One of China’s hidden gems: the Bohai Bay

Bohai Bay is located on the North-Western side of the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea’s inner gulf. The Bohai Sea is surrounded by three main bays: the Liaodong Bay, the Bohai Bay, and the Laizhou Bay. As an architect, you are going to enjoy spending a week there! In fact, you may find multiple attractions, shops, streets, and landscapes that will not only inspire your creativity and creations but will also bring you an enriched bouquet of knowledge and culture. 

Places to visit in Bohai Bay for the Travelling Architect
New Multilayer Boundary detection service in Bohai Bay, Northern China ©www.pubs.spe.org

1. First, a historical stop at the Dagu Fort Dagukou

If you’re a lover of war history, raids, and canons, you should probably visit the Dragu Fort. It was constructed between 1522 and 1527 under the reign of Ming Jianjing, the Chinese Emperor. The main aim behind it was the Tianjin city’s protection from the sea raiders, called the Wokou (which translates into Chinese pirates). The Fort is located in the Binhai area, Tianjin, in the North-Eastern part of China. 

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Dagu Fort Dagukou ©www.tripadvisor.com
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Dagu Fort Dagukou ©www.tripadvisor.com
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Dagu Fort Dagukou ©www.tripadvisor.com

2. A theme park where fun meets learning: the Tianjin Binhai aircraft carrier 

As architects, it is important to discover and experience concepts and design ideologies based on spaces’ reuses. The Tianjin Binhai aircraft carrier theme park is located on a 5.57 square kilometers Soviet Aircraft Carrier in the Binhai New District Harbor. 

This park serves as an attraction to tourists and locals. It offers military understanding and knowledge through the museum of science and technology. It is well equipped with real navy machinery, proposing an in-depth look at the intelligence room and the command center. Adding on to that, if you are a fan of high adrenaline, you would want to take a look at the 4D cinema in the carrier’s theatre. 

On the other hand, if you missed the Tianjin Pavilion, presented at the Shanghai Exposition in 2010, you can get the chance to visit it in this theme park. 

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Tianjin Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park ©www.tripadvisor.com
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Tianjin Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park ©www.tripadvisor.com
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Tianjin Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park ©www.tripadvisor.com

3. A religious stop at the Chaoyin Temple

The Chaoyin Temple is located on the Western side of the Haihe River, Tianjin. Its proximity to the city’s economic area puts the emphasis on the traditionalistic atmosphere of the architecture. It was constructed in 1404 during the Ming Dynasty. 

The Temple is formed out of three principle halls, offering the promenade to four others on the northern and southern parts. We can spot Liu Xian Pavilions, as well as 14 Buddha statues. Coming to China means necessarily visiting its temples. But how about optimizing the adventure? Indeed, the Chaoyin Temple still holds, until today, religious events to which you can participate.

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Chaoyin Temple ©www.trip.com
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Chaoyin Temple ©www.trip.com
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Chaoyin Temple ©www.trip.com

4. Natural escape through the Tianjin Lingang Ecology Wetland Park

The 180 acres Tianjin Lingang Ecology Wetland Park was conceived to protect China’s lasting natural resources and protect the environment. The Park is end-to-end to a highway, which illustrates the rejuvenation of nature’s beauty developments inside an urban city.  The interior division of the park is drawn under small roads on one main axis. We can see a lot of small bridges allowing the visitors to walk through the wetland areas. If you soak inspiration in nature and beautiful landscapes, it is the right place to go!

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Tianjin Lingang Ecology Wetland Park ©www.trip.com
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Tianjin Lingang Ecology Wetland Park ©www.trip.com
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Tianjin Lingang Ecology Wetland Park ©www.sherwood.com

5. The beautiful reunion of art and spirituality: the Aranya Art Center

Aranya Art Center was built in 2019 by the architects Neri&Hu and Research Office. The center’s area of 1500 sqm puts the spotlight on the spiritual lifestyle and ideologies in the Chinese environment. The Aranya design consists of an internal courtyard displaying the center’s exhibition, with communal space. The oceans’ calmness of water inspired the architects to design a space that captures a centered geometry, enriched with a void that could be filled with water. This same zone could also serve as a meeting place for people when the water is drained. 

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Aranya Art Center ©www.archdaily.com
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Aranya Art Center ©www.archdaily.com
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Aranya Art Center ©www.archdaily.com

6. One of China’s tallest skyscrapers: the Tianjin CTF Finance Centre

A short walk in Tianjin’s city center, not very far from the Bohai Bay, you can find the Tianjin CTF Finance Center, constructed between 2013 and 2019 by Skidmore Owings Merrill. It is the second tallest building in Tianjin and the eighth tallest building in the world. 

What is mesmerizing to see here is the scale impact that this skyscraper has on its surroundings, but most importantly on the citizens and visitors. It has a square base and refracts the sunlight during the day, allowing many colors to be shown. During the night, the Tianjin CTF Finance Center illuminates the city, shining like a diamond, an architectural jewel.  

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Tianjin CTF Finance Center SOM ©www.architectmagazine.com
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Tianjin CTF Finance Center SOM ©www.som.com
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Tianjin CTF Finance Center ©www.ihd-hk.com

7. China’s answer to the Maldives’ beautiful chalets: the Yuetuo Island

If you’re a fan of resorts, cozy chalets in the sea, you’re going to love spending a weekend at Yueto Island. The concept is inspired by the shape of the moon. In fact, Yue in Chinese means moon. The soft beach extends to 5 kilometers and is the perfect place to enjoy the beach, the sea, and the sky. You also have the possibility to enjoy a nice bird viewing on this isolated island.  At your dispositions are cabins to rent, where you can share a colorful and peaceful landscape. 

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Yuetuo Island travel guidebook ©www.trip.com
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Yuetuo Island ©www.thenationalnews.com
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Yuetuo Island ©www.mu-43.com

8. The wonderfulness of the Putidao Chaoyin Temple

The Pitudao Chaoyin Temple site was built in the late Qing Dynasty. We can find, near there, on the site, 12 “Zen” residences that consist of chalets with four rooms and a view of both the sea and the forest. Adding on to that, we shouldn’t ignore the dynasty’s architecture that shows the deep correlation between nature and human-built environments. What emphasizes on this strong link is the temple’s location; we can almost tell as if it was a lotus in a lake!

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Putidao Chaoyin Temple ©www.trip.com
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Putidao Chaoyin Temple ©www.trip.com

9. Where history and intellect meet: the Li Dazhao Memorial Hall

Li Dazhao Memorial Hall is an exhibition and former home of the Chinese intellectual Li Dazho. He contributed a lot to the New Cultural Movement during the first years of the Republic of China. The Memorial Hall was founded in 1996 and opened its doors to the public in 1997. 

Visiting this memorial offers a huge role in patriotic education and the propaganda that expands its influence on the people. Visiting this memorial will bring to light knowledge about the intellect and creates inspiration both by the architectural experience and the heavy informative promenade. 

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Li Dazhao Memorial Hall ©www.trip.com
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Li Dazhao Memorial Hall ©www.trip.com
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Li Dazhao Memorial Hall ©www.trip.com

10. Antique Chinese culture brought to light by the Porcelain House

The Porcelain House was built in the early 1920s, covering 4,200 square meters. It was still a private collection of porcelain from ancient Chinese culture. In 2007, the house was sold to a businessman, Zhang Lianzhi who decided to transform the house into a Chinese heritage. It was only in 2010 that it was open to the public. 

As architects and art lovers, you will enjoy more than 400 Chinese ancient vases, 700 million porcelain pieces, 400 white marble, crystal, and agate elements, 300 white marble lions from the Tang and Song Dynasties, and up to 13,000 plates and bowls, by visiting the Porcelain House.  

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The Porcelain House ©www.blog.flickr.net
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The Porcelain House ©www.dreamstime.com
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The Porcelain House ©www.whereveriwant.com

11. Book lovers’ heaven: the Tianjin Binhai Library

The Tianjin Binhai’s 33,700 sqm library was built by the Dutch architects MVRDV and the Chinese firm TUPDI. It represents a perfect spherical space that shelters around 1.2 million books. The way the interior is articulated incites the visitor to use the space in every conventional and unconventional way he feels could suit the architecture. The Tianjin Binhai Library incorporates serenity, knowledge, and discovery. 

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Tianjin Binhai Library ©www.floornature.com
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Tianjin Binhai Library ©www.lonelyplanet.com

12. Get to visit an ancient town: Beitang Old Town

You should visit the ancient town of Beitang and experience the old way of living in old Chinese urban areas. You can visit the fortress, on which you will have an amazing view of the whole town with massive cannons touching the sky. 

Adding on to that, you may want to enjoy a culinary experience in the old town while spending a day there. The entrance of the town is surrounded by rivers of North China to keep the enemies away. You may even want to be part of some cultural events and performances on selected special days!

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Beitang Old Town ©www.tripadvisor.com
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Beitang Old Town ©www.tripadvisor.com

13. A mesmerizing panorama at the Jieshi Mountain

For a nice overview of Bohai Bay’s natural landscape, you may want to take a walk to the Jieshi Mountain. You can properly see a lake surrounding the whole mountain, loving in a complete symbiosis the trees and vegetation around it. You can experience ten different sceneries, according to the predecessors. The most breathtaking view can be reached by hiking to the top of the Sendai, in the mountain, at an altitude of 695 meters.  

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The Jieshi Mountain ©www.trip.com
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The Jieshi Mountain ©www.trip.com
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The Jieshi Mountain ©www.trip.com

14. The structural sculptures of Waitan Park

If you’re a fan of games, this is the right place to go to enjoy some fun time, since it is an amusement park. At night, the whole park is lit up and emphasizes the structural sculptures of Waitan Park. You can find a long deck of 1 mile, on which you can enjoy some scenery and entertainment on both sides.

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The Waitan Park ©www.i.pinimg.com
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The Waitan Park ©www.i.pinimg.com
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The Waitan Park ©www.tripadvisor.com

15. Tanggu Forest Park 

The Tanggu Forest Park offers you a complete disconnection from the city. You feel surrounded by the freshness of trees and the warmness of wood. It is the perfect place to go spend a couple of hours and enjoy clean air. You may also find a playground for children and suitable areas for picnicking. 

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Tanggu Forest Park ©www.trip.com
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Tanggu Forest Park ©www.tripadvisor.com
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Tanggu Forest Park ©www.tripadvisor.com
Author

Dima Fadel is a passionate and curious architect, constantly seeking new knowledge. She graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Architectural Studies from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts in Beirut last summer, and is currently pursuing her MSc in Integrated Architectural Design at La Salle, in the urban laboratory of Architecture: Barcelona.

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