Covering a catchment area of 317,800 sq kilometers (122,800 sq miles), the Haihe River is regarded as the 'mother river' of Tianjin. It is a great contributor to the improvement of Tianjin, and ties closely to the lives of Tianjin people living there for generations. People visiting the Haihe River today appreciate its scenic beauty as well as its historical and cultural atmosphere.
The Haihe River is a crucial river in North China formed by the convergence of five rivers in Tianjin. Historically, the Haihe River was open to navigation 1,800 years ago, and gradually became a junction for navigation in the Sui Dynasty (581-618). Through centuries of development, it became a trading center gathering a great influx of businessmen from around the nation. Today the former shipping center is a place for relaxation.
Regions along the river present beautiful views starting from Sanchakou (a fork in the river) to Daguangming Bridge (one of the bridges over the Haihe River). Countless attractions along the banks make the river a popular holiday destination.
Of all the sights, the Haihe Park is the most attractive. Like a jade belt attached to the river banks, Haihe Park is an ideal place for pleasure and rest. Two groups of bronze sculptures are particularly noticeable. Verdant trees, beautiful blossoms, green lawns, long corridors under ivy-laced frames, fountains, and sculptures decorate the park. Residents prefer to spend their leisure time ambling there. Visitors can get a general knowledge of Tianjin from the locals.
Haihe Cultural Square
The Haihe Cultural Square is a key project in the comprehensive renovation of resorts along the Haihe River. It gained this name from the adjoining ancient culture street. Focusing on cultural traditions and folk customs of Tianjin, the designer endowed the square with a style of solemnity and simplicity. Meanwhile, a modern element enters the design. The high-tech lighting, the causeway pavement and the wooden floor make the square a shining pearl of the Haihe River bank.
Haihe Fountain Amusement Park
Completed in 1985, the playground occupies an area of 143,000 sq meters (35.3 acres). There is a spectacular colorful fountain in the central area. The park offers bumper cars, passenger-propelled airplanes, and motorcycles to visitors. In addition, in this playground are three luxurious sightseeing ships, and several speed boats offering tours along the Haihe River. Visitors can also enjoy a boat excursion at night. Light from both banks melts into the water and drifts off, like a rainbow.
In addition, the Wanghailou Church located at the north bank of the Haihe River is one of China's cultural relics. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), there was a Wanghailou Tower, a pleasure location for emperors who made trips to their provinces; the Laolongtou Rail Station is recorded as the first rail station in China's ancient commercial ports after the Second Opium War (1856-1860). Together with the establishment of other constructive projects at that time, it is eyewitness to Tianjin's development.
With its long history and beauty, the Haihe River attracts visitors worldwide. It is a river endowed with sea strength and river tenderness.
(Travelchinaguide.com July 25, 2007)