Tianjin does not belong to a province, much like Beijing and Shanghai. It is China’s six largest city by population and is situated only 60kms form the coast. Once home to foreign concessions, like Shanghai, the opening of the Grand Canal, 1400 years ago, secured Tianjin’s place as an important trading centre.
Located 90 mins drive from Beijing, Tianjin City rose to prominence as a grain storage point, after the Mongols decided on Beijing as their capital. It is generally flat and swampy near the coast, but hilly in the far north, where the Yanshan Mountains pass through the tip of northern Tianjin.
The central areas of Tianjin resemble the Europe of the 1920’s with churches, banks and buildings having been designed in the European style.
Ancient Culture Street
Ancient Culture Street is a reconstruction of Tianjin’s ancient buildings and now houses vendors selling goods from all over China from their individual stalls.
Monastery of Deep Compassion
The Monastery of Deep Compassion is Tianjin’s most important Buddhist Temple. The streets surrounding the temple are filled with Buddhist souvenirs and paraphernalia.
Zhou Enlai Memorial Hall
Zhou Enlai was a former premier of China who went to school in Tianjin. The Memorial Hall celebrates this fact and is popular with the locals.
Shi Family Courtyard
The Shi family was one of the eight most famous and powerful families in Tianjin in the late Qing Dynasty. During the reign of Emperor Jia Qing, the Shi family owned thousands of hectares of land and 500 houses, this being one of them.
Tanggu City is located 50kms to the east of Tianjin and is home to one of China’s largest international ports. Any travellers on a cruise boat that offers Beijing as a stop will dock here in Tanggu. Locals use the ferries to get to Japan and South Korea.
Dagu Fort was built nearly 500 years ago and now houses a small museum describing the various foreign traders that made Tanggu their home.