Shang Hai literally means “above the sea” and gave the name of this city.
Shanghai is now the biggest city in the world with an astounding 24M inhabitants. Yet the city feels surprisingly spacious, modern and a nice place to live in.
I probably was lucky to get a clear sky, I must say pollution was not a big issue during my short stay there.
The Bund 外灘
Perhaps the most iconic view of Shanghai is the Bund, which is a remain of the colonial past as Shanghai was one of the main ports of trading with Europe, and the Asian financial hub before the communist party took over and closed down the country.
The area effectively looks like Europe, but no precise place in Europe, more a blend of different styles of different european countries.
In front of the Bund is the business district of Pudong, which did not exist at all before 1994 – the old people still call this area “the countryside” which is quite amusing since it hosts some of the tallest buildings in the world – the Shanghai tower, now the highest in Asia with 632m is being completed (also known as “the Bamboo shot”), sits next to the World Financial Center (the “can opener”), 492m, built by a Japanese company originally.
The story goes that Shanghai sits on the back of a dragon, and the head is in Pudong. The Japanese, who also believe in Feng Shui, and hoping to crush China’s economic strength, originally wanted to build the tower in the shape of a Katana (japanese sword) that symbolically killed the Chinese dragon. Next a design was proposed with a round hole at the top, which reminded of the Japanese flag. In order to appease critics the design was changed to a rectangular hole in the end making it look like a can opener!
The night view rivals that of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour!
One of the main shopping, hanging out streets in Shanghai, where my hotel was (I recommend you stay there, Sofitel Hyland! – good breakfast too ;))
Morning Tai Chi
Global City… could be anywhere in the world…
But a few steps away it’s decidedly China
Yu Garden & China Town
Shanghai is so marked by western architecture that it even has its own Chinatown, that is home to one of the most beautiful gardens i’ve seen through this trip:
One of the best Tea Houses, recommended by President XI Jinping. “Bamboo shot” in the background with its 632m!
Appreciate the roof decorations… dragons, cranes…
M50 Art District
One of the interesting thing of Shanghai is its arts district: build in old factories it’s a group of galleries of the booming Shanghai art scene:
There used to be an area in Shanghai that was owned by French: