the past century, Shanghai has had numerous name tags attached to it;
like "Paris of the Orient" and "Pearl of China".
Images of Shanghai more than any other Chinese city, are bountiful in
the west. A visit here therefore, is naturally tainted to some extent,
with a preconception of how the city will be.
As the largest and most prosperous city
in the nation, Shanghai is the economic, financial and cultural center
of China, while Beijing is the political heart. And this image of
Shanghai as a fast and modern metropolis is certainly the one that
most visitors take away. Those old preconceptions of Shanghai as the
home of crime vice and prostitutes are wiped away, as the city
successfully projects an image of itself as young, vibrant and cool.
Shanghai is a modern and fast paced city,
rich in history and culture and with a wealth of areas and sites just
waiting to be explored. One of the nicest aspects of Shanghai is that
the crowds here are much more manageable than in a city like Beijing.
This is largely because there are no great ancient sites which people
flock to. Rather, this is a city to be walked, wandered, explored and
discovered in your own time and, in your own style.
makes Shanghai particularly attractive are the many different styles
of architecture and design throughout the city. Shanghai was once
divided up into different "Concessions" or districts and the
boundaries of these areas still remain today. The famous, Bund was home to the "British Public Park" and this boulevard has
a plethora of colonial structures to visit, all reminders of
Shanghai's days of decadence.
The Japanese and the French Concessions
too, are fascinating areas to explore. The French Quarter is a
particularly charming district to wander, and there are many former
residences to look at and discover something about old Shanghai and
the people who lived here. The area known as the "Chinese
City" is also worthy of a visit. Take a break from the tourists
around the Yuyuan and do some serious antique shopping or just lose yourself amidst the
old alleys and streets.
But perhaps most of all today, Shanghai
is a spectacularly modern city. The pace of development here is
unbelievable. Currently, seventeen percent of the world's cranes are
in the city and developers boast that the city is changing at a rate
incomparable to anywhere else in the world ever. The newest area of
the city, Pudong,
has just celebrated its 10th anniversary and is almost unrecognizable
from the way it was when development began here. Two of the most
impressive city structures can be found here, the Jinmao
Tower and the Oriental
For any visitor to China, perhaps the
most attractive thing about this city is just how fashionable it is.
Museums, galleries, restaurants and bars have emerged in the past few
years. This cosmopolitan cultural scene which harks back to the
heydays of the 1920s and 30s and the new found wealth in the city are
helping to reinvent Shanghai as a place with a fabulous and optimistic
style and attitude.