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Shanghai Overview

Tiananmen SquareLocated on the estuary of the Yangtze River, Shanghai is the focal point of China. It is the largest city in China. It is spread over an area of 2,239 square miles. Being the industrial hub of China, Shanghai is the largest financial and commercial center of the nation.

Shanghai has been China's foremost international city since its origins in the mid 19th century. Known as the "Paris of the Orient", by the 1920s it was the 3rd largest financial centre in the world. It was also the birthplace of "China modern"--the first motor car, the first feature film and the first Qipao (Cheongsam, one of the most typical and traditional costumes for Chinese women) all appeared in Shanghai.

Shanghai is one of the highly popular tourist destinations of the world. The city is famous for its prosperity, transportation facilities and the seamless melding of western and eastern cultures. Moreover, Shanghai is conveniently linked to several tourist cities like Suzhou and Hangzhou as well as some picturesque water towns, say, Zhouzhuang, Tongli, Xitang and so forth. An Shanghai local and extensive tour is highly recommended.

Shanghai History

Unlike many cities in China with long and varied histories, Shanghai's history is quite short. Before the first Opium War (1840-1842), Shanghai was just a small fishing village on the edge of the muddy Huangpu River. After the war, Shanghai became a treaty port and had some of its land opened as concessions. Since that, Shanghai has developed into one of the world's most modern cities.


1930s: Shanghai has since become the most important port in Asia and the world's largest trading and banking firms have set up house along the Bund.


1937: Japanese bombs hit Shanghai and the foreigners evacuate en masse. Japanese control Shanghai and much of China's eastern coast until their defeat at the hands of the Allied Powers in 1945.


The Bund Shanghai Huaihai Road Shanghai Old Shanghai Calendar Girl
The Bund, 1930s Huaihai Road, 1940s Calendar Girls          


1949: Most foreigners have left Shanghai and the Chinese Communist state takes control of the city and the formerly privately-held businesses. Industry suffers until 1976 under the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) as hundreds of thousands of Shanghainese locals are sent to work in rural areas throughout China.


1976: The advent of Deng Xiaopeng's open door policy allowed a commercial revival to take place in Shanghai.


Present: Shanghai is growing into one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia with increasingly modern infrastructure and services. It's regarded as the most luxurious, wealthiest and biggest city in China.

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