Situated on the sea so close to the capital, Tianjin has long been a transport hub for international commerce, and so a great deal of history has accrued to the municipality. It has played its role as a hub for Chinese transport as well, its spokes radiating out to a dozen northern provinces. This is an area which has seen considerable activity through the centuries as a consequence with the varied comings and goings of foreigners and Chinese from many different regions and of many different ethnicities.
Today, Tianjin boasts the largest artificial harbor in northern China with 30 different sea routes leading to over 300 of the world's ports, a magnet for international trade now more than ever. Nor is its activity confined to commerce, as an increasing number of Chinese seek adventure overseas, and cruise liners proliferate.