Tianjin is a dynamic and modern city, with an eclectic collection of colonial buildings left over from the days of foreign concessions. It is a gateway to Beijing, to which it is connected by high-speed rail. Kublai Khan’s Xanadu is now a 21st century city of skyscrapers and freeways, adorned by the striking avant garde architecture of its Olympic venues, but remnants of Beijing’s past are much in evidence. The Great Wall still snakes across the landscape; the once Forbidden City shows off its ornate throne rooms; and temples, tombs, and enclaves of tiny residential lanes called hutongs, bring an ancient culture into focus.
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