Tianjin Tourist Attractions
Special Self-governing MunicipalityTianjin lies in the north of China, 137km/85mi southeast of Beijing. As Tianjin is an important rail, road, air and shipping hub - it lies at the confluence of five tributaries of the Haihe river - it is also easy to get to from other large Chinese cities.
The first settlements in the region date back to the times of the Warring Kingdoms (475-221 BC). Tianjin was well known as a trading settlement in the 12th C, when it was a center for the sale and distribution of corn and other foodstuffs from the south.In 1404 the town - then known as Tianjinwei - was given a town-wall and made into a military garrison. It became increasingly important as a commercial center during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). In 1858 the Chinese government was obliged to sign the ''Treaty of Tianjin'' which provided trading concessions to foreigners, something which the population found abhorrent and which led to serious conflicts. Two years later foreign powers occupied Tianjin and declared its port open to all trading ships. In the years that followed Great Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Russia, Italy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Belgium were all granted settlements here, and they gave the town a certain European character which it still retains to some degree.By 1860 Tianjin had grown into an important sea-port, and ten years later the first Chinese textile factory opened up here.During the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 the town-walls were destroyed. In 1937 the Japanese occupied Tianjin. After 1949 industry, especially heavy industry, developed apace. Floods, which had previously been a frequent menace, were kept at bay by means of various engineering projects. In 1976 a devastating earthquake destroyed large parts of the city.Tianjin, the third largest city in China, is one of northern China's leading industrial cities. Although heavy industry predominates, light industry, chemicals, textiles and the famous carpet factories all make an important contribution to the economy. The city co-operates to a major degree with countries overseas.Xingang, one of China's largest ports, is only 48km/30mi from the center of Tianjin.
Temple of Mercy
The Temple of Great Mercy in the north of the town is one of the best-preserved temples to be found in Tianjin or in the surrounding countryside. It was restored following the 1976 earthquake.The older part, rebuilt in 1669, houses hundreds of old bronze, iron, wooden and stone statues, a few of which date back as far as the 3rd C. The new section, built in 1949, is the headquarters of the local Buddhist's Art Museum.
Zhou Enlai Memorial Hall
This hall was built in 1976 in memory of Zhou Enlai, who attended Nankai School here between 1913 and 1917 and promoted a patriotic movement.
In 1907, the guild of Cantonese merchants who were trading in Tianjan built a representative assembly and residential house in the traditional style, and added a representative theater hall at the same time. The stage is in occasional use today; in the adjacent rooms photographs, programs and other documents from the history of the theater are exhibited. The Guild House is in the south of the old town.
Palace of the Heavenly Goddess
In the center is a square and on its western side stands the Palace of the Heavenly Goddess. The temple was built in 1326 and dedicated to Tianhou, the patroness of seafarers. Today it houses an ethnographic collection.On the eastern side of the square, opposite the temple entrance, you can see above the gate the theatrical stage belonging to the temple.
This church, built in the early 20th C, in Neo-Romanesque style and located about 1km/1100yd west of the Friendship Guesthouse, is the largest in Tianjin. Its three aisles are decorated with frescos and its ground plan is in the form of the Cross of Lorraine.
Park on the Water
This park in the southwest of the city covers 200ha/500acres and is a popular place for a day's outing.Three lakes with thirteen islands in all take up about a half of the park; they are linked with one another by a network of causeways and bridges. Green lawns surround the lakes. There is a zoo in the south of the park.
The Art Museum, housed in an imposing historic building (Chengde Dao/Jiefang Beilu), holds an excellent collection of New Year paintings and a beautiful collection of faintly ironic clay figures from the beginnings of the 20th C.
Along the banks of the River Huaihe, east of the old town, Culture Street has been established, a pedestrianized road with houses built in the traditional Chinese style. Crafts shops can be found in many of these.
The Grand Mosque built of wood and located in the northwest of Tianjin dates from 1644. Although the architecture is Chinese the decorative patterns such as flowers and geometric designs clearly show an Islamic influence.
In the west, Tianjan's Confucius Temple remained intact, as the largest shrine of the town. The complex dates back to the 15th C.
There are a few attractions located in the Tianjin surrounding area.
Temple of Unique Joy, Jixian
In Jixian, about 120km/75mi north of Tianjin, the visitor will find the Temple of Unique Joy, which was built in 984 and probably superseded an earlier building from the Tang period (618-907). It is one of China's oldest wooden buildings.The Hall of Guanyin Ge is 23m/75ft high and contains a 15m/50ft tall clay statue of Guanyin, dating back to the time the hall was built. The wall-paintings date from the Ming period (1368-1644).
Mount Panshan near Jixian has been described as ''the most beautiful mountain east of Beijing''. Its highest peak is about 1000m/3300ft. Numerous famous people have visited it ever since the 3rd C.Of the many picturesque and historical sites hereabouts, special mention must be made of the Temple of Tiancheng Si on the northern slope of the mountain; it dates from the Tang period (618-907). The original buildings were destroyed during the conflicts of the 1940s and rebuilt in 1980.