Tianjin, Beijing: Traveling Back in Time

Tianjin is located in the southeast portion of Beijing, a bustling port city filled with exciting things to see and do. It was a famous trading center centuries ago, and still holds some of that reputation until now.  There are many things to do in this port city, and as you may already expect, yes, they are almost always related to water or at least near the water areas.

The Hai River

This famous river cuts through the city center, and is one of the most important water systems that helped to build the Tianjin into a bustling metropolitan then and now. Since this is a section frequented by many people, it is but normal that several attractions be seen here. The grand past of the city can be seen among the old buildings that still stand until today, some of which are over a hundred years old already. One of these century old structures is the Wanghailou Church, which was built in 1869 and is now a famous tourist attraction in the city.

Tianhou Temple

Another well-known religious structure in Tianjin is the Tianhou Temple. The temple is probably one of the oldest standing structures not only in the city but the whole of China. Tianhou Gong as it is often referred to, was constructed in 1326 AD, and despite numerous renovations and repairs, still maintains the ancient allure that it had when it was first built. Being superstitious people, the citizens of Tianjin built the temple in honor of their sea godess, who they prayed will watch over them and their family as they venture out into the vast sea.

Ancient Culture Street

Ancient Culture Street is the government’s effort to reconstruct the old China Towns of before – you know, like the ones you usually see in old kung fu movies. The street is filled with structures and shops that replicates the image and atmosphere of a 19th century China Town, complete with the red colored posts and walls famous during those times. There are many shops situated along the street, but what they sell there can be quite pricey, so you had better practice your haggling skills.

Dagu Fort

Another attraction that was built a long time ago is the Dagu Fort. These forts were built to watch over the river’s entrances, so there were supposed to be two of these forts. However, the one on the northern end of the river was demolished in the early 1900s. The one on the south, the one still standing today, was built in the 12th century, easily one of the oldest structures in the place. The fort is a beautiful and attractive place to visit, so be sure not to miss it.

Tianjin has had its share of the spotlight when it became one of the major trading centers of ancient China. That light might have dimmed over the past few decades, but it is now starting to shine brightly again as the famous port city starts to attract more and more visitors to the place, just like how it attracted travelling merchants a long time ago.

Photo by maltman23 on Flickr