Shanghai © JesseW900
Home to around 24 million people, Shanghai
is situated on the coast where the Yangtze River flows into the
East China Sea. The country's largest city, Shanghai is
criss-crossed by a maze of picturesque natural waterways and sits
only a few metres above sea level.
The city is China's industrial and
commercial capital, is a busy seaport and is home to vibrant
science-, technology- and business communities. While visitors
don't normally travel to Shanghai for intriguing history or scenic
beauty, there are still plenty of opportunities for entertainment
and relaxation. Indeed, the city is drawing increasing numbers of
tourists with its neon cityscape, exotic nightlife and booming
shopping scene. Just walking the busy streets and soaking up the
vibrant atmosphere is worthwhile, with museums, temples and gardens
to visit along the way.
This great cosmopolitan metro has a
colourful colonial background, which has had the edge rubbed off of
it during half a century of Communist rule. It was the first
Chinese coastal port to be opened to Western trade in 1843,
resulting in an influx of British, French and American diplomats
and business interests, each of which established their own
In the 1920s and '30s, Shanghai was
regarded as a glamorous, decadent and fashionable place to visit.
It all ended with World War II and the coming to power of the
Communist Party of China. But since the early 1990s, a dramatic
rebuilding programme has been underway to put Shanghai back on the
map as a major international finance and trade centre. The Shanghai
Tower stands as the second-tallest building in the world and, along
with the supertall skyscraper World Financial Centre, is symbolic
of this glitzy rejuvenation.
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