Once a mere backwater fishing village, the destiny and fortunes of Shanghai changed forever when the British opened their first concession here in 1842, followed soon after by the French and Japanese. By the 1930s, Shanghai had achieved international status as Asia’s foremost commercial center and became known as the colonial “Paris of the East.” Shanghai today retains those charms in the tree-lined streets of the former French Concession and iconic banking houses along the Bund; at the same time, the urban bustle and multitudes of skyscrapers are a testament to Shanghai’s aspirations to be a major international metropolis. Now the financial capital of China, Shanghai is a great place to check out the old, the new and the foreign in this worldly economic and cultural center.
The world’s great foreign commercial houses and banks built their Art Deco and Neoclassical office buildings on what became known as the Bund in the first half of the twentieth century. Today, these European style buildings stand along the western edge of the Huangpu River as a reminder of Shanghai’s nickname: “Paris of the East.” Stroll through the area and soak up the glamorous European style of old Shanghai. You can take a look inside some of these glamorous buildings, including the famous HSBC building with frescos on the ceiling, Astorhouse, home of Shanghai’s first stock exchange, and the Peace hotel, with a springy floor you can actually bounce on. Characterized by feats of strength and daring routines, the “ERA” Chinese acrobatics performance will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
Characterized by feats of strength and daring routines, the “ERA” Chinese acrobatics performance will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. The Intersection of Space and Time is a spellbinding performance that fuses Chinese acrobatic arts with modern technology. Just like Shanghai, ERA evolves through a constant collision between the past and future. The daring routines will have you contorting your own body in suspense at the thrilling energy of the show. Several acts, including “play dooly,” “silk stripes,” and “pyramid of chairs,” are Gold Lion Award winners at the China
The Yu Garden is the most celebrated classical Chinese garden in Shanghai. Ming Dynasty (1368AD – 1644AD) official, Pan Yunduan, commissioned the construction of the garden in 1559 as a gift to his father for him to spend his old age. The Garden is now Shanghai’s most complete example of the Southern Chinese garden style, and must have been a great retirement spot for Pan Yunduan’s father. With pavilions, carp-filled ponds and rockeries, as well as the famous zigzag bridge, a visit to Shanghai is incomplete without a visit to this famous garden. Surrounding the garden is the Cheng Hung Miao Bazaar, a bustling market brimming with Shanghai souvenirs and snacks.
The Shanghai Museum houses one of the world’s finest collections of Chinese artifacts which span over 5,000 years of history. Often cited as the best museum in China, this world-class institution opened in 1995 and is designed in the shape of a Shang-dynasty (1600-1046 BC) bronze vessel, or ding. The museum is most known for its collections of bronze ware, ceramics, calligraphy and painting. The museum gives a great overview of ancient Chinese history.
Home to the site of the first Communist party meeting, Xintiandi bears the face of old Shanghai, laced with an infusion of upscale modern culture. A hip dining, retail and entertainment area filled with international-standard restaurants, boutiques, cafes and bars, Xintiandi’s shops are housed in old shikumen buildings restored to their original appearance. Imagine the glamorous days of old Shanghai’s sophisticated international past, with all the comforts of a modern city. We’ll stroll around the area and take in the sights of Shanghai’s new and old.