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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Top attractions in Tianjin, China

Located in north China, a mere 1.5 hours drive from Beijing, Tianjin is a good pick for a travel destination. Built in 1404, the city has long been a major seaport and gateway to the nation's capital and now makes for an important industrial and financial hub in the country.

 Tianjin is a good example of a mixture of Chinese and Western features. Its historic European-style architecture, ancient Chinese cultural streets, beautiful coastline and picturesque mountain views attract millions of visitors every year.

Tianjin enjoys a reputation for being a cradle of folk arts such as Yangliuqing Spring Festival paintings and crosstalk performances; yet what really make the city a place worth visiting is its profound history as portrayed through the numerous landmark buildings scattered across its former concession areas.

Huangyaguan Great Wall(黄崖关长城)

The Huangyaguan Great Wall runs on the ridge of mountains to the north of Ji County in Tianjin. It was initially built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577) and later renovated and lengthened in the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and again during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). This section of the ancient Great Wall had a length of 42 kilometers (about 26 miles), but it suffered extensive damage throughout its long history. In 1987, it was repaired and opened to tourists.

As part of the World Cultural Heritage, the Huangyaguan Great Wall is a good example of the ancient Chinese military engineering system. It displays antiquity, grandness, steepness and gracefulness, and is regarded as Tianjin's "Impregnable Pass." With its length of 3,052 meters, this section is the longest restored section of the Great Wall.

Admission: 65 yuan (US$10.6) / person

Ancient Culture Street(古文化街)

The Ancient Culture Street is a pedestrian business street on the western bank of the Hai River in Nankai District, Tianjin. The architecture there was constructed in Qing Dynasty-style and the street itself was opened to the public in 1986. it looks like a work of art.

In the center of the street, you will find Tianhou Palace. Built in 1326, during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), the palace was a haven for people to pray for navigation safety, but now it has been converted into a folk museum. The two original archways with engravings stemming from the old days make for another cultural highlight on the street. There are also nearly a hundred stores lined up along the street, among which the Yangliuqing Painting Gallery and the painted clay sculptures of Clay Figure Zhang are the most renowned ones. Other objects for sale include calligraphy and paint brushes, double-sided embroidery, jade carvings and art ceramics.

Admission: Free

Panshan Mountain(盘山)

Located 110 kilometers (68.4 miles) away from Tianjin's city center and 88 kilometers (54.7 miles) away from Beijing, Panshan Mountain is situated in Jixian County. It is known as one of the most amazing tourist destinations in the city. Covering an area of 106 square kilometers, the scenic area conveys both natural beauty and historical heritage, including numerous temples and pagodas. It is listed as one of China's top fifteen mountains.

Admission: 100 yuan (US$16.3) / person

Five-Avenue Area(五大道)

The Five-Avenue Area refers to a rectangle region of five roads in Heping District in the southern reaches of the city, containing numerous historical buildings constructed in more "exotic" styles. The five avenues are Chongqing Avenue, Changde Avenue, Dali Avenue, Munan Avenue and Machang Avenue.

The area features more than 230 buildings in different European architectural styles, including 89 English-style buildings, 41 Italian-styled ones, six French-style ones, four German-styled ones and three Spanish-styled ones. In addition, there are 46 courtyard houses, 40 apartment buildings, five Western-styled structures and three buildings featuring fusions of West and East.

The area has earned a name for being a "World Building Expo." It truly showcases the city's charm and history and has become a popular destination for visitors. It is a wonderful experience when seating in a horse-drawn carriage to see a truly unique cityscape; a real feast for the eyes!

Admission: Free

Shi Family Courtyard(石家大院)

The Courtyard of the Shi Family is located in the Town of Yangliuqing near Tianjin city. Built in 1875, the courtyard was originally the residence of the Shi Family, one of the eight prominent families in Tianjin in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The Shi family first became rich through the grain and cotton trade, using the – at that time – popular mode of canal transportation. They made enough money to buy land and build their own houses. 

They subsequently opened up shops, factories and private banks to multiply their wealth. During the reign of Emperor Jia Qing, the Shi family owned thousands of hectares of land and 500 houses.

Being a grand traditional Chinese mansion covering over 7,200 square kilometers, the Courtyard of the Shi Family is made up of 12 ancient-style quadrangle courtyards on both sides of a 60-meter-long road and a few additional elegant pavilions, pools and gardens. The architectural style and all the decorations fully represent the folk culture and custom of the late Qing Dynasty, and show the 200-year-long history of the family in Yangliuqing. Nowadays, the courtyard has been converted into a museum and was listed as an important historic site under state protection.

Admission: 27 yuan (US$4.4) / person

Dule Temple(独乐寺)

The Dule Temple is the country's oldest existing wood-structural pavilion architecture. Named after the gurgling spring that lies behind it, it is situated near the WestGate of Jixian County, Tianjin. Most of the temple buildings were ruined during the 841-846 reign of Emperor Wuzong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), who pursued a policy of cracking down on Buddhism. Some of the buildings were restored in 984 during the Liao Dynasty (907-1125), and more buildings were added during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

One major attraction of the Dule Temple is a 16-meter-tall statue of the goddess of mercy, one of the biggest in the country. It shows the finely crafted image of a lady who looks graceful and composed despite her awesome stature. The statue is said to represent the very best of Liao sculpture. The pavilion that shelters this statue is a stately 23-meter-high building under a roof with three-layered eaves. The pavilion's four walls are graced with lifelike, and life-sized, murals.

Admission: 18 yuan (US$2.93) / person

Tianjin Eye(天津眼)

Built in 2007, the Tianjin Eye is a 120-meter-tall giant Ferris wheel built above the Yongle Bridge, over the Hai River in Tianjin. It is the only such wheel to have been constructed over a bridge in the world. It is electrically powered and has 48 passenger capsules, each one able to carry eight passengers, and takes 30 minutes to complete a rotation, giving a maximum capacity of 768 passengers per hour. When the capsule reaches the top, the passengers can enjoy the cityscape of 40 kilometers around. It was opened to the public in 2008.

Admission: 70 yuan (US$11.4) / person

 Baxian Mountain National Nature Reserve(八仙山)

The Baxian Mountain National Nature Reserve is located at the southern slope of the Yanshan mountain chain, northeast of Jixian County, Tianjin. It is famous for its continuous ridges and peaks, boundless forests, deep gullies, running brooks and several geological relics. Its main peak, known as Cricket Cage, stands at 1046.8 meters above sea level, the highest peak in Tianjin. The reserve is nicknamed the "Green Kingdom" thanks to its wide variety of animals and plants. Its forest coverage reaches over 95 percent. The reserve is an ideal place to go hiking in summer.

Admission: 45 yuan (US$7.33) / person

Haihe River Bund Park(海河外滩)

Located in Tianjin's Tanggu District, the Haihe River Bund is a public leisure park along the river. It is one kilometer long and 60-250 meters wide, connecting the park with the pedestrian mall on Jiefang Road in the north of the city. Nineteen bronze sculptures are standing inside the park and in the middle of the pedestrian strip you find a water fountain that reaches an amazing height of 170 meters, the highest in China. The park combines shopping, outdoor fun and nature as to provide foreigners with a good opportunity to experience local life. The view is even more beautiful when all the lights come on at night.

Admission: Free

Tianjin Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park(天津滨海航母主题公园)

Located in a small harbor in Binhai New District, the Tianjin Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park is a large military theme park constructed around the Kiev Aircraft Carrier, covering an area of 5.57 square kilometers. It provides an opportunity for visitors to gain military knowledge and learn some fun facts while playing games and having fun.

The visitors may have a close look at the command center, intelligence room and the science and technology museum, and enjoy the 4D movies in the aircraft carrier's theater. The only western restaurant on an aircraft carrier in the world is also located here.

In addition, if you didn't have the chance to visit the Tianjin Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, you may want to do it here. It was rebuilt in the park in 2011 to show visitors the history, features and development of the city.

Admission:160 yuan (US$26.08) / person

Source: by Xu Lin

from China Travel & Tourism News


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