The area northwest of the main train station, on the west side of the Hai River, was Tianjin’s old city, strictly demarcated into national zones, and each section today retains a hint of its old flavour. Running from west to east along the north bank of the river were the Austrian, Italian, Russian and Belgian concessions, though most of the old buildings here have been destroyed. Unmistakeable are the chateaux of the French concession, which now make up the downtown district just south of the river, and the haughty mansions the British built east of here. Farther east, also south of the river, the architecture of an otherwise unremarkable district has a sprinkling of stern German constructions.

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