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Tientsin Eye, the No. 1 Ferris Wheel in Asia

Tientsin Eye, also known as the Tianjin Eye, is a Ferris wheel as tall as 120 meters. Tianjin Eye is also the No. 1 Ferris wheel in Asia, the only Ferris wheel built above a bridge and the tenth tallest Ferris wheel in the world. You can ride Tianjin Eye to enjoy the scenery of Tianjin or appreciate Tianjin Eye from afar on Jingang Bridge which is also enjoyable.

Tianjin eye is a national 4A level scenic spot in Hebei District of Tianjin (funded by the government of Hebei District of Tianjin). It is the first Ferris wheel in Asia. It is a Ferris wheel with river crossing construction and bridge wheel integration. It has both sightseeing and transportation functions.

Except for riding Ferris wheel, looking at Tianjin Eye from afar and taking photos are also good choices. This Ferris wheel is like an eye when looking from afar and this is how Tianjin Eye is named. The best place for that is Jingang Bridge, about 800 meters (900 yards) south of Tientsin Eye. When standing on the bridge, Tianjin Eye surrounded by beautiful buildings on the bank of Hai River appears before your eyes. It’s best to come at night when Tianjin Eye and Hai River interact with each other under the illumination of lights and you can see a totally different Tianjin here.

The ferris wheel is equipped with 48 transparent cockpits, each of which can hold 8 people. There are air conditioners and fans in the cabin to adjust the temperature, which can be used for 384 people to visit at the same time. The time when the ferris wheel rotates for one circle will be affected by the number of passengers and the weather change, and it will be kept between 20 and 40 minutes. Each cabin of the ferris wheel of Yongle bridge in Tianjin covers an area of about 12 square meters, which can be used by 8 people at the same time. It is understood that 48 cockpits will rotate at a constant speed driven by electric power, and it will take about 30 minutes to rotate a circle. It can be used for 300-400 people to visit at the same time. The diameter of the ferris wheel is 110 meters, so the technical content of its rotating shaft is very high. The rotating shaft of Tianjin eye is made in Germany. The ferris wheel has passed the strength tests of compression resistance, seepage resistance, bending resistance and frost resistance.

Haihe River, the Largest Water System in North China

Haihe River is the largest water system in North China and one of the seven major rivers in China.The Haihe River is regarded as the ‘mother river’ of Tianjin. Covering a catchment area of 122,700 sq miles, it is a great contributor to the improvement of Tianjin, and ties closely to the lives of people living there for generations. People visiting it today to appreciate its scenic beauty as well as its historical and cultural atmosphere. The Haihe River is a crucial river in Northern China formed by the convergence of five rivers in Tianjin. Historically, it was open to navigation 1,800 years ago and gradually became a junction for navigation in the Sui Dynasty. Through centuries of development, it became a trading center gathering a great influx of businessmen from around the nation. Today the former shipping center is a place for relaxation.

Regions along the river present beautiful views starting from Sanchakou to Daguangming Bridge. Countless attractions along the banks make the river a popular holiday destination.

Of all the sights, the Haihe Park is the most attractive. Like a jade belt attached to the banks, it is an ideal place for pleasure and rest. Two groups of bronze sculptures are particularly noticeable. Verdant trees, beautiful blossoms, green lawns, long corridors under ivy-laced frames, fountains, and sculptures decorate the park. Residents prefer to spend their leisure time ambling there. Visitors can get a general knowledge of Tianjin from the locals. Haihe Cultural Square is a key project in the comprehensive renovation of resorts along the river. It gained this name from the adjoining ancient culture street.

Focusing on cultural traditions and folk customs of Tianjin, the designer endowed the square with a style of solemnity and simplicity. Meanwhile, a modern element enters the design. The high-tech lighting, the causeway pavement and the wooden floor make the square a shining pearl of the bank.

Five Great Avenues, Wudadao in Tianjin

Five Great Avenue is the most complete European building complex in Tianjin and even in China. The Five Great Avenue area has more than 2000 garden type buildings with different national architectural styles built in two and 30s of last century, with a floor area of about 1000000 square meters. Among the most typical 300 buildings, 89 are British buildings, 41 are Italian buildings, 6 are French buildings, 4 are German buildings, 3 are Spanish buildings, there are many Renaissance buildings, classical buildings, eclectic buildings, Baroque buildings, courtyard buildings and Chinese and western buildings, which are called the World Architecture expo garden.

Spanning 3,216 meters (3,517 yards), it is the earliest-built, widest and longest avenue in Five Great Avenues. When visiting, pay special attention to No. 121 villa, a typical Spanish villa. Musée Hoangho Paiho on this avenue is one of the earliest museums in China. Founded in 1922, it is of Roman style architecture. Tianjin Institute of Business and Technology, now Tianjin Foreign Language University, built in 1921 with a large Gour wall and a Mansell tile roof, and is of French Romanesque architecture.

It is the earliest small western style house in Tianjin, mostly for foreigners who have opened up concessions. At that time, Wudao area was still a puddle of reed. Their houses are next to the office area, near the Jiefang Road, and around Marco Polo square, the former Italian Concession in Hebei Province. After entering the 20th century, on the one hand, with the change of society and government, the concession became a political haven; on the other hand, Tianjin gained the benefits of geography, transportation and customs, which was full of business opportunities.

Munan Avenue is 2,080 meters (2275 yards) long with 74  villas on both sides. No. 20 villa, built in 1930, is a classic western style mansion. No. 24 is in classic European style. No. 28 of an Italian style architecture. No. 50 is a courtyard of British style with red brick wall and red roof.

Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park in Tianjin

Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park is a large-scale military theme park with a Kiev aircraft carrier from Soviet Russia as the main attraction. There are also performances reappearing the battles on the aircraft carrier. Around the aircraft carrier, a street with Russian-style architecture has been built. Here Russian food, drink, handicrafts and street shows are offered.   Kiev aircraft carrier, built in 1970, commissioned in 1975 and retired in 1994, is a 17-floor aircraft carrier built by the former Soviet Union, 8 floors above the deck and 9 under. Kiev Aircraft carrier was once the national card of the former Soviet Union as well as the world’s most eye-catching “Big Mac on the Sea”. Now, this theme park is a great place for common people to gain some knowledge about war and weapons. Kiev aircraft carrier has a total length of 273.1 meters (298.7 yards), a width of 52.8 meters (57.7 yards), a height of 61 meters (67 yards), a standard displacement of 32,000 tons, a full load displacement of 40,500 tons, an endurance of 13,000 nautical miles and a top speed of 32 knots. Kiev Aircraft carrier can carry 1,400 officers and soldiers and 33 aircrafts. It is numbered 075.

Russian cultural and creative style street is a kind of street built by Tianjin Binhai aircraft carrier. The comprehensive theme block with Russian culture as the core, whether it is elaborately Russian architecture, authentic Russian goods, or carefully created Russian customs, has condensed the original essence of Russian culture. The shops here have their own characteristics, covering the fields of Russian food, leisure and entertainment, culture and art. At that time, tourists will have the opportunity to taste the charming and colorful Russia in an all-round way.

Using the intangible assets and social effects of Kiev aircraft carrier, relying on the sea area advantages of Bohai Bay, the economic advantages of Binhai New Area and the huge tourism population advantages of Beijing Tianjin area, a super large leisure and entertainment scenic spot with aircraft carrier as the core and military culture and marine ecology as the skeleton will be built, and Tianjin tourism products with international standards will be built.

Using the intangible assets and social effects of Kiev aircraft carrier, relying on the sea area advantages of Bohai Bay, the economic advantages of Binhai New Area and the huge tourism population advantages of Beijing Tianjin area, a super large leisure and entertainment scenic spot with aircraft carrier as the core and military culture and marine ecology as the skeleton will be built, and Tianjin tourism products with international standards will be built.

Mt. Panshan Scenic Area, the First Mountain East of Beijing

Panshan scenic spot, located in Tianjin, covers an area of 106 square kilometers and is also known as the “The First Mountain East of Beijing”. It is a tourist and leisure resort that combines natural landscape with scenic spots, Buddhism culture and royal culture. It is listed as one of the top fifteen mountains in China.

The mountain acquired its present name, early in the Eastern Han (25-220). Taizong, the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), was prodigal of his praise of its scenery on his chance visit when he led the army in a campaign. Seventy-two temples, thirteen pagodas and numerous Xanadus and towers were built on the mountain in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Qianlong, a brilliant and wise Qing Dynasty emperor was so impressed that he made thirty or so visits and wrote 1366 poems to express his admiration of the area. In the first half of the twentieth century, the whole resort all fell to ruin due to hostilities and neglect. It has undergone a process of restoration since the 1990s and is now regaining its fame.

It is famous for jade pine trees, strange and astonishing peaks, clear waters, grotesquely shaped rocks and clusters of ancient temples. On its top, numerous pines hide the sky from view and block out the sunshine. Rugged rocks in a variety of shapes, some of which resemble a toad, a general or a boa, will greet you in the middle of the mountain. At its foot, clear water splashes on the rocks. The mountain consists of five peaks, with the main one, Guayue (Moon Hanging) Peak. Although Guayue Peak is only 2,835 feet(864 meters ) above sea level, to the north it is possible to see a section of the Great Wall while to the west Mt Taihang can be seen.

From the Wei State during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280) onwards, emperors enthusiastically commissioned the building of temples, towers and Xanadus resulting in over 160 such sites. There are four main temples: Tiancheng Temple (God Proposing Temple), Yunzhao Temple (Cloud-Hiding Temple), Wanfo Temple (Ten Thousand-Buddha Temple) and Wansong Temple (Ten Thousand-Pine Temple). Tiancheng Temple built in the Tang Dynasty, was enlarged and repaired in the Ming and the Qing dynasties. To the east of this temple stands the Ancient Dagoba. As the biggest tower in this mountain, it has thirteen floors. The roof of the Yunzhao Temple was golden yellow, a color that normally was only allowed to be used on imperial buildings. By granting permission for this, Emperor Qianlong demonstrated his approval and admiration of the mountain. Wanfo Temple (Ten Thousand-Buddha Temple) has 10,960 small Buddha statues.

Porcelain House, a French-style Building Embellished by Porcelain

The porcelain house is located at No.72, Chifeng Road, Heping District, Tianjin. It is an unparalleled building. Its predecessor is an old French style building that has gone through hundreds of years. The building is known as a Priceless Chinese Ancient porcelain Museum.

The porcelain house used more than 4000 pieces of ancient porcelain, and decorated a French style building into a valuable porcelain house.

The porcelain pieces inlaid on the porcelain house cover all historical periods, including Celadon of Jin Dynasty, Sancai of Tang Dynasty, Jun porcelain and Longquan porcelain of Song Dynasty. Almost all kinds of porcelain can be found on the wall, and they are poured inside with cement and fixed with marble glue as a part of the building.

Inside the building, the ceilings and handrails are decorated with chinaware, too. The house preserves hundreds of precious furniture from Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, and more than 200 calligraphies and paintings both from home and abroad, including the masterpieces of Chinese great masters Zhang Xuan, Qi Baishi and Xu Beihong, and foreign masters Van Gogh and Picasso. All of precious treasures and china make the house inestimable and splendid.

Furthermore, the house dexterously combines traditional elements with Chinese culture. The outside of the wall is decorated by vases, and they are called “Walls of Peace”. Because “vase” sounds like “peace” in Chinese, the designers used vases to wish for peace and safety. Similarly, white marble sculptures and rock images are used frequently to symbolize good luck and chance. At last, the vivid dragons and phoenixes on the eaves symbolize auspice and prosperity.

First built in the 1920s, the Porcelain House covers a total area of 5,000 square yards (4,200 square meters). Adopting the architectural principle of eclecticism, the building is in French style as a whole but with an Italian-style corridor. It was inhabited by contemporary Chinese diplomat Huang Rongliang. In September 2002, Zhang Lianzhi, a businessman, artist and collector, bought the time-honored building at the price of CNY 30 million. He decided to transform it into a porcelain building to spread chinaware culture. On September 3rd, 2007, the house was open to the public. Since then, it has become a landmark in Tianjin. On September 23rd, 2010, it was listed by the US Huffington Post as one of the fifteen museums with unique designs, together with the Louvre Museum in Paris, French, and the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, America.

Dabei Buddhist Temple, the Oldest Temple in Tianjin

Dabei temple is located in Tianjin, China. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Tianjin, covering an area of 42000 square meters. Dabei temple was built in Shunzhi period of Qing Dynasty. At present, Dabei temple is a cultural relic protection unit and special protection level historical style building in Tianjin, and also one of the national key Buddhist temples in Han area.

The present temple, covering an area of 10.38 acres (about 42,000 square meters), is composed of two parts: the West Temple and the East Temple. The west one was built in 1669 in the Qing Dynasty, while the east called New Temple was built in 1942 by the Master Monk Tan Xu.

The West Temple is the site of Tianjin Buddhist Institute, including the Buddhism Scripture Chanting Hall and Buddhist Abbot Hall. And the main part of the Dabei Buddhist Temple is a series of Buddhist architecture in the East Temple – the Dabei Hall, Grand Hall, Hall of Heavenly Kings (Tianwang Hall) and Hall of Earth Treasure Bodhisattva (Dizang Hall).

Among those, the Grand Hall lies in the center, featuring hundreds of statues made in Chinese ancient times with bronze, iron, wood and stone. Demonstrating the care and the precision of the sculptors, the statues are exquisite and artistic. Included are statues of Sakyamuni, Kwan-yin of One Thousand Hands, Maitreya and the Eighteen Arhats of the Buddha.

Dabei Hall enshrines the statue of Kwan-yin. This statue of Kwan-yin is very special with 24 arms and a pair of eyes which can perceive the front as well as both the left and the right. The wall inside Dabei Hall is painted with colorful murals, describing the life experiences of Sakyamuni.

The Hall of Heavenly Kings houses the statue of Buddha Maitreya, namely Future Buddha in the center. The statues of the four Heavenly Kings stand on the two sides, symbolizing favorable weather for the crops. The Hall of Earth Treasure Bodhisattva honors Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and many hierarchs.

Tianjin Dabei Buddhist Temple once housed an invaluable Buddhist treasure – a piece of head bone relics of Xuanzang, an eminent monk in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). In 1956, the Buddhist relic was sent to India as a gift to embody the friendship between India and China. Now, without the top treasure, the temple is still very popular among disciples and visitors, especially on Buddhist festivals. In addition, various tasty vegetarian foods are available there.

Yungang Grottoes, One of the Three Major Cave Clusters in China

Yungang Grottoes punctuate the north cliff of Wuzhou Mountain, Datong.  Yungang Grottoes graphically tell the story of past glory. Yungang Grottoes are magnificent and colorful, which can be regarded as the top of Chinese stone carving art in the 5th century AD and the treasure house of ancient Chinese carving art. Yungang Grottoes of Datong is deemed as the Three Largest and Most Famous Grottoes Clusters together with Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, and Longmen Grottoes of Henan. Located at the southern foot of Wuzhou Mountain, the grotto area was excavated along the mountain, imposingly stretching 1 kilometer with rich contents. Covering over 18,000 square meters engraving area, there are existing 45 main caves, 209 subsidiary caves, more than 1,100 niches, and more than 51,000 stone statues, among which the largest statue measures 17 meters and the smallest only 2 centimeters. One of the largest stone caving art treasury famous both home and abroad, the Yungang Grottoes was inscribed as a key cultural relic under the state protection in 1961, a world heritage site in 2001, and a 5A national Scenic Area in 2007.

Yungang Grottoes is hailed as a Miracle in Chinese Art with its time-honored history, large scale, rich contents and superb carvings. The whole Yungang Grottoes is grand and dignified with prominent themes, and can be divided into three parts, the eastern, central and western, and the niches are densely distributed like a honeycomb. The eastern part takes pagodas as the principal thing; hence its name pagoda caves. Each of all grottoes in central part can be parted with a front room and back room; each grotto houses a Buddha, and basso-relievo covers cave walls and roofs. In western part, small grottoes and niches are in the majority and were built in later Northern Wei Dynasty.

Started in 450, the grottoes is a relic of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). Absorbing Indian Gandhara Buddhist art, the sculptures here developed traditional Chinese art melded with social features of the time.

During the reign of Emperor Xiao Wen a monk named Tanyao took charge of the construction of Yungang Grottoes. The largest cave is No.6, which is 20 meters (65.6 foot) high, standing a 15-meter (49.2-foot)-high pagoda-like column decorated with Buddha statues and designs. On the four sides of the tower pillar, and on the east, south and west walls of the cave, 33 embossed panels depict the story of Saykamuni.

Zhangbi Ancient Fortress, the Miniature Castle in Shanxi

Zhangbi Ancient Fortress is a rare ancient castle in China, which integrates military, production, astrology and religious activities. It is located in Jiexiu city, Shanxi province, around 140 kilometers southwest of Taiyuan and 40 kilometers southwest of Pingyao Ancient Town. With an area of only 120,000 square meters, Zhangbi Ancient Fortress is also called a miniature castle. The entire fortress was constructed based on Chinese astrology.

Zhangbi Ancient Fortress, 1,020 meters (3,346 feet) above sea level, is surrounded by gullies on three sides, and a mountain on the fourth side. It has 10-meter (33 feet) tall walls on the outside, making it easy to defend but hard to attack. In addition, the ancient fortress is full of underground tunnels, like cobwebs, extending in all directions and cleverly connected to the buildings above ground. The tunnels, about 2 meters (2 yards) high and 1.5 meters (1.6 yards) wide, have been explored for about 1,500 meters (1,640 yards). There are still 8,500 meters (9,300 yards) to be explored, for a total length of about 10,000 meters (11,000 yards). There are mangers, granaries and slaughter houses as well as dozens of covert entrances hidden above ground or under the foundations of folk dwellings. Villagers could easily reach the tunnels quickly for protection when enemies invaded. The tunnels could accommodate 30,000 people and you can visit the tunnels and experience the wisdom of the ancients here.

Many religious relics of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism have been found in this area. They are mainly distributed around the northern and southern gates of Zhangbi Ancient Fortress. Kong Wang Memorial Temple is a memorial temple used to worship Kong Wang, the first of the Han people to achieve enlightenment through Buddhism.

In Kong Wang Memorial Temple, there is a statue of Kong Wang Buddha and many murals which tell how Kong Wang became a Buddha. In addition, there are two rare colored glaze steles in front of the temple. Zhen Wu Temple is a Taoist temple mainly used to worship Zhen Wu, a deity of the north who watches over water and soldiers. There is also the Songzi Avalokitesvara Palace where people pray for the good fortune of their children, the Kuixing Building where people offer prayers for good grades in school, the Guanyu Temple where people pray for security and the Caishen Temple where people pray for wealth.

Kaiping Diaolou, the National Cultural Heritage Site in Guangdong

Kaiping Diaolou, located in Kaiping City, Guangdong Province, is a special type of Chinese vernacular architecture. It is a multi-storey tower building integrating defense, residence and Chinese and Western architectural arts. It is characterized by a combination of Chinese and Western dwellings, with various styles such as ancient Greece, ancient Rome and Islam.

Kaiping Diaolou is the most typical representative of the characteristics of Chinese overseas Chinese culture. Overseas Chinese are the disseminators of culture. The integration and collision of Chinese and foreign cultures are the inevitable outcome of its development. The cultural conflicts it brings are bound to touch all aspects and all classes of Chinese traditional society, which is also the common law of the world’s immigrant culture. This kind of cultural conflict and blend is very externalized in Kaiping. It still keeps its own tradition, and the local buildings with the integration of Chinese and Western architectural culture are few in the countryside, mainly in the counties and towns.

The earliest preserved villages were constructed in the 14th century, and the diaolous were initially built in the 16th century. Originally, it was built to protect the residents against intrusion and forays by local bandits. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Diaolou reached its peak, with over 3,000 diaolous scattered around the whole Kaiping area. About 1,830 well-preserved diaolous remain.

Kaiping has long been a major hometown for immigrants, many of whom brought the ideas and architectural styles of the West to the city. The diaolous primarily use the Romanesque, Islamic, Baroque and Rococo architectural styles and decorative forms. They were mainly made of reinforced concrete, which was rare in Asia in the 1920s and 1930s. On the exterior, the buildings are typically western; but inside everything, from the frescos to the utensils, are of traditional Chinese style.

The local Diaolou is made of stone, compressed earth, bricks or concrete. Despite the distinct differences in building materials, architectural styles and decorative forms, all of the diaolous share some common features. The windows and doors are very narrow and small. Diaolous on the top floor, with embrasures in the four cardinal directions, provide excellent views of the surrounding area.

Kaiping Diaolou and Villages is also an example of the incorporation of the natural and cultural landscape. In spite of importing the western architectural style, the buildings still maintain a harmonious relationship with the surrounding rural landscape. The unique scene is spectacular.