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SHANGHAI

 

A legacy of wealth and prosperity combined with today’s pioneering drive and forward thinking has created a string of mega cities full of dizzying variety, intertwined with a strong cultural identity. Few cities capture the imagination like Shanghai on China’s eastern seaboard. Its glamour, energy, the food and constant buzz of excitement and mystique create a compelling destination. Located in the centre of Shanghai in People's Square is the Shanghai Museum, containing one of the finest collections of ancient Chinese art and antiques. The distinctive building was designed in the shape of an ancient bronze Chinese cooking vessel called a ding.

 

Today’s Shanghai has regained its place as China’s preeminent financial capital, and with a population estimated to be in excess of 19 million, it is also the largest city in China. It is without doubt the most vibrant city in China and is well on its way to once again being a multicultural metropolis that effortlessly blends the modern and traditional. Situated on the estuary of the mighty Yangtze River, Shanghai was originally a small seaside fishing village, settled since the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) and not officially declared a city until 1927.

 

The Bund, also called Zhongshan Road, is Shanghai’s iconic waterfront and regarded as the symbol of the city for hundreds of years. It starts from the Baidu Bridge, which is at the connecting point of the Huangpu River and the Suzhou Creek, continuing to the East Jinling Road winding southeast for about a mile. Walking along the Bund reveals the true beauty of Shanghai’s ever changing skyline.

 

Hangzhou was the capital of the Southern Song dynasty (1127 – 1276 AD) of China and was the largest city in the world at the time. The Grand Canal from Hangzhou to Beijing is the longest canal in the world and stretches over 1700 kilometers, serving as the main thoroughfare between southern and northern China since the 7th century.

 

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SHANGHAI – ATTRACTIONS

 

Nanjing Road

Nanjing Road, which is honored as "China's No. l Street", has become an all-weather pedestrian arcade. Shops and restaurants provide products and services with their own characteristics, making it an ideal place that integrates shopping, restaurants, amusement and sightseeing.

 

Bund 

The Bund is a must for visitors to Shanghai. Fifty-two buildings lining the narrow shoreline of the Huangpu River offer a living exhibition of Gothic, Baroque, Roman, Classic Revival and Renaissance architectural styles, as well as combinations of Chinese and Western styles. They are also a condensation of the recent history of the city. The wide embankment offers ample room for strolling and is used by locals for morning exercises and evening gatherings. In the evening, colorful lights illuminate the area and create a shimmering image deserving of the name Pearl of the Orient.

 

Tower of Oriental Pearl 

The Tower of Oriental Pearl is a broadcasting & television tower, which is the world's third tallest TV tower after the 553-meter CN Tower in Toronto and the 535-meter Moscow TV Tower. It is situated in the tip of Lujiazui on the eastern shore of Huangpu River, facing off the classic beauty of the Bund. With a giddy height of 468 meters, the tower is Shanghai's new landmark and a big magnet for tourists. Every visitor will invariably be overwhelmed by its serenity and grandeur. The glittering light on the top sparkles at night, radiating rays of hope to everyone who views it.

 

Huangpu River Cruise 

Cruising on the Huangpu River, visitors can gaze at the mighty skyscrapers, the Monument Tower to the People's Heroes, the famous Waibaidu Bridge and Huangpu Park on one bank, and the Orient Pearl TV Tower, International Convention Center, Jin Mao Building and the newly rising Pudong New Area on the other. The Yangpu and Nanpu bridges span the river. From the river, visitors can also view the ruins of ancient cannon emplacements and fortifications at Wusong and the magnificent view of the Yangtze River as it empties into the sea.

 

Yu Yuan Garden

The Yuyuan Garden is situated to the south-east of the city center and extends an area riddled with a maze of little lanes, which was formerly surrounded by a city wall. The hustle and bustle of life and dealing dominates the area. Wandering through the Old Town offers opportunities for shopping or eating and drinking. The Yu Yuan Garden situated to the north east of the Yu Yuan, covers an area of over 20,000sq.m/21,880sq.yd and consists of an outer and an inner garden. The garden was laid out in 1559 by a high state official in the style of Suzhou. Outside the garden can be found the very popular Tea-House in the Heart of the Lake, reached from the bank by a zigzag bridge.

 

Jade Buddha Temple 

Located in the city of Shanghai and as one of its famous Buddhist temples; Yufo Temple belongs to the Chan sect, and has a history of over one hundred years.

 

During the reign of Emperor Guangxu, Monk Huigen from Putuo Mountain, on his way home after paying homage to Buddha in India, brought back from Myanmar 5 jade statures of Buddha of various size, and left in Shanghai 2 white-jade statues of one seated and one reclining of Sakyamuni for the specially built temple in Jiangwan, hence the name of the Temple. It was moved to the present address in 1918. The Jade Buddha Temple constructed in the style of the palace architecture of the Song Dynasty comprises the Hall of Heavenly King, the Precious Hall of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Reclining Buddha, and the Pavilion of Jade Buddha etc.

 

Shanghai Museum 

The Shanghai Museum at the People's Square is in the possession of a collection of 123,000 cultural artifacts in 21 categories, but bronze ware, ceramics, calligraphy and painting are its forte. A vast collection of exhibits, world-class architecture, and high-tech facilities explain why the Shanghai Museum can attract visitors who come in a constant stream from every nook and cranny of the world.

 

Zhujiajiao Water Town

Located in a suburb of Shanghai city, Zhujiajiao is an ancient water town well-known throughout the country, with a history of more than 1700 years. Covering an area of 47 square kilometers, the little fan-shaped town glimmers like a bright pearl in the landscape of lakes and mountains. Endowed with another elegant name - "Pearl Stream" - the little town is the best-preserved among the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Unique old bridges across bubbling streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees, and houses with courtyards attached all transport people who have been living amidst the bustle and hustle of the modern big city to a brand-new world full of antiquity, leisure and tranquility.

 

Suzhou

Known as the Venice of the East and China’s garden city, Suzhou is a city steeped in history and natural beauty. Located on the shores of Taihu, one of the largest freshwater lakes in China, and just south of the mighty Yangtze River, Suzhou is renowned for its waterside architecture with many areas still preserving the network of canals and waterways that used to crisscross the city. However Suzhou’s greatest claim to fame is its classical gardens. These splendid gardens date back to the Ming dynasty and have since been regarded as paragons of Chinese classical garden design.

 

Hangzhou

Surrounded by beautiful rolling green hills and tea terraces where the famous Dragon Well green tea grows, Hangzhou’s centerpiece and best known landmark is West Lake, long considered the most splendid lake in all of China and celebrated by countless poets and artists through the ages. Today Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang and home to over 8 million people. It is still one of the most popular destinations within China and more accessible than ever, being only 50 minutes by high-speed train from Shanghai.