The Bund (in Chinese Waitan = beach of foreigners) is the colonial promenade on the Huangpu River. Europeans and Americans settled here after the First Opium War in 1842 and set up representative trading houses and banks. Back then, Shanghai was a small town that is still known today as Nancheng (southern city). The "foreign devils" (Wai-Guizi), as the foreigners were called by the Chinese, built their own town north of old Shanghai. The British, French and Americans built a trading post only for foreigners, the Chinese were not allowed to settle here, they were only tolerated as cheap labor. Russians, Germans and Japanese joined them later.
The concession area was between the Suzhou River and what is now Yan An Road, and between Huangpu and Renmin Park. One of the most famous buildings on the "Bund" is the Customs House built 1927 with a clock tower reminiscent of Big Ben. Another famous building is the North China Daily News Building, which was the tallest structure in the city in 1924. The North China Daily News was the first English language newspaper in Shanghai. There are two small turrets on the roof. The third major structure on the Bund is the HSBC Building opened in 1923. The headquarters of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank looks a bit like a parliament building, with a dome in the middle. The Bank of China and the Peace Hotel also belong to the historic structures on the Shanghai waterfront.
Nanjing Lu is the main shopping street in Shanghai. The 1.2 km long pedestrian zone turns into a colorful sea of lights at night. In 1845 the street in the International Zone was built as "Park Lane", but the Chinese simply called it Dama Lu (Main Street). There are large department stores on Nanjing Lu, some of which date back to the colonial era. The famous street was named after the former capital of China Nanjing which is today the capital of Jiangsu Province.
Caution: Unfortunately, there are some tourist rip-offs on Nanjing Street. Students who want to improve their English or young women who want to take you to a tea ceremony should be avoided. You will likely end up in a shop or tea room where a hefty bill will be presented.
The Huxinting teahouse is, as the name suggests, built in the heart of the lake. You walk over a zigzag bridge to reach the tea house in the green lotus lake. The building was erected in 1784 by the Guild of cotton traders. The tea house is one of the most photographed building in Shanghai.
The Chen Xiang Monastery is a pretty temple complex on the northern edge of the Shanghai old town called "Nan Cheng". In the inner courtyard are ginkgo trees and Penjing, which are known as "bonsai". It is a typical Southern China temple, with yellow painted walls.
The "Baiyun Temple" is a daoist monastery. The Daoism is a Chinese philosophy, which was founded by Laozi about 600 BC. "Jin and Yang", "Wuwei" acting through not acting, the body energy of "Chi", "the way is the aim" and many more Chinese traditions are based on the Daoism. The Temple of the "White Cloud" offers insights into this philosophy.
The "Lao Jie" (Old Street) in the southern Chinese city "Nancheng", is a reconstruction and rather an overflowing tourist street than a historic old town. Whoever is looking for the "old China" will find the "new". But here is always something going on and there are many shops and restaurants. Shanghai Old Town is a famous tourist attraction.
Master Kong Fu Zi created the Chinese state philosophy of Confucianism. In all the great cities of the country there are temples in honor of Confucius. The four pillars of philosophy are justice, fellow humanity, rites, and childlike piety, combined with ancestral cult. You can hang up a piece of paper with your wishes and hope they will fulfill.
The Jade Buddha Temple Yufo Si was built around 1918 for a Jade Buddha figure that the monk Hui Gen had brought from Myanmar. In the temple complex there are other Buddhist statues that are well worth seeing. The Jade Buddha Temple is the most atmospheric temple in Shanghai with traditional Chinese architecture and many believers lighting incense sticks.
The M50 is an old industrial complex on Moganshan Street that has been converted into studios by artists. The artists attracted galleries and the studios became exhibition halls. Today the Moganshan Art District is a meeting place for creative people with the charm of subculture, which is rare in China. However, many buildings around the M50 have already been demolished and the site is becoming more commercial every day.
The "Sino-Soviet Friendship Building" was established in 1955 as an exhibition hall of the Russian industry. The 110 m high Stalinist monument was renamed "Shanghai Exhibition Center" in 1968, after considerable tensions between the two countries. The Stalinist monument with the star on top. looks like the buildings on the All Union Exhibition in Moscow.
The "Temple of Tranquility and Peace" was originally located on Suzhou River and was moved to this location in 1216. In 1972 the temple complex burned down and was used as a plastics factory. The temple was rebuilt in 1983 and has been continuously expanded since then. There are impressive Buddha statues in the three large halls and incense sticks are burned in the courtyard. Historic temples are aligned horizontally, the courtyards are wide and make the buildings look flat. The Jingan Si is the exact opposite, the courtyards appear narrow and the buildings high. The temple is not typical for China but typical for Shanghai.
"Pudong" was still a barren port in 1990, with small sheds and warehouses. Today you will find the the tallest skyscrapers of Shanghai in Pudong. At night Pudong turns into a colorful sea of lights, entire high-rise facades are illuminated.
In Pudong are the tallest skyscrapers of Shanghai. The 420 m high Jin Mao Tower was built in 1998 and was then the tallest building in China. Right next to the Jin Mao stands the Shanghai World Financial Center with a height of 492 m, built in 2008. Currently, the 632 m high Shanghai Tower is the talles building of the city.
The world's first Transrapid line was opened in 2002. The trains run between Longyanglu Station in the Pudong district and Pudong Airport at a maximum of 430 km / h. The route runs on concrete stilts and is around 34 km long. Shanghai's magnetic levitation train was developed in Germany. A Transrapid line between Hamburg and Berlin was planned but never built. The Transrapid is now operating as a MAGLEV in Shanghai. The route was to be extended to Hangzhou, 200 km away, but the project was canceled. How long the Transrapid will run in Shanghai is not certain, as the subway has been extended to Pudong Airport.
Welcome to Shanghai
With more than 23 million inhabitants, Shanghai is the second-largest city in China. Chongqing is No. 1. However, Chongqing has a more than 10 times larger total area. Therefore, Shanghai is actually the bigger city. Until 200 years ago, Shanghai was a relatively insignificant harbor town. After the "First Opium War" in 1843 that the ascent of Shanghai began, when China was forced to open the harbor. Europeans and Americans made Shanghai an international trade city. Today, Shanghai is a metropolis with an impressive skyline of thousands of high-rise buildings.
The city of Shanghai consists of several centers. The "Colonial City" (International Zone) with splendid banks and insurance companies on the "Bund" and the main shopping street "Nanjing Lu", the Chinese old town "Nancheng" (South City) with historical chinese buildings, temples and gardens and the new center "Pudong" with TV tower, stock exchange and the tallest skyscrapers in Shanghai.
One of the top attractions in Shanghai is the Yu Yuan. An old private garden that is one of the most beautiful classical gardens in China. The largest green space in the center is the "Renmin Gongyuan" together with the "Renmin Guangchang".
The most famous museum in the city is the Shanghai Museum. It shows many significant finds from China's long history. The most impressive city model in the world can be found in the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center.
Old slaughterhouse with a modern concrete design has been converted into a stylish shopping center.