Shanghai is one the largest and most populous cities in China, and is one of the biggest cities in the world with a population in excess of twenty million people. It is often considered to be the city where the East and West meet, and as such is a perfect introduction for Westerners doing their first excursion into the country of China. The city is located on the Eastern coast of China, right at the mouth of the Yangtze River. The name of Shanghai means in English “Onto the Sea”, a phrase which alludes to the time when the area was merely a fishing and trading post dependant on the sea for its survival.
Shanghai was founded in the tenth century. Originally it was a small village that only contained around ten thousand inhabitants. However, in 1127 the city of Kaifeng was conquered creating an influx of refugees into Shanghai. As a result, in a one year period of time, the population grew from ten thousand to over a quarter of a million people.Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, during a period of time known as the Qing Dynasty, Shanghai grew at an exponential rate. This was due in part because of the influx of workers from throughout China looking for work at the many cotton processing plants that operated here. Another factor that contributed to this economic boom was the perception by Western powers that the city was a favorable location to conduct trade between the Western and Eastern countries. One of the most prominent features of Shanghai is its extensive water front named The Bund. This one mile stretch runs along the banks of the Huangpu River and is dotted with dozens of spectacular buildings done in the Art Deco style. It is especially impressive at night when the entire promenade is lit up.
The Shanghai Museum is another attraction popular among visitors to the city. This museum is located in the center of the People’s Square. The People’s Square is a favorite location for people to gather and dance or fly their kites. The museum is bounded by the Grand Shanghai Theatre and contains a below ground shopping center. The museum, which was first opened in 1996 contains an impressive collection of over one hundred and twenty thousands pieces of work divided in twenty three sub-categories. These include works of art, various ceramic objects and metalware. Admission to the public is provided free of charge. Another favorite among tourist in Shanghai is the Church Of Xujianhui. This church is one of the largest Catholic churches in the city and accommodate over twenty five hundred worshippers. The church was built in 1906 and is a perfect example of the Neo-Romanesque style.
The Jade Buddha Temple is another place to visit during your journey through Shanghai. The construction of this temple was finished in 1928 and it contains two Shakyamuni statues that were imported from Burma. Another popular temple is the Confucius Temple Of Jiading. This temple is not located in the proper city limits but is just slightly northwest of Shanghai but is well worth the trip. It was originally built in 1219. It now houses many Buddhist artifacts.
Situated in the north eastern portion of the city is the Yuyuan Garden. This garden is a perfect example of a Chinese garden and was originally built in 1559. This garden covers an area of just over twenty thousand yards. Right outside of the garden is the Huxin Ting Tea House where visitors can refresh both body and mind with one of the many traditional teas served there. For shoppers looking to snag a great bargain than a trip down to the Nanjing Lu. This is one of the primary shopping districts in Shanghai. Here bargains of every sort can be obtained on all sorts of good. This street, which was built during the 19th century is also home to various restaurants, cinemas and department stores.
Shanghai is a city that offers many different cultural and sporting events to its visitors. Many of these are very popular, so be sure to book your hotel as early as possible. Some of the cultural events is the Moon Festival, the Shanghai Chinese New Year and the Shanghai Tourism Festival. The Moon Festival is held every Autumn and is traditionally used to honor the end of the harvest season. It is celebrated with nightly moon watching events and the making of traditional moon cakes. The Shanghai Chinese New Year is one of the cities most intense celebrations. It is usually marked with a grand display of fireworks.
The Shanghai Tourism Festival showcases everything that the city has to offer to its tourist. But, the scale of the celebration extends way beyond that. It also gives visitors a chance to learn the colorful and exciting history and culture of the city. It is celebrated with everything from fireworks to interesting bicycle tours. Recently the city of Shanghai has become part of the Grand Prix circuit with its newly built Shanghai International Circuit.