Shanghai is the largest and most populous city in China, with over 20 million inhabitants, making it one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. Shanghai China today is a modern cosmopolitan city with a 21st century skyline, a charming old town and one of the largest collections of Art Deco buildings in the world, hailing from the European and American commercial concessions of the 1920′s and early 1930′s. Located at the mouth of the Yangtze River, a once sleepy fishing village by the sea (the two Chinese characters that make the name Shang Hay, literally mean ‘By the Sea’ or ‘Upon the Sea’) was opened to trade with the West after the treaty of Nanking in 1842. The city grew and prospered during the second half of the 19th century and the foreign traders negotiated the creation of several Concessions, the most famous been the French, American and a British concessions, but Shanghai also harbored a large number of White Russians, Germans and European Jews. The large amount of European traders and refugees during the 1930′s gave the city the feel and look of a European metropolis with many Art Deco buildings along the waterfront (the Bund) and European style homes, notably inside the French concessions, giving the city the Nickname of the ‘Paris of the East’ or the “Pearl of the Orient”.
Shanghai was the scene of several bloody battles during the 1930′s, starting with the so called ‘Incidents’ of the Sino-Japanese war and culminating with the Japanese Army taking complete control over the entire city, including the foreign concessions by 1941. During the Japanese occupation foreign traders were sent to concentration camps and most of the factories destroyed (as seen on the movie ‘The Empire of the Sun’), but the Japanese returned the city when they surrendered unconditionally in 1947. The triumph of the communist rebels in 1949 forced the remaining foreign companies to relocate to Hong Kong and Shanghai ceased to be a global city for decades, even though it still was a mayor center of industry and learning within Communist China. The city re-opened to western investment with the economic liberalization of the early 1990′s and grew exponentially after the transfer of Hong Kong back to Chinese control. The creation of the Pudong district, across from the old Bund, marked a new era of space age towers and economic prosperity that characterized the first decade of the 21st century. Shanghai today is a vibrant cosmopolitan city that is as much a product of new China as a place with a long history that can be appreciated in the eclectic architectural mix of East and West, the old and the new, communism powered by capitalism. Shanghai is a city of the future.
Shanghai is served by two airports, Pudong is the main international gateway and Hongqiao serves mostly domestic flights. Shanghai Airlines operates both domestic and international services. Pudong Airport has a high tech mag- lev train that puts you in the city center in 7 minutes. Shanghai has two rail stations, long distance buses and ferry service to Hong Kong and Japan. Get a Shanghai Jiaotong Card valid on the metro and buses. Use the metro to get around, but each individual district is best explored by foot.
Things To Do:
Shanghai is a city of districts, check out The Bund, with its collection of waterfront Art Deco buildings dating back to the 1920′s. The French concession district preserves some of the palatial mansions of the French traders. Jade Buddha Temple, located in the western part of Shanghai, was built more than 100 years back and today it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. You can visit Shanghai Museum to learn more about the history of the city. This ultra-modern building is filled with treasures and art-work and it is definitely worth a visit. Nanjing Road is a great pedestrian shopping district with three kilometer stretch of shops, cafes and restaurants. A Shanghai map will help you know the famous tourist destinations to be visited in the city.
Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate and has four distinct seasons. Shanghai’s summers are very hot and humid. July and August are the hottest months where the mercury can raise up to a maximum of 27.4 degrees centigrade. The months of January to early February are the months where the mercury level can dip up to 3 degrees centigrade. Shanghai receives abundant rainfall from mid June to early July. During July and September strong storms with torrential rain become frequent and the travelers are advised not to travel in these months. It seldom snows at Shanghai.
You can find plenty of Shanghai hotels to stay in while your visit to the city – from luxury stays to budget stay. Most of the hotels have a perfect blend of comfort, cozy atmosphere and impeccable service, making your holiday the most unforgettable one. Most of the hotels in Shanghai provide car rental services to important tourist attraction.