For our recent trip to Tianjin and Dalian in China’s northeast I did not leave with the expectation of taking pictures with a deep blue sky as China’s cities are known for their high level of air pollution. And I was proven right: Although the pollution was not terrible, the sky was mostly rather white than blue.

As a consequence, I often opted for black and white photography which was – in my opinion – a great choice as fortunately both Tianjin and Dalian offer very interesting and distinctive architecture with lots of contrasts. In comparison with other Chinese cities, they seem very European.

Tianjin is China’s third biggest city and has a rich history, impacted by foreign trade in the late 1800s. You find plenty of buildings with British, German, French, Italian or Japanese influence and it seems that the Italian concession houses the biggest cluster of old Italian architecture outside of Italy.

Dalian is China’s northernmost sea port and due to its ice-free location has ever since been a very strategic harbour town. For long, Russian or Japanese occupied the city and it was only in 1955 that it was returned to China. Still today, you see the influence of both countries and I was surprised to find that many Russian still spend their holidays there. The architecture with its old buildings and numerous squares, restaurants and even souvenirs stalls clearly show this influence.



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