The symbol of old and new Shanghai, the Bund (officially known as Zhongshan Lu) is Shanghai's most famous landmark. The Bund is from an Anglo Indian term meaning the muddy embankment on the waterfront, and it is the Huangpu River which helps create the uniquely colonial feel here and provides a feeling of space and openness which is lacking elsewhere in the city.
Four kilometers long, the Bund has long been one of the most important areas in Shanghai. In the 1930s, the row of buildings was host to the city's financial and commercial centers and the world's greatest banks and trading empires established a base here.
At the north end of the Bund and just over the Garden Bridge and Suzhou Creek is what was formerly the British embassy. Also here is a large and atmospheric blue painted building which is the Russian Embassy, sitting precariously on the bank of the river. In colonial times, the Bridge was guarded by Japanese and British sentries marking the boundaries of territory.
On the 'British side' of the bridge is the entrance to Huangpu Park. More of a pedestrian walkway than a conventional park, this area was also under the control of the Brits. The British Public Park (as it was once known) was forbidden territory to Chinese people for years, unless they were accompanying employers. Today, the park is free and open to all and is a well-maintained walkway providing excellent views over the river to Pudong and down river to the old Custom House and other colonial relics.
On the west side of the Bund tower various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, baroque, and Romanesque. The combination of these creates a unique boulevard, which resembles the Liverpool Docks and 1920s New York.
Today, the Bund is still home to many of the city's hotels, bars and banks. The nature of the area has not changed so dramatically either. Huge western banks and office buildings dominate the horizon of the Bund, emphasizing the role the city plays as a commercial and financial base.
The pleasure of the Bund, is that it is not simply a tourist strip but a place that everyone enjoys. At sunrise, the boulevard fills up with people of all ages practicing Tai Chi or dancing. In the day, while visitors file up and down the long strip, its business is running as usual in many of these magnificent buildings. And, in the evenings, couples wander along the river front, holding hands and enjoying the spectacular city lights, buildings and atmosphere of the area which provide a continual reminder that Shanghai was, and in many ways still is, a foreign invention.
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famous writer, Lu Xun, was born in a small city south of Shanghai
called Shaoxing in 1881. This man with humble origins, came to be
recognized as one of the greatest twentieth century Chinese writers.
The main focus of Lu Xun's work was to describe the lives of the
poorer people in Chinese society in a plain style of prose.
It was here that the great writer
produced many of his most famous literary works and translations
including his Madman's Diary, based on the work of Gogol, and
organized activities relating to the "Chinese Liberal Campaign
Alliance" and the "Left Wing Culture League".
Lu Xun moved to Shanghai in 1927, where
he stayed until his death in 1936. Lu Xun's former residence is
located in the former Japanese concession, north of Suzhou Creek. This
house provides another insight into life in old Shanghai, and an
altogether different one from the houses of Zhou
Enlai and Sun
Yatsen, as Lu Xun's residence is typically Japanese in style. The
building is a 3-storied villa with red bricks and red tiles. The rooms
contain various displays of the everyday items the writer used.
There is also a monument, Memorial Hall
and Tomb dedicated to Lu Xun in the nearby, Hongkou Park (also
known as Lu Xun Park), which is a great place to watch Shanghai
residents practicing Tai Chi.
Address: No.9 Lane 132,
Opening Hours: Daily 9-11am, 1.30-4.30pm.
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Madame Song Qingling was the wife of the revolutionary, Sun Yatsen. Song lived at this house on Huaihai Lu at various stages in her life until she died in 1948. Song Qingling (unlike her sister Meiling) remained faithful to the revolutionary cause throughout her entire life and was made an "Honorary President" of the People's Republic.
The house here was built in 1920, and is a pretty western-style three-storied villa. Both this house and Sun Yatsen's former residence are fascinating insights into old Shanghai. There is a pleasant garden here too. On the downstairs lobby walls hang portraits of Dr. Sun Yatsen, Chairman Mao and Madame Song taken when Mao came to visit.
It was in a room here that Song Qingling met leading members of the party and government, and entertained numerous foreign heads of government. Upstairs are Song Qingling's bedroom and office, and a quaint display of what are designated to be "cultural relics" that she used during her lifetime.
How to get there: Take the subway to Hengshan Road station and walk about twenty minutes.
Address: No.1843 Huaihaizhong Road
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Not far from one of the main Shopping districts and in the heart of the French Concession, is the former residence of Dr. Sun Yatsen. Dr. Sun, founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party and his wife, Madame Song stayed here between 1918 and 1924.
This small home is a charming relic of times gone by and a visit here is a great way to break up a shopping trip to Huaihai Lu and remind yourself of how Shanghai used to be. Dr. Sun and his wife were supported by overseas Chinese in Canada who collected money to purchase the house in support of Dr. Sun's revolutionary activities. It was here that Sun Yatsen reshuffled the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), reached an agreement for cooperation between the Chinese Nationalist Party and the Chinese Communist Party, and made out his plan for the "International Development of China."
Today, all the rooms are arranged as they were when Dr. Sun lived here and the house is a fascinating insight into the life of the revolutionary man. The small entrance fee lets you wander round the house and gardens and refreshingly, this is one sight which is usually peaceful and free from the crowds.
Address: No.7 Xiangshan Road.
How to get there: Take the subway to Huaihai Lu and then walk, or take a taxi.
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Zhou Enlai's former residence (Zhougongguan) is located on Sinan Road. It is a three-storey house with a strong French architectural flavor. Zhou Enlai, the former Chinese Prime Minister in the 1960s and 70s is seen by many as one of China's greatest twentieth century leaders. A keen military strategist and an excellent diplomat, Zhou was a key figure in negotiations between the U.S and China in the 1970s. Zhou Enlai lived here during the domestic war.
It was also the representative office of the Communist Party of China from 1946 to 1947 and there are some great black and white photos documenting events that took place here! The house is surrounded by a pretty garden with wicker chairs and has a very colonial feel about it. A visit here is a real trip back in time and it's usually very quiet and peaceful.. The house is surrounded with heavy vegetation.
Address: No. 73 Sinan Lu
Opening Hours: 9-11am; 1-4pm
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Built in 1917, the Great World ( Dashijie )Amusement Center has a checkered past. It was rumored to have been built by a Shanghainese organized crime boss. After Liberation (the Chinese Revolution), the building has been used for various purposes until its' current status as one Shanghai's largest entertainment facilities. Inside there is an art exhibition hall, a multi-purpose hall (tearoom, ballroom, or conference room), a music hall, a theatre, a cinema, recreation hall, a bumper car yard, a video game room, a billiard room, and last, but not least, a laser gun game arena.
The art exhibition hall exhibits calligraphy, painting, folk paper cut, clay sculpture and photographic work of art. In the theatres, one can see Beijing opera, Suzhou opera, Wuxi opera, Zhejiang opera, Shanghai opera, Yangzhou opera, Ningpo opera, Chaozhou opera, Chinese "stand-up" comedy performances (or xiangsheng), acrobatics, and magic. Check local schedules for listings.
The best show of all starts at 7:30 pm nearly everyday with martial arts, acrobatics, ethnic dancing, and lion dancing performances.
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