Travel Report: Tianyi Square, Ningbo.
August 2017. Are you into branded clothing, luxury accessories and being followed around by over-attentive sales clerks desperate for your money? Then no doubt Tianyi Square will be pushing for top spot on your Ningbo to-do list! Honestly I was considering skipping this commercial square altogether. But then it just kinda turned up on the way to somewhere. Plus, I really fancied a coffee. Hence my travel buddy and I decided to take a look.
Visually, Tianyi Square is impressive. It has a pleasing mix of European style structures and modern skyscrapers. All of which hold court over a series of blue pools and pretty fountains. The Chinese architect Qingyun Ma designed the square, which opened in 2002.
Tianyi Square, Ningbo.
Making a loop around the square, it’s impossible not to admire the surrounding buildings. My pick of the bunch is Jiaoqu Yaohang Street Catholic Church, accessible from Tianyi’s northern end. This Gothic structure was built by missionaries in the early 1700s. I would have loved to have peeked inside, but sadly it was locked up for the day.
There are a bunch of cool art installations, sculptures and paintings peppered around Tianyi Square. In fact, in 2003 it won China’s prestigious Best Public Art Construction award.
For me, Tianyi Square got some kudos simply because of all the creature comforts I couldn’t get back in Ruian, the little Chinese city I lived in at the time. There’s a Subway for example, a Dairy Queen and a Burger King. Not places I’d normally frequent, but hey, Ningbo made me realise that it’s nice to have the choice.
Finally, we decided to grab a couple of lattes and do some people watching from Starbucks. It was from here that my travel buddy and I spent an excessive amount of time discussing the meaning of the word bookish. We never did reach a firm conclusion.
Tianyi Square’s main attraction is its nightly light and music show. Apparently, the buildings change colour and one of the fountains transforms into a huge, shimmering peacock. That would’ve been cool to see. Next time…
For more on my time in the city, check out my other articles on Ningbo.
For more on the region, have a look at my travel reports from around Zhejiang Province.
Like these? Then why not leaf through my many other reports from across China.
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