Throughout the past century,
Shanghai has had numerous name tags attached to
it-Paris of the Orient and the 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.
Next to Chongqing, which became the
4th municipal city in 1995, Shanghai is now the
second largest city in China with a population
of 13 million. Being the most prosperous city
in the country, Shanghai serves as the economic,
financial centre of China, while Beijing is the
political heart. And this impression of Shanghai
as a fast and modern metropolis is certainly what
most visitors would have. Those old preconceptions
of Shanghai as the home of crime vice and prostitution
have far been wiped away, as the city successfully
projects an image of itself as young, vigorous
What make Shanghai particularly attractive
are the many different styles of architecture
and design throughout the city. Shanghai was once
divided 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.
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 where you
can 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.
Rather than a place with interesting
history, Shanghai is more a fast progressing modern
city. The pace of development here is unbelievable.
Currently, seventeen percent of the world's cranes
are working here 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, is unrecognizable from the way it
was when development began here 10 years ago.
Two of the most impressive city structures are
found here, the 88-storeyed Jinmao Tower and the
Oriental TV Tower.
For any visitors to Shanghai,
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 city has a perfect
integration of the past and today's trend.