Tianjin is the industrial and transport hub for Beijing and northern China. Sometimes you will still see it written as Tientsin WG following the older spelling. Its bustling, cosmopolitan feel has led it to be dubbed the ‘Shanghai of the North’. It was of importance back in the times of the Warring States when the meandering Yellow River reached the sea near here. Tianjin grew substantially much later in the Sui dynasty when the Grand Canal was extended northwards. With access to the Bohai Gulf; Hai River and the Grand Canal Tianjin is ideally placed for sea and canal transportation. Older parts of the city reflect the centuries of foreign trade. On the northern perimeter of the province the Huangyaguan section of the Great Wall has been recently restored.
Average temperature: -4°C (24.8 ºF) in January, 26°C (78.8ºF) in July.
Places to visit
1. The Shuishang Park (Water Park), the largest park in Tianjin, covers an area of 200 hectares. Half of the park is water surface, which is divided into the east lakes, the west lake and several smaller lakes. Inlaid on the lakes there are 13 islets, and they are decorated with pavilions, towers and terraces, giving a unique charm to the park.
2. The Panshan scenic spot in Jixian County is a tourist attraction, famous for its scenery and historical relics. Dule (Exclusive Happiness) Temple has a history of over 1,000 years behind it. The Guanyin Tower in the temple is among the most ancient wooden architecture existing in China today. The clay sculpture of the goddess Guanyin with her 10 smaller heads is also the biggest of it kind in the country.
3. The Baxian Mountain National Nature Reserve is located at the southern slope of the Yanshan mountain chain. 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.
4. Being a grand traditional Chinese mansion covering over 7,200 square kilometers, Shi Family Courtyard 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.
5. In Tianjin, tourists can also enjoy a great variety of performing arts, such as Beijing (Peking) Opera, Ping Opera, Hebei Bangzi (A kind of local opera), plays, Shaoxin Opera, acrobatics, puppet shows, etc.
6. The Ancient Culture Street is a pedestrian business street on the western bank of the Hai The architecture there was constructed in Qing Dynasty-style and the street itself was opened to the public in 1986. In the center of the street, you will find Tianhou Palace. 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.