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Shanghai, China City Info
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Known in years past as the “Paris of the East” and “Queen of the Orient”, Shanghai is China’s most populous and sophisticated city.  Its infamous Great World Entertainment Center has been transformed into a modern state-of-the-art theater and Shanghai Youth Center. The wide boulevard known as the Bund was the centerpiece of colonial Shanghai and is a major part of the 21st century showcase that Shanghai has become. 

 

Shanghai (Chinese for on the sea) is a city in eastern China that is situated on the Huannpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze, near the Yangtze River’s mouth to the East China Sea.  Shanghai is China’s main port, commercial hub, and industrial center. 

 

The words most frequently used to describe contemporary Shanghai are:   prosperous and sophisticated.  Its buildings and atmosphere are reminiscent of New York, London, and Paris.  The old and the new dwell in harmony.  Historic avenues and beautiful parks surround busy harbors and crowded streets.  Pagodas, temples, museums, and cultural centers are all part of this bustling city.  Shanghai recently hosted a Millionaires’ Conference for its many residents who now enjoy that income status.

 

Modern Shanghai still retains many reminders of the past.   Rich Eastern charm and Western flavor coexist in the best of both worlds.  The population continues to rise, as people are attracted by Shanghai’s cultural opportunities, by her history, as well as by the pulse and the vigor which this world class metropolis displays.

 

Opera, classical music, jazz, rock, jazz, theater, acrobatics, and dance are all featured on Shanghai’s cultural scene. Shanghai is the birthplace of the Chinese movie and hosts nine annual film festivals.  The Shanghai symphony orchestra has long been held in high regard, and is one of the oldest symphony orchestras in Asia.   The venues are striking in appearance and in capacity.  The Grand Theatre and the Oriental Arts Centre have attracted top international productions.  Traditional Chinese entertainment in the area of Chinese opera and acrobatics continue to delight large audiences as well. 

 

Recent years have brought dramatic changes to nightlife in Shanghai.  New bars and clubs open almost weekly.  A process of sorting has been occurring by which many new offerings are tried and tested with some closing soon after opening, only to be replaced by others (or reopened under new management) within a short period of time.  Sports bars, comedy clubs, theme bars (Egyptian, Irish, glamour and fashion, Middle East, colonial, and others) are all part of the wide array of choices.     

 

The world’s third tallest broadcasting tower, Oriental Pearl Tower, dominates the city skyline from its height of more than 1500 feet.  From its observation deck, visitors can enjoy spectacular views.  Modern Shanghai Museum Park houses one of the most noteworthy collections of the Middle Kingdom and ranks among China’s four largest museums.  Ming and Qing dynasty art are also displayed, along with fine porcelain exhibits. 

 

The Huangpu River divides Central Shanghai into two distinct areas: Pudong (east of the river) and Puxi (west of the river). The best known attractions of interest to visitors are in Puxi, including the Bund, the centerpiece of tourism, (though not the physical center of town). West of the Bund is the former International Settlement and one of Shanghai's main shopping streets, East Nanjing Road. South of the Bund is Old Town, a maze of narrow lanes and landmarks of the heart of the original city of Shanghai. West of this Old Town and hidden in the backstreets north and south of Huaihai Road (Shanghai's premier shopping street) is the former French Concession, with its tree-lined streets, 1930s architecture, cafes, and bars.  At its western end, in Xintiandi, is the more recently established collection of Western-style restaurants and bars. Continuing southeast, the way opens onto the massive shopping mall intersection of Xujiahui. Farther south is Shanghai Stadium.

 

Pudong’s extremely rapid rise as a special economic zone of banks, glass and steel skyscrapers, and upscale residential complexes has been called miraculous.  The spirit of this new area of Shanghai is best characterized by one of its modes of transportation:  the Maglev Train.  The Maglev travels at warp speed through an area that was farmland just 15 years ago.   There is no longer a hint of its rural roots in this burgeoning commercial and residential district of soaring towers and five star hotels.  World class museums such as Shanghai Municipal History Museum, Shanghai Aquarium, and the Science and Technology Museum are presided over by the lofty Oriental Pearl Tower.  Pudong, justifiably, aspires to be the Trade and Finance Center of the Far East.

 

Shanghai, the Eastern Pearl, is a welcoming and enchanting city and a fascinating vacation destination.