Several weeks back I mentioned that Seoul was a city of bridges, and as it turns out, China has a city like this too (though it admittedly doesn’t have quite as many Seoul); Tianjin.  Known as the “Pearl of the Bohai” (referencing the Bohai Sea, the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea in Northeastern China), Tianjin is a truly interesting place from an architectural standpoint.  As you walk down the nicely manicured sides of the Haihe river, you seemingly pass from China, into the United States, then various places in Europe… It’s almost like walking around in Vegas, well… except for that Tianjin is tastefully done, and there aren’t droves of people surrounding you… which is actually odd for China also.  It left my friend Teddy and I to ask ourselves “what is this place???” on multiple occasions.

In addition to the interesting architecture of its buildings, the city also has 13 bridges that span the Haihe river, each of which are unique.  There’s the one that is built with more traditional Chinese styling, complete with dragons and ornate carvings.  There’s a funky double-decker bridge with bright red neon tube lights that looks like something from 100 years into the future.  Then there was this one.  This is the Ligonglou Bridge (go ahead and try to pronounce that one).  It was situated very close to our hotel, and the first bridge I got to admire… or rather scratch my head at.  It immediately struck me as looking like it belonged in the Soviet Union.  Something about the stark styling with the brushed (and dirty) aluminum accents, the weird viewing tower… the nonsensical  support arms (they actually do make sense when you look at them from one angle in particular, otherwise it appears impossible that they support anything).  The more I looked at it though, the more I liked it… so I had to capture it.  Definitely funky!

More from Tainjin next week!

–Dan Thompson

Tianjin Bridge