It is a small city by China's standards, but Ningbo, a massive port about two hours away from China, packs a massive industrial punch. With apartment buildings spread as far as the eye can see, it comes across as a concrete jungle. But if you happen to travel here, you can find several spots that allow you to forget that you are in a city of 3.5 million people. One of the country's oldest and most historic libraries offers a break from the noise and traffic.

Tian Yi Ge (or Tianyi Pavilion) was founded by Fan Qin during the 16th century. Over the centuries it kept expanding in size, and the emperors of the Qing Dynasty decided such a library should be replicated and then opened across the country. As more pavilions and buildings were added, a patchwork of beautiful gardens complemented the beautiful structures. The British looted Tian Yi Ge during the Opium Wars, and World War II also saw much of this library's collection disappear. After the current government took control, rare volumes were added to this impressive collection.

A beautiful example of traditional Chinese architecture and landscaping, Tian Yi Ge, in my view, is one of the most stellar places to visit in China. Combine it with a trip to the restored Go Lou shopping area and Moon Lake Park, and you have the perfect itinerary for a late afternoon or early evening stroll while you are in Ningbo.

Image credits: Leon Kaye

Tian Yi Ge, China, architecture, Ningbo, travel, Leon Kaye

A landscaper's dream

Tian Yi Ge, China, architecture, Ningbo, travel, Leon Kaye

You can get lost wandering through this ancient library

Tian Yi Ge, China, architecture, Ningbo, travel, Leon Kaye

The verdant grounds offer a nice break from Ningbo's bustle

Tian Yi Ge, China, architecture, Ningbo, travel, Leon Kaye

Strike a pose with one of the many statues that are centuries old

Tian Yi Ge, China, architecture, Ningbo, travel, Leon Kaye

Even on a cloudy day the buildings at Tian Yi Ge are spectacular

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.