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 the New