Located in Nankai District of Tianjin, the Tianjin Ancient Culture Street stands in the area of key section in upstream of the Haihe River. Covering an area of 224,200 sq meters, it used to be one of earliest water transport docklands in Tianjin where is one of the busiest cities of commerce and trade in history.
As a cultural precinct with 600 years history, Tianjin Ancient Culture Street is well known by the local and overseas tourists. This Street’s rebuilt in 1980’s is one of the great successes in the renovation and redevelopment. The whole block is still conserved with the existing urban pattern and traditional Chinese layout. The lanes and houses in the street are almost preserved in a good condition with Tianjin local feathers.
In past time, on 23th of March in lunar calendar which is said to be the birthday of Mother of Heaven, a great ceremony would be held here. On the ceremony, many Chinese traditional performances would be performed, such as Shiziwu (dancing play as a lion), Huahanchuan (dancing with a ship like dressing), Caigaoqiao (dancing standing on a high stick) and so on.
Tianjin Ancient Culture Street is lined with small booths or shops which are modeled after the small folk shops from the Qing Dynasty. There are about 100 shops in the street. All of them are built in Qing Dynasty architectural style and decorated with colorful pictures on doors and windows. These pictures are mainly themed in history, mythology, figures, birds and flowers. They are openwork, relief sculptures or circular engravings. Some shops sell cultural relics, antiques and old furniture, such as the old books, traditional New Year Paintings and jade jewelry. Some shops specialize in traditional folk art works, such as baby dolls, Clay Figure Zhang, Yang Liuqing New Year Paintings, and Tianjin Wei Kites.
Visitors could find a large temple named Tianhou (Mother of Heaven) Palace in the center of the street. In the past dynasties, Tianhou was honored as the Goddess of Navigation Safety. It is said that Tianhou often sailed on the sea and saved people who encountered disaster at sea. Therefore, she is worshiped by the coastal people. During the Yuan Dynasty, large quantities of food were shipped to the capital of the country. The foods were always shipped to Tianjin at first and then transferred to the capital. Based on the situation, the Tianhou Palace was established in many coastal towns including Tianjin in order to pray for navigation safety. Today, Tianhou Palace has become a folk custom museum in Tianjin, which introduces the historic changes of Tianjin to visitors.