Tianjin Overview

Tianjin (Tiānjīn, 天津), China's third largest municipality-level city after international superstar Shanghai and nearby Beijing, tends to get lost in the shuffle. It's not perceived as archetypal of China's present warp-speed rush to modernize like Shanghai, nor is it widely known for its historical significance like Beijing. It's too bad, because this often overlooked city has much to offer: an eclectic stock of colonial-era, European-style buildings to rival Shanghai's famous Bund, excellent examples of classical Chinese architecture such as the Monastery of Deep Compassion and Tianhou Temple, great shopping at the Antiques Market and in modern malls, a dynamic local culture featuring a delicious seafood-based cuisine, and, in the northern reaches of the municipality well beyond the urban core, the Huangyaguan stretch of the Great Wall. The best of Tianjin isn't served up on a pre-arranged package-tour platter, but with a little effort it's a rewarding and fascinating destination.

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