China has had a long (and sometimes contentious) history of trade with Europe. The Silk Road over-land route to Europe was complemented by the sea routes which connected Shanghai with the markets of France and England, and later many other countries which opened trading houses and financial exchanges here.

The Bund was originally British, but was built out to host other countries’ foreign emissaries and embassies.  Today it is a pedestrian boardwalk and mooring for tourist riverboats.

Across from the Bund is the district of Pudong, the modern financial and business district of the city with it’s unique “Oriental Pearl” TV tower.


In the old city district a Ming Dynasty garden, called Yuyuan, shows traditional temples, tea-houses and markets of wooden architecture. It feels a bit like an amusement park of history with a vast marketplace of trinkets and packaged souvenirs for tourists, where carp bob up for food cast into the ponds by sightseers.

As you stroll further from the river, you’ll stumble across small temples spread throughout the neighborhoods. If you hang out here for a little bit you may witness one of the offering ceremonies led by the temple priests.


Along the city streets, awnings unfurl every day to extend the storefronts onto the sidewalks and streets to entice the eye with fresh produce for the local chefs.

The national museum has a fantastic collection of bronze instruments, caligraphic paintings, ceramics and Buddhist religious relics.

As you a bit further inland you come to Hangzhou, a Unesco Heritage Site on the banks of the West Lake.  This was a southern terminus for the Grand Canal of China, which spanned all the way north to Beijing.



Shanghai Photos on Flickr

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