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Home >> City Guide >> Shanghai

Shanghai

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 and cool.

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.

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