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Art & Leisure: Crossing the Haihe
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Crossing the Haihe

by Nadia N.­

Some European cities carry the title “City of bridges”, and Tianjin, which merges European and Chinese culture and architecture, deserves it somehow. Haihe River divides Tianin in two parts and has an impressive number of crossings that are all made to be different and special. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.


JieFang Bridge 解放桥


WBT_201511_260_Art__Leisure_-JIE_FANG_BRIDGEIf you happened to take a walk around Jingwang Plaza and the Tianjin Train Station, you most likely noted a curious construction – a bridge made of wood and steel, filled with history and memories. JieFang Bridge or Liberty Bridge is one of the most historical ones bridges in Tianjin and is therefore cherished by Tianjianers more than any modern bridge. Built by French architect Gustave Eiffel in 1927, it is the oldest bridge in Tianjin that is still open to road traffic. People also take casual walks across it, some retailers sell hand-made souvenirs and phone accessories, tuk-tuk drivers scream their famous “Ta-Ke-Si” and even wedding photos are taken somewhere along the expanse. Even though the bridge was under extensive reconstruction for a long time, from 2008 Jiefang Bridge opened from time to time to let leisure boats pass. As for its perfect location – in the heart of the old British concession – Jiefang Bridge is a great place to snap pictures, especially in the early morning, when its usual inhabitants have still to arrive.


Stone Lion Forest Bridge, Shizilin Qiao, 狮子林桥


WBT_201511_260_Art__Leisure_-lion_bridgeNot many people, even experienced Tianjin expats, know about this charming bridge. From afar, it looks like nothing but a usual white stone construction, connecting the Ancient Culture Street with Wanghailou Church. However, if you have time to go and explore the hidden beauty of this bridge, it won’t disappoint you. It was built in 1973, but designed to look far more traditional and historic. If you take a closer look at its design, you can find yourself being surrounded by an army of carved lions. The size of these proud guardians of the crossing varies – some of the lions are as big as an apple, others almost like the real thing. Of course, don’t forget to pay attention to one curious detail – all of the animals have different expressions on their faces, as is often done in traditional Chinese architecture. So, you can always find one that looks exactly like how you feel!


Bei’an Bridge, Bei’an Qiao, 北安桥


WBT_201511_260_Art__Leisure_-_BEI_AN_BRIDGEThis milky golden bridge is one of the most famous spots in Tianjin, and was made to become a great companion for the neighbouring architecture of the Italian Style Town. It is actually one of the calling cards of the city. Don’t let it fool you – in spite of its appearance; it’s one of the youngest bridges in Tianjin. It was only constructed in the 1970s, and is a replica of the Pont Alexandre III in Paris. White masonry and giant brass statues look elegant and chic in the evening under illumination, but unfortunately, it retains a plastic and less than authentic feel . Nevertheless, it is worth a visit, at least to enjoy the panorama it provides – Hai River, skyscrapers, and the nice riverside view.

 

 

 

Cihai Bridge and Tianjin Eye 慈海桥


Everybody who has taken a trip to visit the Tianjin Eye, pay attention- it is actually on a bridge! It is worth a visit just to experience andsee the only Ferris wheel in the world that was built over a bridge. This crossing is a baby among Tianjin bridges- it was constructed in 2007 and opened in 2008. Now every day – when the weather and pollution allow – the Tianjin Eye carries tourists and locals up and down to enjoy the beautiful Tianjin view. As with Bei’an Bridge, the Tianjin Eye and its bridge have become a calling card of Tianjin, and, if you happen to be a tourist in this city, for sure your guide book will lead you here.


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