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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Historical Places in Tianjin – Explore China's Past
Joanna James Joanna James
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Historical Places in Tianjin – Explore China's Past

Planning on visiting the city of Tianjin? This historical city is a treasure trove of attractions and artefacts. Uncover its ancient secrets to learn the rich history of China's past.


Enter The Temple of Confucius

Pay your respects at the Tianjin Confucius Temple, and take in its grand archways and expansive halls filled with scriptures. This temple is one of the oldest buildings in the city and was constructed in the Ming Dynasty around half a millennium ago. Be sure to visit the calming goldfish pond for a scenic breather from all the sightseeing.

Who exactly was Confucius, you ask? He was a renowned ancient Chinese philosopher who lived between 400 and 500 BC. His teachings focused on encouraging self-cultivation, and his influence spread wide over the ancient Kingdoms of the Orient.

Confucius' family tree contains one of the oldest unbroken lineages in the world. It spans 2,500 years and boasts over two million descendants across China and Korea. His Korean descendants include famous modern K-Pop and TV stars who go by the family name 'Gong'. This is the Korean version of Confucius' Chinese clan name, 'Kong'. In fact, the name Confucius was phonetically derived from 'Kong Fuzi', meaning Master Kong.


Behold the Temple of the Queen of Heaven

Check out Tianhou Palace which is also called the 'Temple of the Queen of Heaven'. Tianhou was a deity who was believed to be the Queen of Heaven and Goddess of the Sea. This temple cum palace complex was built to honour her. It dates back to the Yuan Dynasty in the early 14th century. The temple's location makes for a picturesque visit; you can observe the Haihe River from here. Make sure to visit other highlights of the palace such as the Memorial Archway and the Tianjin Folk Custom Museum.


Stand on the Great Wall of China

Travel north from Tianjin city to the Huanyaguan Pass for a chance to walk along the Great Wall of China; one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Huanyaguan translates to 'Yellow Cliff', and this pass actually forms a small portion of the Great Wall, which winds its way across China's northern regions. Enjoy the breath-taking view from the top of Yellow Cliff Pass, as you gaze at the rolling hillsides that spread out on either side.


Pay Homage to the Great Mosque

Visit the Tianjin Great Mosque. This has been an important place of Islamic worship in China since the start of the Qing Dynasty; which began near the middle of the 17th century. Inside, you will find an amalgamation of traditional Chinese and Islamic architecture and décor. The mosque also features two miniature versions of the Quran; these are so tiny that they could fit two or three times over inside a matchbox! To increase your chances of being allowed inside by the staff, it's best to wear conservative clothing in order to respect the conservative nature of Islamic culture.


Visit the Shi Courtyard

What's all this fuss about a mere courtyard? It was constructed during the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century, by a son of Shi Wancheng; the head of one of Tianjin's most powerful merchant families. Here, you can see remnants of China's old free-trade oriented culture. Explore the sprawling structure and discover antiquated paintings, furniture, calligraphy art and more. The Courtyard contains many yards and hundreds of traditional houses. Much of it has been preserved as it was before the Chinese Revolution; so much so that many modern historical Chinese dramas are filmed onsite today.

The Shi Courtyard and most of the other aforementioned historic attractions are located quite close to each other. However, they are quite inland from Tianjin's coast. Tianjin accommodation closer to the Bohai Bay area, such as Ascott TEDA MSD Tianjin and similar others, are at least an hour's drive away. So, if you're staying closer to the coast, it's best to set aside a full day to cover all these attractions in one go.