The 2 biggest cities of China are Beijing and Shanghai, and do you know which one is ranked at the third position? Tianjin (definitely worth to visit during your China tours). Tianjin is opened to the Bohai Sea, it is known as the gate of Beijing with the Occident for political and economical purposes. Indeed this city began an economical spot under the Sui Dynasty between 581 and 618, and in the 19th century western people started to settle in. Thus, Tianjin is a melting-pot of European and Chinese culture, it is rich of history and diversity, almost like an outdoor museum. Let’s take the 350km/h state-of-the-art bullet train to get in Tianjin in only 30 minutes.

Tianjin was the first Chinese city to open to foreign investors in the 19th century. After numerous Chinese wars and battles, Western Empires (Great Britain and France first) have established their concessions in Tianjin and Shanghai. By now, these buildings still remain like few centuries ago, a real witness from the past. It is not difficult to see Western type architecture in the city. Think about that: what an amazing thing to be in China and at the same time being carried away in many European countries just in a single day! If you step into Tianjin’s downtown, at WuDaDao, you will find large numbers of European style residences admired by tourists, photographs and people who are interested in classical architecture. For a better experience try the concessions tour in a horse-drawn carriage!

Between 1920 and 1930, 230 residences and villas were constructed; Tianjin was China’s western architecture museum at that time. In total there are 89 English style buildings, 41 Italian ones, 6 French, 4 German, 3 Spanish and 3 from a mixed influence of Chinese and Western architecture. 

In order to learn more about Tianjin’s and China’s history, the better would be going to Tianjin’s museum. Here are some places you could visit:

–          Luzutang, Boxer Rebellion Museum 
between 1898 and 1901, opposing foreign imperialism and Christianity period

–          Tianjin Museum
 The largest museum of the city exhibiting a range of cultural and historical relics significant to Tianjin. There are nearly 200,000 collections of art and relics, including calligraphy, paintings, bronzeware, ceramics, jadeware, seals, inkstone, Jiagu (bones or tortoise shells with inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty), coins, historic documents and relics of modern times.

–          Memorial to Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China, he served under Mao Zedong from October 1949 until his death in January 1976. Deng Yingchao is his wife. Chairwoman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference from 1983 to 1988 and a member of the Communist Party of China.

–          Astor Hotel and its museum
It’s the first international hotel in modern Chinese history. From the onset in 1863 until the end of the 19th century, The Astor Hotel became the prime venue for all diplomatic activity in Tianjin, and was soon named one of the first Diplomatic residences in China. 


Tianjin has learned how to mix the old treasures and modernity, and has become a dynamic and multi-cultural city. I think that spending a week end in that city will cure your homesickness during your China travel.




Jack Li
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