The Five Great Avenues (五大道), British Concession, Tientsin

Villa in the Five Great Avenues Area, the British Concession.

Villa in the Five Great Avenues Area, the British Concession.

The Five Great Avenues is a residential area towards the Western end of the British Concession.  It is a rectangular area containing more than 22 suburban streets lined with concession-era residential villas.

In its heyday, this was the heart of the social scene in Tientsin’s British Concession, where the Racecourse was, and where its wealthy resided.  Quite wonderfully, almost all of its historic architecture has survived and many have been restored.

And there is a wealth of such historic architecture!  The Tianjin Department of Historical Building Protection notes that the Five Great Avenues Area features more than 230 buildings with different European architectural styles.  In the 1920s and 30s many Chinese celebrities, politicians and other literary personalities resided here.

The most monumental of these buildings sit on Machang Avenue 馬場道, which quite literally means, Racecourse Avenue.  Further in the area, one gets an eerie-nostalgic sense of being in the English suburbs, and along some stretches, even in one of the Council Housing estates in London.

The area is a pleasure to explore and stroll around in, but quite frankly, exceedingly hard to photograph, whatwith the throngs of locals taking in the scenery alongside one. Its nearest equivalent on the Grand Tour thus far is the Badaguan Area in Tsingtao, though it is nowhere near as idyllic.

Here’s glimpse of the streetscape…

2 - Villa 3 - Villa

Like being in the English suburbs

Like being in the English suburbs

5 - Interesting building 6 - Villa 7 - Villa 8 - Villa

Council Housing makes an appearance...

Council Housing makes an appearance…

10 - Apartments

Machang Avenue has the most monumental and opulent buildings.

Machang Avenue has the most monumental and opulent buildings.

12 - Machang Ave 13 - MAchang Ave 14 - Machang Ave

Church

Church

High School

High School

A clock marks the beginning (an end) of the Five Great Avenues Area.

A clock marks the beginning (an end) of the Five Great Avenues Area.

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, China, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Landmarks & History, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Five Great Avenues (五大道), British Concession, Tientsin

  1. John Ward says:

    Many thanks for your tours and pictures of the Treaty ports including Tianjin. Like you, I have toured some of these cities – and was fortunate to see some of the interiors such as of the French Concession municipal offices – which was amazing – far more interesting on the inside than the outside, plus the adjacent so called “salt bank” with an incredibly ornate banking hall and related offices upstairs in original condition and very well maintained..

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