Our favourite sights from around Tianjin

Just thirty minutes outside of Beijing by express train, Tianjin showcases beautiful locations and architecture from a wide swathe of Chinese history. Go from the Confucian temple to grand European streets to river walks all within minutes in Tianjin.

We personally have been to Tianjin several times, and each time we go, we find something new to enjoy. For your pleasure, here are a few of our favourite shots from my last few visits that will perhaps inspire you to go there for yourself if you haven’t already!

As you come into the city by express train, the pagoda in Ningyuan (Tranquil Garden) stands out in the cityscape. This huge park is laid out like a classical Chinese garden and is a beautiful escape from the city.
The Hai River flows through the city and out into the sea, and this link to the sea has been a crucial part of Tianjin’s development.
The Tianjin Eye straddles the river providing spectacular views over the city on clear days.
In common with port towns and cities all over China, Tianjin has a Tian Hou Temple where sailors and their families prayed to Mazu, goddess of the sea, for their safe return.
Hall for the worship of Guan Di, a god of wealth, in Tian Hou Temple.
Tian Hou Temple is situated on Ancient Culture Street, a modern reconstruction of the old shopping area that has been in this location for hundreds of years. Come here to see and buy various folk arts, crafts and snacks.
Entrance to Ancient Culture Street
Entrance to Ancient Culture Street.
A fish ‘painted’ in sugar by a folk artist outside Tian Hou Temple.
Every year for hundreds of years, the area around what is now Ancient Culture Street has hosted a decorations market in the run up to Spring Festival.
You can buy mass-produced decorations, handmade paper cuttings, or get Spring Festival couplets and auspicious characters written by a calligrapher in front of you.
Yuhuangge, a hall built in 1427 that was part of small Ming dynasty complex for worshipping the Jade Emperor (the ruler of heaven).
To the east of Ancient Culture Street is Tianjin’s Confucius Temple.
A quite different place of worship: St Joseph’s Cathedral (Xikai Church), built as part of the French concession in 1916.
After the end of the Second Opium War, the Treaty of Tianjin lead to the opening up of Tianjin as a treaty port, and many countries established concessions there. Thousands of European-style villas remain in the city, with the French concession being preserved in its entirety.
The bandstand in Central Park
Designed in 1863 by a British missionary, the Astor Hotel was the first international hotel in China, and became a centre for diplomatic activity in the city.
One of the historic French villas was bought in 2000 by Zhang Lian Zhi, who then began to decorate it with his ceramic collection. Today it is one of Tianjin’s most unique sights, the Porcelain House.

As you can see from this small sampling of shots, Tianjin is a truly fascinating location with a complex, sometimes sad, history. There is so much to see, especially for those armed with a camera and a good eye!

For those of you who are thinking of visiting Tianjin, in May Cultural Keys is organising two guided photo walks to the city. The first leaves from Beijing South Station in the early morning on May 11th returning in the evening (exact times to be confirmed). The second is an overnight stay, from May 15th to 16th to give more time to explore the city.

For more information, or to confirm your place, please add AJDonnelly on WeChat or email us at [email protected] We’d love to have you join us!

Have you been to Tianjin before? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below. We always love hearing your thoughts and insights! 

Photo Credits
– Cultural Keys

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