Beijing is widely considered one of the world’s great cities. It has a population of..Xian Information
Xi'an is like the dignified old man who has lived on your street since you were a kid. He's been..
Shanghai of the past may conjure up images of narrow back alleys and dim smokey opium dens, speeding rickshaws and ponytailed Chinese men, a city of commerce with traders from all around the globe. But the Shanghai of today is a vastly different picture - one of gleaming glass skyscrapers, blinding neon lights, big business, consumer goods, and luxury cars. Although, behind all the modern trappings there's still a hint of the mysterious, and romantic old world China waiting for those who want to discover it.
Situated in eastern China Shanghai started life as a sleepy, little rural fishing village on the Yangtze River delta in the 11th century. It remained just an ordinary, unassuming town until the mid 1800s when it was one of only a handful of Chinese cities opened to international trade after the Opium Wars. As a result Shanghai soon became one of the largest cities in China and was home home to many different nationalities from around the world.
Accompanying the rapid economic growth of the early twentieth century were an increase in gambling, prostitution and the drug trade - mainly opium. The Japanese occupied Shanghai for much of the second World War until their surrender in 1945 brought control back to the Chinese government. In 1949 the Peoples Liberation Army seized control of the city and it became part of Communist China.
Although Shanghai had had a strong economic base for much of its history the economic reforms of the early 1990s finally allowed for the vast and rapid development seen in the last few decades. Shanghai is now one of China's largest and most developed cities with strong industry and business holdings, as well as leading the way in science, education and the arts.
Shanghai is a vast city with seemingly endless possibilities for visitors wanting to see everything - but unless you have a lifetime to spend here you'll only scratch the surface. Be prepared for a lot of walking because once you've discovered one part of the city it's very easy to just keep exploring. However there is a very good public transport system that allows visitors to travel around the city quickly and easily.
For those interested in viewing classic western architecture of the early to mid twentieth century as well as the striking ultra-modern architecture of today a visit to The Bund along the banks of the Huangpu River is definitely worth the effort. It is often referred to as the 'Paris of the East.'
The Yu Yuan Gardens are a beautiful example of classical garden design from the Ming period. The gardens were designed and cultivated over five centuries ago and offer an oasis of serenity while the bustling city of Shanghai almost disappears to a low hum in the background.
The Shanghai Museum is not far from the Peoples Square and has thousands of exhibits from all over the country which give a great insight into the history and culture of China. Not far away is the incredible Urban Planning Exhibition Hall which not only details the history of town planning in Shanghai but also the future plans for the city. The Exhibition os spread over six stories and also offers many interactive displays.
For those with an appetite for shopping Shanghai offers a dizzying array of department stores, specialty shops, high end fashion outlets and markets for both day and night. Nanjing Road is the most famous shopping district in Shanghai and it's said you can buy anything you can imagine within it's 5km length.
Shanghai is a remarkable city of today, with an amazing history and an exciting future, so come and enjoy the city as it's meant to be seen - in the streets and on foot. You'll never forget it!