Connected to Beijing by highspeed train in 30 min, Tianjin was once as trendy and modern as Shanghai in the late 19th and early 20th century, and people described the two cities as ‘Shanghai in the South, Tianjin in the North’. Tianjin was opened as a treaty port in 1860. European style buildings and mansions were built in foreign concessions and many are still very well-preserved today.
In the early 20th century, if you were looking for things modern and trendy, you have to go Tianjin. Electric lighting, electric trams, western restaurants, cinemas, Christmas ball, horse racing, golf playing were all first introduced in Tianjin. Even Coca Cola first set its foot in Tianjin when they enter this China market.
Today, you’ll find the British red pitched roof on one side, Greek columns on the other side, as well as Italian Renaissance style mansions and French embossed patterns. The prosperity of Tianjin attracted warlords, politicians, traders, compradors to stay and create their stories.
With the convenience of high speed train, remember to make a day trip from Beijing on your next China trip.