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Tianjin is a municipality adjacent to Beijing. It is the largest harbor city in northern China, and an international economy, shipping and logistics center. It was once the colony of many Western countries in the 19th century. There are lots of European style buildings in the Five Great Avenues and the Italian Style Street. What is more, most of the interesting places are free. Below is a list.
It is a lovely European style area highly influenced by the Western culture. It consists of five streets named after five cities in south-west China. They are Chengdu, Chongqing, Changde, Dali and Munan.
The architectures are fabulous. Walking among them, you can feel the history in the air and you may wonder what life may have been like 100 years ago.
It is a nice place to stroll around. You can also get a horse-driven carriage which would be more interesting, or rent a Surrey bicycle on many street corners for the best experience. You can stop for pictures or even go inside some of the buildings. In spring, beautiful roses are blooming in each street.
It would be nice to have a tour guide to give details on the history of the various buildings.
It is the "Bund" in Tianjin — a nice place to walk around and enjoy the fine architectures and bridges along Haihe River. It is opposite to the Tianjin Railway Station.
Many people go there to relax. Walking along Haihe River towards the Tianjin Eye or taking a river cruise is fabulous. You can see the locals fishing in the river, go swimming or watch wedding couples taking their photos with the European style buildings as a backdrop. In winter, when the river is frozen, you can go skating there. The night view with colorful lights is especially charming.
It is a nice place to relax and taste Italian food. It is called "Italian Style Street", but it is actually an area with about 200 European restaurants, stores and bars. It is the former Italian Concession area and the buildings have kept their original shapes.
There are shops selling Italian souvenirs and Venetian masks. Some restaurants offer outdoor seating and live music. There are sightseeing buses at Marco Polo Plaza to take you around with a tour guide on board to introduce the attractions. A lot of Chinese TV plays used this area as a backdrop because of its specialty and history.
Tianjin Folklore Museum keeps Tianhou Palace (a place where people go to pray for blessings) as part of it, and has about 2,000 folk items. It introduces the development and customs from a great variety of aspects on daily life, trade, arts and clothing.
You can see the development of the water transportation, fishing and salt trades in Tianjin. You may also discover some interesting folk customs. Let us take a wedding, for example. Before the wedding ceremony is held in the groom’s home, the bride has to cry before she leaves her parents. In the ceremony, the couple has to pay a courtesy to the groom’s ancestors, his parents, and then to each other.
You can also enjoy the folk arts of clay sculptures, brick carvings, paper cuttings and weavings.
It is the first foreign commodities market in North China. It is located in Fushun Road, next to the Tianjin Development Zone. The buildings along the road are of a typical European style. There are cars, motor vans, household appliances, photographic apparatus, costumes and watches. Most of them have originally been imported from abroad; there is a great diversification of varieties, with good prices.
It is the largest comprehensive park in Tianjin. The whole park is composed of three lakes in the east, west and south. The three lakes are scattered on 11 islands, so it is called the Water Park.
The park combines the styles of both South and North China.
There are over 66,000 trees, an archaistic group of buildings known as the "Green Wave Village"，a Bonsai Park, and a 27 meters high Park Viewing Pavilion. From the pavilion, you can get an overview of the whole lake. There are also some recreational facilities, restaurants and a zoo where you can see pandas and golden monkeys.