Throughout the past century,
Shanghai has had numerous name tags attached to
it. 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, where
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 too. Rather, this is a city to be walked,
wandered, explored and discovered in your own
time and, in your own style.
What 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
Pearl TV Tower