haihe Fountain Amusement Park – was completed in 1985. In the central area you’ll find an awesome colorful fountain. For enjoyment and entertainment there are bumper cars, passenger-propelled airplanes and motorcycles. The playground also offers three luxurious sightseeing ships and several speed boats for tours along the Haihe River.
On the north bank is the Wanghailou Church, one of China’s cultural relics. During the Qing Dynasty there was a Wanghailou Tower, a pleasure location for emperors who made trips to their provinces.
The Laolongtou Rail Station is noted as the first rail station in China’s ancient commercial ports after the Second Opium War (1856-1860).
Ancient Culture Street is located in Nankai District on the west bank of Hai River. It was built in 1986 and opened to tourists. Here you’ll find more than a hundred different stores. At the entrance to the street is a giant archway inscribed with the words “An Old Neighborhood of Tianjin”. Behind it is a street lined with buildings built in the architectural style of the Qing Dynasty.
Located centrally in the street is the Tianhou Palace. Tianhou means Heaven Queen who was the goddess of the sea and protector of sailors and is known as Mazu and Niangniang in other parts of China. Two booms outside of the gate of the palace are already 600 years old. The square in front of the palace can hold a thousand people. Arts and ballad halls have been built around the square. Here great performances are given on festival days.
The main hall is the Niangniang Palace, featuring an effigy of Tianhou in a glass case, flanked by weapons and attendant monsters.
For a bird’s eye view of the city take a ride on The Tianjin Eye or officially The Yongle Bridge Tientsin Eye. This huge Ferris Wheel spans the Hai River. Amazing as it might seem it serves both as a bridge and a fantastic ride it is 35 stories in height. There are 64 transparent, 360-degree viewing gondolas that can seat eight people. The ride offering great views of up to 40 km goes for 30 minutes. At night it is lit up with changing colors.
The Porcelain House is a traditional French-style building furnished with antiques. The owner, Zhang Lianzhi has decorated it with furnishings and different decorations along with ceramic items which he collected over a considerable period of time. Here you can see exquisite pieces of porcelain as well as stone items of white marble, crystal agate and other decorative materials. In the collection are numerable tiles and on display are 300 lions of all kinds and sizes placed all over the building.
Tianjin Museum has a fine collection spread over three-floors with more than 200,000 pieces that range from oracle bones to an ink stone exhibit to various artifacts and document related to the city’s historical development. The highlight is the third-floor which focuses on Tianjin’s development as a modern city from the Opium War onward.
In the center of the Old Town you’ll see the large Drum Tower. North of the tower is a pedestrian shoppin street with many handicrafts for sale.
The Guangdong Guild Hall dating from 1907 is a lovely courtyard complex, centered on a beautiful, ornate, wooden hall. Here on Sunday afternoons popular Peking opera performances are held. In the back courtyard you can see fading murals by the south entrance. The hall is opposite the Drum Tower.
Monastery of Deep Compassion is the city’s most important Buddhist temple. It was built in three stages from 1436 to 1734. It is a large and very active place. Here you can see the huge, multi-armed statue of Guanyin in the Great Compassion Hall in a side courtyard.
St. Joseph’s Church was erected in 1917. It is a domed Catholic church and is the largest church in Tianjin. It was built of brick and has a most decorative interior.
The Shi Family residence has many courtyards and enclosed gardens. It used to belong to a prosperous merchant family and was built in 1875. Here is a theater and 278 rooms, some of them furnished.
The Liberation Bridge dates from 1927 and this historic bridge is located opposite the Main Train Station.
The Treaty Port Area south of the station across Liberation Bridge was the British concession. This riverside facade has been rebuilt and is quite an impressive sight at night. Walk along Jiefang Beilu and see the original, amazing hundred-year-old European buildings, which once were home to the city’s international banks. There are names posted on plaques outside of each building and many of them still are banks.
One building that is most impressive is the Quin Dynasty Post Office where visitor can see a historic stamp collection on display.
The Tianjin TV and Radio Tower was built in 1991 and rises 415-meters into the sky. It is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers and is the 10th tallest. It is referred to as “Tian Ta” for short and is located south-west of Tianjin surrounded by a lake. There are three stories in the tower. On the first story you’ll find the Xiankelai Restaurant which can serve up to 100 people and offers Chinese food, banquet services and Karoke. The second story is at a height of 253 meters and has the Observation Hall. The third story at 257 meters has a revolving restaurant with two hundred seats and the revolving platform takes 45 to 60 minutes to turn round once.
Panshan Scenic Area is located 120 km from Tianjin and 90 km from Beijing. Mt. Panshan stands east of Beijing and is known as the No. 1 Mountain in the Capital’s East. Its highest peak is 858 m above sea level. The best scenery here is the pine forests at the top, the strange rocks in the middle and the streams at the foot of the mountain. Many emperors of different dynasties visited here and many Buddhist temples were built on the mountain.
The four major ones are Tiancheng Temple, Yunzhao Temple, Wanfo Temple and Wansong Temple.
Huangyaguan Great Wall is located in the mountains 30 km north of Jixian County. It’s 42 km long and belongs to a part of the old Great Wall. To the east it reaches Malanguan Pass in Hebel Province, to the west it meets with JiangiuguanPass in Beijing. The Huangyaguan Great Wall has four towers with city gates, facing east, west, south and north. Originally it was built in 557 AD and was rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty. Qi Jiguang a national hero contributed a lot to this section. In 1984 the Great Wall was rebuilt by the government and later on many cultural attractions were added to the area among them the Great Wall Museum and Bagua Town.
Tianjin Zoo covers an area of 10.68 hectares and has more than 1,800 animals. Such first-class nationally protected animals like Giant Pandas, Siberian Tigers, Golden Monkeys, Golden Takins and Red-crowned Cranes.
There are also rare animals from exotic lands like Jaguars, lions, Asian Elephants, Chimpanzees, Giraffes, Rhinoceros and Macaws.
At the zoo visitors can take a walk in the woods, boat on the water, fish by the lake, eat delicious snacks and participate in recreation games and activities.
There is also an open herbivore area where people can get up close to the animals.
Tianjin Zoo also offers animal medical treatment, animal scientific research, precious and rare animal breeding and wildlife protection.