Shanghai History

What was once a sleepy fishing town, Shanghai is now the largest city of China and the nation’s most important cultural, commercial, financial and trade centre. Flanked on all sides by some of the world’s most intriguing structures, Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city with much to speak for its colourful history and traditions.

The city has embraced cultural and economical change like no other in China. In fact, Shanghai has more motor vehicles on its streets than the rest of China put together. Much of the British, French and American influences on Shanghai’s past are still evident in the city, particularly in the picturesque Bund area which extends for 1.5 km on the east bank of the Huangpu River. The Bund features over 52 European-style buildings, which provides a captivating view of Shanghai – particularly when lit up at night.

Minutes away, visitors can find the most famous street in China: Nanjing Road. Visited by some 1.7 million people everyday day, the 5.5 kilometre stretch of road is lined with a dizzying selection of shopping centres, department stores, specialty stores and tantalising eateries.

From there, visitors can make their way to Shanghai’s largest ancient garden, Yuyuan. Built in 1559, the gardens are typical of the landscaping styles of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is laid out in an intricate manner, featuring jade structures, ornamental ponds and picturesque pavilions. The neighbouring Yuyuan Bazaar is great for bargain hunters who are after inexpensive gifts for loved ones back home.

For a dash of culture, visitors can travel to the Jade Buddha Temple, not far from the city centre. Named after the jade statue of Sakyamuni from Myanmar, the White Jade Buddhas were brought to Shanghai from Burma in the nineteenth century. Although worshippers visit the temple every day to burn incense, thousands of foreign travellers also travel far and wide to the temple to catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing Jade Buddhas.

A trip to Shanghai would be incomplete without a trip across the Huangpu River to the new district of Pudong. Here, visitors can find the Oriental Pearl TV Tower which has recently become a modern symbol for Shanghai. At a height of 468 metres, the Oriental Pearl is the tallest TV tower in Asia. From the 263 metre-high observation deck, travellers can enjoy a panoramic view over the breathtaking Shanghai skyline.

Shanghai, Hu for short, is the largest city in China in terms of population and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with over 20 million people. Located on China's central eastern coast at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city is administered as a municipality of the People's Republic of China with province-level status. In China there is a saying that "Xian has witnessed 2,000 years of history, Beijing has witnessed 1,000 years of history while Shanghai bears witness to the last 100 years." For anyone who is interested in the history of modern China, Shanghai serves as an ideal starting point. Regarded as the "Oriental Pear", the city has a unique and important place in modern China and its rich heritage is worthy of exploration.

Shanghai of Old

Shanghai began as a fishing village in the 11th century, but by the mid-18th century it was an important area for growing cotton and by the 1800s it was becoming the largest city in China. Foreigners came into Shanghai due to foreign trade after the Opium Wars. The British, along with the Americans and French, were allowed to live in certain territorial zones without being under the Chinese laws. As a result of all the foreigners, Shanghai became greatly influenced by Western culture, but things changed dramatically after Communism took over. The city flourished as a centre of commerce between east and west, and became a multinational hub of finance and business by the 1930s. After the Economic reforms in 1990, with its advantaged natural conditions, rapid development and splendid oriental culture, Shanghai became one of the busiest cargo port in the world and was famed as the 'Oriental Paris' and attracted many entrepreneurs and established businesses. Split in two by the Huangpu River with the older town on the west bank known as Puxi and the brand new development on the east side being Pudong , this city is an emerging tourist destination.
Old Bund Old railway station

Shanghai the New

Having suffered the ravages of war, turmoil and economic crisis, the fortunes of Shanghai have been revived thanks to the great Reform and Opening Up since 1978. Now it is often regarded as the center of finance and trade in mainland China. Modern development began with the economic reforms in 1992, a decade later than many of the Southern Chinese provinces, but since then Shanghai quickly overtook those provinces and maintained its role as the business center in mainland China. Shanghai also hosts the largest share market in mainland China. Over 300 of the world's top 500 enterprises have opened branches in Shanghai, while many have their research and development centers or headquarters there. Pudong New Area has developed in just five years, and Lujiazui in Pudong has become one of the foremost world class financial and trade zones in Asia. Skyscrapers such as Jinmao Tower and Shanghai Global Financial Center dominate the skyline, while landmark constructions like Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Pudong International Airport and Shanghai International Convention Center offer the finest and best of modern facilities.

Shanghai has many attractions in the downtown area, including Huangpu River, the Bund, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jinmao Tower, Shanghai Museum, Yuyuan Garden, Xin Tian Di and the special old streets and lanes. Besides, there are places in the vicinity of Shanghai well worth a visit such as Zhou Zhuang Water Town. Also in the big Yangtze delta economic circle, Suzhou and Hangzhou are the other beautiful destination to visit. In Hangzhou, you will enjoy the natural scenic spots such as the West Lake; and in Suzhou, you will see traditional Chinese gardens built inside houses of typical traditional architectural style of South China.

The modern Bund Modern train transport