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The Five-Avenue Area is actually only a stone’s throw from the crowded Nanjing road, but the hustle and bustle of metropolis quietly hides up in this short distance. Seeing gardens surrounded by green trees as well as exotic courtyard houses and listening to clip-clop of horses and bells ringing from horse-drawn carriages, you cannot help exploring the Five-Avenue Area in the charm of world building.

The Five-Avenue Area is an icon of Tianjin, just as the Eiffel Tower of Paris. It has witnessed a hundred year history of modern China. Everything started from the arrival of foreigners, who opened the gate of Tianjin with guns and cannons, bringing various foreign goods and western culture totally different from local customs. The Englishmen marked out concession at the bank of Qiangzi River (present Nanjing Road), and then constructed race-course and high grade clubs outside the concession, gradually extending westward. The urban planning method of “garden city” began to prevail in the UK at that time, so the new area of concession became an ideal place to practice this method. New buildings sprang up like mushrooms after a spring rain; superior residential houses, magnificent churches, grand schools, elegant clubs and comfortable theaters were constructed in succession. With good public facilities, there formed a large-scale garden residential community composed of 5 nearly parallel roads to the north of Machang Road and 23 crisscross streets, which was later well known as the Five-Avenue Area.

The unique styled houses make the place a picturesque scene with exotic flavors. Many celebrities once lived in the Five-Avenue Area; Xu Shichang and Cao Kun, two presidents of the Republic of China, lived here in 1920s and 1930s. There also lived seven premiers or deputy premiers of state, including Pan Fu, Tang Shaoyi, Gu Weijun, Zhang Shaozeng, Yan Huiqing, Gong Xinzhan and Zhu Qiqian; ten military governors of different provinces as well as provincial and municipal governors; two distinguished educators, Yan Xiu and Zhang Boling; two well known doctors, Zhu Xianyi and Fang Xianzhi; two patriotic military officers, Gao Shuxun and Lu Zhonglin; Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, and Liddell, the Olympic champion for 400 meter running. It is a showcase of modern Chinese history. With a floor area of 600,000 m2 and a total building area of 1,000,000 m2, there remain more than 2000 garden buildings in various architectural styles, including European style and Japanese style, constructed in 1920s and 1930s, and over 300 of which are historical featured buildings and former residence of celebrities, so it its praised as “World Building Exposition”.

With its peaceful roads and streets, numerous former residences of celebrities, and deep historical traces, the Five-Avenue Area makes you feel like having a journey of knowledge and culture on a gallery of architectural art. In the cultural perspective, the Five-Avenue Area is a typical carrier for conflicts and fusion of Chinese and western cultures in modern China, a symbol of the open, multiple and comprehensive Tianjin urban culture, and a museum with a superb architectural collection during the development of Tianjin; in the historical perspective, having experienced a hundred years of adventurous people and things, the Five-Avenue Area has become a place with precious deposits for us to explore.

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