Tianjin - Your Gateway to North China

Located at the Bohai Bay along the West coast of Pacific Ocean, The city of Tianjin is one of the four biggest cities in China in parallel with Beijing, Shanghai and Chong Qing. Tianjin is the commercial center and largest coastal open city in Northern China. Among the world's largest cities, Tianjin ranks 15. It covers 11,305 sq. km and consists of 13 districts, 5 counties and has a total population of nearly 10 million. It only takes 1 hour and 20 minutes by train or 2 hours' drive from Tianjin to the capital city - Beijing.
Tianjin City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(7) Art(6) Local Culture/Unique Tour(6)
Nature/Scenic(4)     Food/Shopping(6)   Night Life(5)
Religion(4) Adventure/Sports(3) Reasonable Cost(7)
Recommended Days of Stay: 2 Tianjin City Map

Quick Facts
Population - 6 million
When to go
Tourist Season - May to September;
Coldest Months - January, with temperature as low as -10C;
Hottest Months - July, with temperature as high as 40C;
Annual Precipitation - 400 millimeters (July through August)
Getting In and Out
By Air - Tianjin has direct connections with Hong Kong and 29 other Chinese cities;

By Bus - Express buses are available between Tianjin and Beijing. They leave the Hongqi bus station in Tinajin and arrive at the Beijing East Railway station (Dong Zhan);

By Train - It only takes 74 minutes to get to Tianjin from Beijing on the express trains nowadays. There are eight of them a day;

By Car - Cars and Taxis are available for rent at the Tianjin Train Station. It should cost approximately 400-500 RMB;

By Water - Tianjin also has sea passenger routes with Inchon (28 hours), Kobe (48 hours), Dalian (14 hours).

History


The name "Tianjin" means "Emperor's Ford", or "the point where the Son of Heaven once forded the river". The "Son of Heaven" referred to Zhu Di, Emperor Yongle of Ming Dynasty. In those days, imperial tribute grain from the southern parts of the country was shipped to the capital city by the Grand Canal, which flows through Tianjin. Through the years, the city of Tianjin has become one of the largest international trading ports and industrial and commercial metropolises in China, second only to Shanghai.

A European trading community was established in Tianjin in the 19th century. The Western powers which had been pressing for trading privileges saw Tianjin's importance as the gateway to North China and were eager to gain a foothold in Tianjin. They were able to achieve this at the conclusion of the second Anglo-French war against China in 1858, when the Treaty of Tientsin was signed authorizing the establishment of French and British concessions in Tianjin. From the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries, more concessions were given to Japan, Germany, Russia, Austro-Hungary, Italy and Belgium. As a result of these settlements, Tianjin inherited a mixture of architectural styles as well as improved shipping facilities.

Severely damaged by the catastrophic Tangshan earthquake of 1976, Tianjin had to redevelop its urban infrastructure on a massive scale. Nevertheless, some of the buildings from its treaty port days have survived, most notably those on the west bank of Hai He River, clustering round the two main thoroughfares, He Ping Road and Jie Fang Road.


Temple of Dule (Temple of Solitary Joy) * * * * *
Dule Temple is located north of Tianjin's urban district in the small county town of Jixian, a three-hour train ride from downtown Tianjin. According to historical records, the temple was first built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and then rebuilt in the Liao Dynasty (916-1125).

On the lintel of the gate hangs a large eye-catching board with the inscription "Dule Temple", said to be written by the notorious prime minister Yan Song of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Inside the temple stands Guanyin Hall with a 16-metre-high statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin, the largest extant clay statue in China. The statue stands in the center of the hall, towering upward through the second and third stories until it reaches the octagonal caisson ceiling. In order to show Guanyin's immense supernatural powers, the sculptors had added ten small Guanyin heads to the top of the statue's head. This statue is therefore known as the Eleven-faced Guanyin. According to the Esoteric Sect of Buddhism, which began to gain popularity in China during the Tang Dynasty, Guanyin has the power to transform herself into 33 different incarnations and save humans from 13 different types of disasters.

Guanyin Hall is a three-story wooden structure. Between its top and bottom eaves there is a story formed by hanging eaves and flat balustrades, giving the Hall the appearance of having only two-stories. The sole purpose of this style of construction was to protect the Guanyin Statue within. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the town of Jixian was destroyed three times by war. Each time there was a war the town people rushed to protect Dule Temple, rather than remaining to safeguard their own homes. This is how the temple managed to escape destruction, and how the Guanyin statue inside has survived to this day. Three of the walls in the lower part of the hall are covered with Buddhist murals. Both sides of the door in the fourth wall are painted with portraits of Ming-dynasty guardians with glaring eyes, three heads, six arms and brandish iron rods. Although the exact date of the murals is uncertain, we know from the inscriptions written on them that they are ancient murals repaired in the Ming Dynasty.


Concession Streets (Jie Fang Bei Road, Five Great Roads, Yi Gong Area, Quan Ye Chang)* * * * *
In 1860, with the opening of Tianjin as a treaty port Britain, France and America secured concession areas in Tianjin of 27.6, 21.6 and 7.86 hectares respectively in 1860-1861. During the next phase, in 1895-1897, Germany acquired 62.4 hectares in October 1895; Japan acquired 100.02 hectares in 1896-1898, to be further expanded in 1900; and Britain expanded its existing area westwards to a total of 97.8 hectares. This was followed by the third stage, when new concessions were opened by Russia (328.44 hectares), Italy (46.26), Belgium (44.85) and Austria (61.8), in 1900, 1901, 1900 and 1902 respectively. In this period the American concession was absorbed into the British one, which also expanded further westwards in 1901 and reached a total area of 368.94 hectares. The French, German and Japanese concessions were also expanded to 171.6, 245.04 and 124.4 hectares respectively. The total of the concession areas was thus about 1,400 hectares. The Russian concession, one of the last, was laid out but never completed, and very little was even begun in the Belgian concession before 1924. The German and Austrian concessions were confiscated by the Chinese government in 1917, but continued to operate under a separate administration.

The French, British and United States concessions of 1860-1861 were located in a strip of land between the south-west bank of the Hai He River and the road to Tang Gu. Right along the center of this strip the concession powers laid out their main roads, not quite in line, Victoria Road and the Rue de France, which today are continuous as Jie Fang Bei Road (Liberty North Road). All the land in the British Concession was leased for ninety-nine years at 1,500 copper cash per mu, and the lessee was required to contribute to the costs of drainage, lighting, road-making and other public works. By 1870 Victoria Road was laid out with a double row of elms, and there were several presentable houses. The American concession, according to Michie, still had no houses and was mostly occupied by ice pits, while the French concession was 'a wretched terrain given up to pools, cabbage gardens, hot pits for storing fruit and vegetables, and a rowdy, sinful, and criminal population' (Rasmussen 1925). This was an exaggeration, but only a slight one. Rasmussen's map shows the development at this time located along the south-west bank of the Hai He River and along Victoria Road, which ran parallel, mostly in the British concession, but with a little spilling over into the territories of the French and the Americans. The French concession of 1861 was a compact area within the elbow of the Hai He River. Like the British one, it bounded on the south-west by the Da Gu Road (Rue Takou, or Hai Da Dao), extending south-west so far as the Mud Wall in 1900. The Japanese obtained their concession in 1898, adjoining the French on the north-west, and in the form of a wedge running from the river bank to its wider end at the Mud Wall. In 1900 they obtained a further small area of river bank extending towards the Old City, as well as a completely detached area downstream beyond the other concessions. The German concession of 1895 was between Da Gu Road and the River, adjoining the British on the south-east. It was entirely outside the Mud Wall. The extension of 1901 was inland on the other side of Da Gu Road.

The area around First Palace consists almost solely of substantial Italianate style villas set on large allotment, which were built in the Italian concession era (1901 to 1940). Most of the buildings are set well back from the street. This together with the uniform architectural style and tree canopy over the streets, make the area a significant heritage area for Tianjin. There are two piazzas on Ziyou Road (constructed between 1908 and 1916) around which are grouped buildings similar in architectural style, in height and in their settings. These compositions are exceptionally appealing visually. Most of the buildings are villas or apartment blocks that are two to three stories high, many with half basements. The architectural style and decoration is Italianate (a style not found in Italy, but rather deriving form a romantic English interpretation of elements of Italian architecture).


Jixian County Drum Tower (Gu Lou) * *
The Drum Tower is located in the center of Jixian County. It was originally built in the Ming Dynasty and was renovated several times during the Qing Dynasty. This is the only drum tower extant in Tianjin area.

Memorial Hall of the Boxer Uprising (Lu Zu Tang) *
This memorial hall, located at 18 Hejia Lane, Ruyyi'an Street of Hongqiao District, has been converted from a temple dedicated to Lu Dongbin, who is one of the eight gods in Chinese folklore. In 1900, Cao Futian, leader of the Boxer Uprising set his headquarters here to take command of anti-imperialist activities. After renovation in 1985, it became the Memorial Hall of the Boxer Uprising.

The White Pagoda of Liao Dynasty * * *
Located in the southwest of Jixian County, the White Pagoda 30.6 meters in height was first built in the Tang Dynasty and renovated many times during the Liao, Ming and Qing dynasties. In 1983, when the pagoda was renovated, many valuable relics were found, such as a small amber tower, a crystal tortoise-shaped box, a Liao-dynasty carved glass vase, and a Ming-dynasty gilded bronze statue.

Dagu Fort * * *
The Dagu Battlement stands 60 kilometers southeast of the city of Tianjin. The battlement was first built during the Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty and enlarged after the Opium War. There were five large batteries. When China was invaded by the Allied Forces of Eight Powers in 1900, the batteries were dismantled. The first Franco-British attack on Dagu Fort in June 1859 was unsuccessful, and cost about four hundred casualties, including the wounded British commander-in-chief. In July the invading powers set 16,000 men to Dagu. In August the forces landed at Beitang and occupied both Dagu Fort and Tianjin itself. In October they invaded Beijing and destroyed the famous Yuan Ming Yuan. Now the square shaped "Hai" fort is preseved well.

Shi Family Mansion - Folk Architectural Galaxy of the Late Qing Dynasty * * *
Constructed in 1875,the Shi Family Mansion was the habitation of Mr. Shi Wancheng, one of the top eight richest people in Tianjin during the Qing Dynasty. Occupying an area of six hectares and a building area of 2,900 square meters, the mansion now houses the Yangliuqing Museum. The museum is composed of 12 courtyards all in Chinese traditional quadrangle style with a long paved path leading to all the yards from the front gate.

On the east side of the path are the former bed rooms and living rooms which now serve as the exhibition area. On display here are Yangliuqing New Year woodblock printed pictures through the ages. On the west side of the path are the former Shi family's grand hall, opera tower and Buddhist shrine for receiving guests, entertainment, pastimes, chanting sutras and worshipping god. From the Buddhist shrine passing a gate to the west is the Yangliuqing Folklore Museum. Here Yangliuqing kites, paper-cuts and props for temple fairs, all with a flavor of folk art, are displayed together with local wedding customs.


Tianjin History Museum * * *
Located at 4 Guanghua Road, Hedong District, it was originally built as "Tianjin Museum" in 1918. This museum, featuring local history, covers about 380,000 square meters with a floor space of 13,000 square meters. The 7,000 square meter exhibition hall houses a collection of some 100,000 pieces of cultural relics, of which 400 are ranked as first-class state treasures.

Zhou Enlei's Museum * *
Located inside Nankai Middle School, Erwei Road, Nankai District, the memorial hall is what was once the Eastern Academic Building where the late Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai studied. On display are historical photographs, manuscripts and magazines edited by him.

The Juewu(Enlightenment) Society, set up during the May Fourth Movement in 1919, was a revolutionary body made up of the backbones from the Tianjin students unions and the women's patriot federation. Zhou Enlai, M Jun, Guo Longzhen, Liu Qingyang and Deng Yingchao were among them. The Juewu Society Memorial hall, which was the society's meeting place, covers an area of 168 square meters and illustrates the revolutionary activities with relics, documents and historical photos.


The Old City * * *
The Old City dates from 1401 with the walls built in 1404. It is on a rectangular plan measuring 1.6 * 1.0 km and intersected by two main roads at right angles. The city was fortified with a wall and corner towers. In the center stands the Drum Tower at the intersection of the roads. It was the center of feudal administration under the Qing Dynasty until the invasion of the eight allied powers in 1900. The outer wall was destroyed by the Allied Provisional Government or possibly the Japanese. The Drum Tower survived with the upper floor serving as a popular shrine and the lower part serving as a police station. The building was demolished in 1950s. Surviving buildings include a Confucian Temple, the Guandong (or Cantonese Merchants') Guild Hall, etc. The Guangdong Guild Hall at the corner of Dongmennei Street and Nanmennei Street, occupies a site of 6,619 square meters, with 2,333 square meters of roofed space. It now serves as the Tianjin Theatre (or Opera) Museum.

Art
The Tianjin Opera Museum * * * *
It is one of China's two preeminent opera houses now preserved as museums. The other one can be found in Suzhou in the south. It was by no means an accident that the opera museum had grown to its present size from the former Guangdong Guildhall. Guildhalls had once thrived in great numbers in Tianjin, which was the main industrial and commercial city in North China. Guildhalls served as meeting places for businessmen in various trades to talk over business. Such conventions would be entertained by theatrical performances. The theatre built in the guildhall occupies two thirds of the structure. The building of the Guangdong Guildhall was completed in 1907. The following year a modern opera house was built in Shanghai, with a picture-frame stage, the first of its kind in China. Traditional Chinese opera houses ceased to be built from that time on, thus making the Guangdong Guildhall the last of its kind to be constructed. And appropriately enough it is now the Tianjin Opera Museum.

From the viewpoint of its architecture, the Tianjin Opera Museum is unique. The traditional brick and wood structure reflects features of Chaozhou (in Guangdong province) architecture. The structure is very austere in that its lines are rectangular and perpendicular. At the same time, it appears harmonious and steady, as the exquisite carving which make up the corners of the stage impart a sense of serenity and comfort. Scanning around, you would find wooden carvings in purple on all sides, adding to the traditional atmosphere. The theatre is supported by no columns, other than the small columns separating side booths; thus, there is no obstruction of view. The stage is not elevated too high, so a spectator can comfortably view the stage by looking straight ahead from his seat without stretching his neck. The stage itself, 70 square meters in area, extends widely. The glass windows walling the top of the theatre allow natural light to penetrate from the top floor so that no stage lights are needed during the matinee performance. The umbrella shaped caisson is hung from the ceiling right on top of the stage, yet there are no columns to support the stage entrance. The caisson is not merely decorative but is acoustic equipment, by which sound on the stage is amplified and transmitted in a natural way without the aid of a modern amplification system. Throughout the theatre, audience has no difficulty in hearing dialogues spoken or melodies sung by actors or musicians. At the end of the performance study the two murals by the side of the main gate, depicting scenes from ancient operas. Visit the display rooms in the eastern and western chambers for exhibits on the history of the development of Chinese opera. You can also see the traditional costumes worn by characters in some popular Chinese operas.


Tianjin Art Museum * * * *
Situated at 12 Chengde Road, Heping District, the museum houses more than 40,000 exhibits. A collection of modern paintings, calligraphy works and handicrafts are also featured. Displayed on the second floor are pottery, bronze, jade, ink slabs, Zhang's Figurines and other handicrafts made in various dynasties. Exhibited on the third floor are calligraphy works and paintings.

Color Clay Sculptures by Sculptor Zhang * * * * *
The art of Zhang's Painted Clay Figures has a history of over 140 years. It is characterized by its combination of clay models and colored paintings with the figurines in vivid colors depicting various gestures and expressions. As early as in the Qing Dynasty, Tianjin had already established itself as a place well known for its clay figurines. Particularly, Zhang's Painted Clay Figurines, a school of figurine making in its own right, has contributed greatly to this reputation. The brilliant workmanship and remarkable style have long been so widely recognized that Zhang's Painted Clay Figurines have become a household name in China. Its founder, Zhang Mingshan, learned the trade in early childhood from his father, and elevated clay figurine making from a mere skill to a form of art. Thereafter, the craft has been handed down through generations of Zhang's family. Every generation has enriched the development of Zhang's figurine making tradition. Today, Zhang Naiying, the fifth-generation of the Zhang family, continues to carry out the family tradition.

Yangliuqing Chinese New Year Paintings * * * * *
The Yangliuqing Chinese New Year Paintings were first created in the Chongzhen period (1628-1644) of the Ming Dynasty. It was named after the old town Yangliuqing, a western suburb of Tianjin. The atmospheric pictures are characterized by colored woodcut prints and manual color painting with vivid figures. More than 300 years ago, peasants and folk artists of New Year pictures began to collect sketches and carved wooden blocks and created unique craftsmanship of New Year paintings. The tradition has since been passed down from generation to generation. The Yangliuqing Chinese New Year Paintings integrate techniques of Gongbi figure paintings, which is a traditional Chinese realistic painting characterized by fine brushwork and close attention to details.

Wei's Kites * * * * *
Tianjin has a long tradition of kite making and is well known for its craftsmanship. The popularity of kite-flying in Tianjin of dynastic China is shown in a Qing Dynasty artist's famous painting: Ten Beauties Flying Kites. Among the best known designs of kites here are stringed lanterns, hovering eagles and butterflies. Awarded gold prize in Panama International Fair in 1914, the kites of "Kite Wei" have been known for their exquisite workmanship, bright colors and flying capability. They can be used both for flying and collecting. Kite-making master Wei Yuantai, who has been in the trade for 70 years, has contributed greatly to the development of the handicraft. He has improved the conventional designs and invented foldable kites. Wei's kites display lifelike imitation of the subjects, great choice of colors and fine workmanship. Moreover, they are made of high quality materials such as silks and satins for the sail, and fine, long and flexible bamboo trips for the frame.

Western Style Architecture (concessions) * * * * *
In 1860, with the opening of Tianjin as a treaty port Britain, France and America secured concession areas in Tianjin of 27.6, 21.6 and 7.86 hectares respectively in 1860-1861. During the next phase, in 1895-1897, Germany acquired 62.4 hectares in October 1895; Japan acquired 100.02 hectares in 1896-1898, to be further expanded in 1900; and Britain expanded its existing area westwards to a total of 97.8 hectares. This was followed by the third stage, when new concessions were opened by Russia (328.44 hectares), Italy (46.26), Belgium (44.85) and Austria (61.8), in 1900, 1901, 1900 and 1902 respectively. In this period the American concession was absorbed into the British one, which also expanded further westwards in 1901 and reached a total area of 368.94 hectares. The French, German and Japanese concessions were also expanded to 171.6, 245.04 and 124.4 hectares respectively. The total of the concession areas was thus about 1,400 hectares. The Russian concession, one of the last, was laid out but never completed, and very little was even begun in the Belgian concession before 1924. The German and Austrian concessions were confiscated by the Chinese government in 1917, but continued to operate under a separate administration.

The French, British and United States concessions of 1860-1861 were located in a strip of land between the south-west bank of the Hai He River and the road to Tang Gu. Right along the center of this strip the concession powers laid out their main roads, not quite in line, Victoria Road and the Rue de France, which today are continuous as Jie Fang Bei Road (Liberty North Road). All the land in the British Concession was leased for ninety-nine years at 1,500 copper cash per mu, and the lessee was required to contribute to the costs of drainage, lighting, road-making and other public works. By 1870 Victoria Road was laid out with a double row of elms, and there were several presentable houses. The American concession, according to Michie, still had no houses and was mostly occupied by ice pits, while the French concession was 'a wretched terrain given up to pools, cabbage gardens, hot pits for storing fruit and vegetables, and a rowdy, sinful, and criminal population' (Rasmussen 1925). This was an exaggeration, but only a slight one. Rasmussen's map shows the development at this time located along the south-west bank of the Hai He River and along Victoria Road, which ran parallel, mostly in the British concession, but with a little spilling over into the territories of the French and the Americans. The French concession of 1861 was a compact area within the elbow of the Hai He River. Like the British one, it bounded on the south-west by the Da Gu Road (Rue Takou, or Hai Da Dao), extending south-west so far as the Mud Wall in 1900. The Japanese obtained their concession in 1898, adjoining the French on the north-west, and in the form of a wedge running from the river bank to its wider end at the Mud Wall. In 1900 they obtained a further small area of river bank extending towards the Old City, as well as a completely detached area downstream beyond the other concessions. The German concession of 1895 was between Da Gu Road and the River, adjoining the British on the south-east. It was entirely outside the Mud Wall. The extension of 1901 was inland on the other side of Da Gu Road.

The area around First Palace consists almost solely of substantial Italianate style villas set on large allotment, which were built in the Italian concession era (1901 to 1940). Most of the buildings are set well back from the street. This together with the uniform architectural style and tree canopy over the streets, make the area a significant heritage area for Tianjin. There are two piazzas on Ziyou Road (constructed between 1908 and 1916) around which are grouped buildings similar in architectural style, in height and in their settings. These compositions are exceptionally appealing visually. Most of the buildings are villas or apartment blocks that are two to three stories high, many with half basements. The architectural style and decoration is Italianate (a style not found in Italy, but rather deriving form a romantic English interpretation of elements of Italian architecture).


Peking Opera Performance * * *

Local Culture/Unique Tour
Ancient Cultural Street * * * * *
Situated near the west bank of Haihe River, the Ancient Cultural Street is an enchanting street with traditional Chinese styles. The two streets, Gong Nan and Gong Bei, center a plaza where traditional performances and celebrations often take place. The "Huang Hui" - the Emporor's Fair, is held annually on March 23rd of the lunar calendar (which is the Sea Godess' Birthday). The Temple of Sea Goddess is the center of the street. The Goddess' name is Lin Muo Niang. She was born in Fujian Province and was a life-saver on the sea. After her death, she became Queen of the Heaven, blessing and protecting the safety of fishermen. The Temple of Sea Goddess was originally built in 1326 and was renovated in 1403. It is the oldest building existing in Tianjin. The temple covers an area of 25,000 square meters and faces the Haihe River. The structures that remain include its gateway, archway, the drum and bell tower, gate hall, main hall, sutra storeroom and praying room. The Tianjin Folklore Exhibition at both wing halls details the history of Tianjin, the Sea Goddess Temple and the temple fairs. The Ancient Cultural Street is a prime stop for tourists to shop for such famous Tianjin folk art works as Wei's Kites, Zhang's Painted Clay Figurines and Yangliuqing Chinese New Year Paintings. The street also offers a variety of traditional northern Chinese souvenirs, such as antiques, paintings, calligraphy works, rubbings of stone inscriptions, and the four treasures of the study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper).

Tianjin's TV Transmission Tower * * * *
One of the city's greatest landmarks, the UFO shaped Tianjin Television Transmission Tower rises 415.2 meters above the city, offering some of the finest views in the world. It's the second tallest in Asia and the 4th tallest in the world. The tower was built from June 5th, 1988, and started broadcasting in October 1st, 1991. Between 248.5 meters and 278 meters high, there is a UFO shaped seven story building with a total floor area of 4450 sq. m. The second floor is the observatory, where you can overlook the whole city. The third floor is a revolving restaurant where you can drink a cup of coffee and watch the city go by. The restaurant makes a full 360 degree turn every hour or so. On a clear day the views are unbelievable offering one of the most enjoyable experiences you will ever have in Tianjin.

Local Universities and Colleges
- Tianjin University * * *
- Nankai University * * * *

Nature/Scenic
Panshan Mountain * * * * *
Located 12 kilometers northwest of Jixian and about 100 kilometers from downtown Tianjin, Mt. Panshan is covered with exuberant forests and rich in historical and scenic spots. The mountains boasting precipitous peaks and green valleys extend to thousands of miles. Mt. Panshan, known as "The First Mountain East of Beijing" has been recognized as one of the 15 greatest scenic spots of China. When Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty toured Panshan Mountain, he heaved a sigh and said, "If I knew earlier, why should I have toured south of the Yangtze River!"

Mount Panshan is on the edge of the North China Plain. Less than a thousand meters above sea level, the granite peaks rise abruptly, featured by the many sheer precipices and grotesquely shaped rocks and boulders. Its main peak, Guayue(Moon hanging) Peak, though only 864-metres above sea level, rises precipitously, making it look impressively tall. From the summit you can view the Great Wall of China to the north and the Taihang Mountains to the west. Luxuriant forests grow on the hillsides flanking the valleys and on gentle slopes. Among the more than 320 kinds of trees and shrubs found in the vicinity, pines are the most numerous. There are vast dense stretches of old pine trees around the Wansong(Ten Thousand-Pine) Temple and the Songshu( Pine Tree) Ridge. The pine trees here have wistfully bent trunks and coiled branches, adapting to the thin and poor layer of soil on which they grow. In addition, the climate here is characterized by strong winds, frost and snow. The pine trees also indomitably adapt themselves to the austere natural conditions by growing close to the ground and stretching their branches horizontally to reduce the pressure of the strong winds and to avoid rubbing against each other. This accounts for the many different shapes of pine trees growing on the plains. The pine trees growing on cliffs or in rock fractures show astonishing vitality by adapting themselves to even more adverse conditions.

Mount Panshan is among the 15 most famous mountains in China. As the saying goes, most of the famous mountains are inhabited by monks. Panshan is no exception. In Mount Panshan, there are 72 temples and monasteries, which have been frequented by faithful Buddhist believers for centuries. Mount Panshan has become an increasingly popular tourist spot in North China. During holidays, people rush in from Tianjin, Beijing and surrounding areas to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The rocks, pine trees, streams, and vast greenness give tourists the experience of life in a fairyland, and help them get refreshed and revitalized.


Huangya Pass of the Great Wall of China* * * * *
The Ming-dynasty stretch of the Great Wall of China, lies 25 kilometers north of the seat of Jixian County in the outer suburbs of Tianjin. The wall and its watchtowers were built in mountain ridges about 730 meters above sea level. At his commanding height, one can truly appreciate the saying, "If one man guards the pass, ten thousand are unable to get through." This is the mighty nature and attraction of the Great Wall of China at Huangya Pass. Looking down from one side of the pass, one can see the wall and the mountain peaks reflected in the Gouhe river, which rises in neighboring Xinglong county. As the river flows past this spot, it makes a turn to the south, carving its way through the Yanshan Mountains, thus making the mountain slopes of Huangya Pass look even more precipitous. The Great Wall of China at Huangya Pass, built following the contours of the sheer, precipitous Wangmaoding Mountain, is known as Bagua (Eight Trigrams) City. It is strategically located and very difficult to besiege. What's more, it has many traps laid within making it almost impossible for an intruder to find a way out. The pass, therefore, constitutes the main body of the defense works of the Great Wall of China at Huangya Pass.

Haihe River* * *
Meandering through Tianjin and running into the Bo Hai Sea, Haihe River gave birth to the city of Tianjin. The old name of Haihe River is Gushui. Take a day-trip on the tour boat to see the beautiful scenery along the river, as well as the port of Tianjin and the Bo Hai Sea.

The Picture of Eighty-seven Immortals at Panshan Reservoir * * *
A huge picture of Eighty-seven Immortals, based on the masterpiece of Tang-dynasty artist Wu Daozi, is carved on the surface of a dam of the Panshan Reservoir. The original painting is now housed in Xu Beihong Museum in Beijing. The immortals are vivid and lifelike. The mural of 3,200 square meters is the largest in the world and has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Mt.Buxium Forest Reserve * *
Thirty-five kilometers to the northeast of the county seat, this forest reserve has an area of 53.6 square kilometers. With over 80 percent of its area covered by trees, the forest is a rare kind in North China. Legend has it that once the eight immortals passed this thickly wooded mountain and were attracted by its beautiful landscape. They stopped for a drink by a rock. Later on, this rock was called "Baxian Table". The mountain then came to be known as Mt. Baxian (Eight Immortals). Its highest peak, also know as Cricket Cage, is 1,052 meters above sea level.

Port of Tianjin * * *
Throughout China's history of more than 100 years of ocean shipping, Tianjin has always been the largest and one of the most important ports in North China. It is linked with over 300 ports in more than 170 countries and regions and with more than 2,000,000 square kilometers of interior land. The port has the largest container wharf in the country and handles 45 million tons of freight annually. The figure is expected to reach 100 million tons by the end of the century.

The port of Tianjin was originally a river port. Since its opening as a trading port, a large number of wharves have been built on both banks of the Haihe River. A makeshift wharf was also built at Tanggu, which was known as the Inner harbor or Old harbor. In 1939, when Tianjin was under Japanese occupation, the Outer Harbor or New Harbor (Xingang) was built on the northern side of the river. After going through large-scale reconstruction three times, the New Harbor has become the New Harbour of Tianjin with a freight capacity of 10 million tons. In addition to the New Harbor, the port of Tianjin also includes the Tianjin and Tanggu loading and unloading areas, where ships of 3,000-5,000 tons can berth. The port of Tianjin also provides passenger services to Dalian in Liaoning, and Yantai and Longkou in Shandong.

Food/ Shopping
Famous Local Food
- Gou Bu Li Stuffed Buns * * * * *
This famous snack was created during the late Qing Dynasty by a native of Wuqing County with the nickname "Dogie". At the age of 14, Dogie left home and came to Tianjin, where he was apprenticed to a restaurant specializing in stuffed buns. A diligent and honest young man, Dogie eventually opened a shop of his own. As his stuffed buns tasted better and had a unique flavor, they attracted an increasing number of customers. As time went by, his nickname became known far and wide. Later people changed "Dogie" to "Goubuli", which literally means "the Dogie who doesn't talk", since he was often too busy to speak to his customers. Today most people know Goubuli by the disconcerting literal interpretation of its name, which means 'dogs won't touch them'. Yet despite their name, the steamed dumplings are delicious.

- Gui Fa Xiang crispy fired twists * * * * *
Visitors to Tianjin can see fried dough twists, a traditional Tianjin snack, sold almost everywhere in the city. The most famous ones are the "18th Street Fried Dough Twists", so called because they are made at the former 18th Street.

- Er Duo Yan fried glutinous cake - * * * * *
The Ear-hole Fried Cake is another one of the famous traditional Tianjin snacks. It derived its name from the narrow Ear-Hole Street in Tianjin's Beidaguan, where the shop was originally located.


Famous Local Restaurants
- Food Street * * * * *
- Kiessling Restaurant - * * *
In 1918, German Emperor William II fell out of power and fled to Holland. His chef Kiessling came to Tianjin by himself. Kiessling noticed that the westerners living in Tianjin were not accustomed to Chinese food. He opened a small shop in the British concession, selling western refreshments. Kiessling's reputation as former Emperor's chef made his refreshments very popular. Soon he became rich and bought a piece of land in the British concession and opened a restaurant. Since then Tianjin had its own western food restaurant - the Kiessling Restaurant. Today not only foreigners but also Chinese celebrities frequent this place. The last Emperor Pu Yi used to sip tea and dance with the cosmopolitan expatriate community here. The Kiessling became the trendy symbol of Tianjin.


Shopping for Unique Local Products
- Ancient Cultural Street * * * * *
Situated near the west bank of Haihe River, the Ancient Cultural Street is an enchanting street with traditional Chinese styles. The two streets, Gong Nan and Gong Bei, center a plaza where traditional performances and celebrations often take place. The "Huang Hui" - the Emporor's Fair, is held annually on March 23rd of the lunar calendar (which is the Sea Godess' Birthday). The Temple of Sea Goddess is the center of the street. The Goddess' name is Lin Muo Niang. She was born in Fujian Province and was a life-saver on the sea. After her death, she became Queen of the Heaven, blessing and protecting the safety of fishermen. The Temple of Sea Goddess was originally built in 1326 and was renovated in 1403. It is the oldest building existing in Tianjin. The temple covers an area of 2,5000 square meters and faces the Haihe River. The structures that remain include its gateway, archway, the drum and bell tower, gate hall, main hall, sutra storeroom and praying room. The Tianjin Folklore Exhibition at both wing halls details the history of Tianjin, the Sea Goddess Temple and the temple fairs. The Ancient Cultural Street is a prime stop for tourists to shop for such famous Tianjin folk art works as Wei's Kites, Zhang's Painted Clay Figurines and Yangliuqing Chinese New Year Paintings. The street also offers a variety of traditional northern Chinese souvenirs, such as antiques, paintings, calligraphy works, rubbings of stone inscriptions, and the four treasures of the study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper).


General Shopping
- Quan Ye Chang
Being the busiest retail center in the city's European concession areas, Qu Ye Chang was known as Eastern Paris. Here a business district was developed between the First World War and 1930 with investment from Chinese merchants. Unlike Jie Fang Bei Road, Quan Ye Chang catered to Chinese shoppers. The area contains a number of large commercial buildings clustered around the intersection of Heping Road and Binjiang Road. The buildings are built to the street boundary, an average of four to five stories in height with a maximum of seven stories. Quan Ye Chang Department Store was built as the Tientsin Industrial Exhibition in 1926-8, to the design of the French engineer Muller. It has a total area of 21,000 square meters.

Pedestrian activity on the street is intense and there is room for only a few street stalls. Street stalls are much more common in side streets or further west along Binjiang Street. Within walking distance, at the end of Binjiang Road is the Laoxikai Church, the International Department Store and the Japanese Istan Department Store. The Laoxikai Church was built between August 1913 and June 1916, in a Byzantine-Romanesque Blood-and-Bandage style, reminiscent of the Sacre Coeur, Montmartre. It is 42 meters high and 1,585 square meters in area.

- International Department Store
- Istan Department Store

Religion
Islamic - Muslim Street and the Great Mosque * * *
More than 100,000 Muslims live in Tianjin, where more than 50 mosques have been established. The Hui, Chinese Muslim, began to reside in Tianjin in the mid-14th century during the Ming Dynasty. By the early 20th century the population had reached 30,000, with a dozen mosques built. Today, despite the city's booming economy and social development, the Muslims still observe their traditional way of life. The area where the Muslims live in congregation is known as the Muslim Street, where there are not only mosques and Muslim restaurants, but primary schools for Muslim children.

Situated in Xiaohuo Lane of Hongqiao Distict, the Great Mosque occupies 2,200 square meters of land. Construction of the compound began in 1644 during the Qing Dynasty. The mosque consists of four major structures, namely the screen wall, front hall, praying hall and preaching hall. All the buildings are gorgeously decorated with colored paintings, carvings and banisters. A total of 61 horizontal plaques and couplets with both Chinese and Arabic inscriptions are hung on the walls.


Catholic - Wang Hai Lou Catholic Church (Seaview Tower Church)* * *
Situated at Shizilin (Lion Forest) Bridge on Hegei Road, the Wang Hai Lou Catholic Church (the old name was Notre Dame des Victores) was built in May 1869. In June 1870 several children died of an infectious disease and were hastily buried by the church. A few days later the dead bodies were found. That incident worsened the Tianjinese abhorrence to the foreign religion. The church was burned and a French missionary was killed by local people. This was the famous "Tianjin Religion Case". Under the armed deterrence of seven western countries, the Qing Government executed 16 Tianjin citizens, rebuilt the church in 1897, and amended 500,000 Liang of silver cash to the French government. In 1900 the Boxer Rebellers (Yi He Tuan) burned the church again and attacked the diplomatic missions of foreign countries. The Allied Forces of Eight Countries then seized Tianjin and massacred in the city for seven days and seven nights. The Haihe River was turned red by the blood of Tianjin people. After that the foreign army occupied Beijing and burned the famous Yuan Ming Yuan. The church was rebuilt again in 1904. The last serious destruction took place in 1976 during Tangshan earthquake and it was reconstructed in 1983. The church has been under state protection as a major national relic since 1988. The architecture of the church is of Gothic style.

Buddhism - Dabei Temple * * *
This famous temple consists of two parts: the Old Temple in the west courtyard and the New Temple in the east courtyard. The former was built in 1669 during the Qing Dynasty and the latter was built in 1940. In the New Temple are a series of halls, such as the Heavenly King's Hall, the Great Buddha's Hall, the Lecture Hall and the memorial hall of a Tang-dynasty monk, XuanZang. Housed in the Old Temple are several hundreds of Buddhist statutes made of bronze, iron, stone or wood from various dynasties.

Adventure/Sports
Shui Shang Park * *
Shuishang Park (means the Park Above Water) is the largest park in Tianjin, covering an area of 200 hectares. Half of the park is covered by water. The park is divided by the lakes into 13 islets decorated with pavilions, towers and terraces. The islets are connected with one another by exquisite curved bridges, arch bridges and dykes lined with weeping willows, giving a unique charm to the park.

Little World at Yangcun * *
The Little World at Yangcun in Wuqing Country is located between Tianjin and Beijing on the band of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Assembled at this comprehensive amusement center are the models of all the famous landmark buildings of representative architectural styles and natural scenery in the world supported by corresponding cultural activities and services. Occupying two hectares of land, the Little World at Yangcun is laid out basically according to the geographical locations of the world. There are "five continents" and "four oceans" in the little world, where 137 views in 80 countries are reduced to miniatures to the ratios of 1:15-1:30.

 

 

 
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