One of China’s major cities is one that many haven’t heard of until they may start researching where to explore near Beijing or where jobs and universities are in rapid growth. This is what lead me to take the relatively brief fast train between Beijing and Tianjin. It is located just an hour and a half from Beijing and I found an ultra modern port city with world class facilities and quaint neighborhoods.
For a visitor or resident to the city there are a good number of attractions I found right away. To me Tianjin has the feeling of what Shanghai must have been like before its population explosion. Tianjin is a large city don’t get me wrong, but it is more spread out and vast, not feeling too crowded. What is nice is that much of the new development has carried over into older parts of the city, allowing for a complete renovation and reconstruction of more historic neighborhoods.
Hai River and Parks
The history of this city like any is tied to its waterways. The river splits right down the central portions of the city and it provides an excellent space to walk, exercise, fish and get to and from different areas quickly. This is a great place to people watch as locals turn out in large numbers for all sorts of exercise.
The Tianjin Eye is a replica of the major London attraction that gives great panoramas set over a bridge and the central river. Cost is 70 Yuan and it is normally open from 9:30am till 9:30pm daily. Price premiums go up at night. The entire ride takes around half an hour and the cars hold up to 8 persons.
World Class Hotels
Should you be looking for some of the finer establishments in world class luxury hospitality at some of the best prices, look no further than Tianjin. St. Regis, newly opened Shangri-La, Banyan Tree, Ritz Carlton and many more offer a competitive display of luxury hotel stays.
Ancient Culture Street (Guwenhua Jie)
The street reflects the market and cultural reality of 19th century China, when commerce and trade mixed with urbanization in a big way. The market is full of antiques, recreations, fakes and little souvenirs which one can enjoy.
The Great Mosque is another testament to the multination feeling that has marked Tianjin from the beginning. The building itself is a demonstration of authentic Chinese Muslim architecture. The compound was first built in 1644 during the Qing Dynasty. It is still an active site of worship in the community which
Notre Dame des Victories and St. Joseph Church
Due to its unique situation near the sea and along the river, Tianjin has been exposed to Western traditions for some time. As a result these two historic Catholic
Churches adorn the skyline and are active places of worship today. Notre Dame is only open on Sundays for a Mass and it is considered a national monument. St. Joseph’s is simpler but open for daily use.