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Tianjin: the city with no past

It was a very hot day in Beijing and I wished to avoid the crowds and explore something new, different. Like Tianjin. The city with no past. Or almost…

Tianjin, the largest sea-coast city of northern China, is located in the northeastern area of Hebei Province and borders the Beijing municipality. As per population, Tianjin is among 4th or 5th place.

Tianjin has long served as an important port since imperial times and has, at various points in history, been occupied by colonial powers such as Italy, France, Germany UK, Japan and even Russia. Tianjin is also known for being the set for a religious rebellion against foreign Christian missionaries.

A wiped past

The reason why I wanted to go there was due its illustrious historical heritage… and somehow I found almost none of it. China’s rapid economic development drives to build, modernise and emulate Western cultures by clearing old city quarters to make room for banks, malls, office sky-scrapers, compounds.
This moves dramatically changed the history of the city. And it’s not just in Tianjin. If you go to Shanghai you can see the same cultural massacre taking place at rapid pace for the sake of modern development. Some say it’s because Asian younger generation don’t seem to understand the significance of preservation, while others say that maybe it is because of a Buddhist belief that says that the world is in constant change and therefore they downgrade the notion of permanence.
The Tianjin Century Clock Tower

Still, historical sites aside, Tianjin is blessed with variety of attractions, Tianjin is a good place to explore. The top ten attractions are Jinmen Shijing, are Gu Wenhua Jie, Dagu Emplacement, Huangyaguan Great Wall, Dule Temple, Haihe River, Water Park, Panshan Mountain, among others. And several natural scenes of beauty as well.

Tianjin today and what to see

Today, its colonial past can be seen in the Italian Concession district, which features avenues with European-style architecture. Although by no means a small city, it is known for being much more relaxed than nearby Beijing and is often ranked high up on the list of most livable Chinese cities.
The fancy Italian Style Town where many Italians used to reside. Today is Italian looking and filled and with delicatessen little shops.

It was once known as city with historical significance until it was desecrated by foreign invaders long before the foundation of People’s Republic of China. In fact, the city has been home to Italians, Germans, French, British and Japanese among others. Their presence marked the city profoundly, we felt no air of “old” or “ancient”.

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A curious Italian-Chilean travel writer and culture enthusiast who loves to discover the obscure and unusual in everything.


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    1. Stanito

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