Paris of Far East: Shanghai

We started our China trip from Shangai, Paris of the far east. It is a big trade and shopping centre. The city is located on the delta of River Yangtze. While it was just a fishermen’s town in the 19the century, it’s now become one of the busiest and the biggest port cities in the world.

It is the 8th biggest city and the biggest shipping port in the world. It is being said that the skyscrapers in this city are more than the ones in New York. It is a complete megacity with its huge shopping centers, hotel complexes, big highways and sub-roads, night clubs. By the way, they managed to protect their own cultural heritages.

River Huangpuziang divides the city into two. One side of the river is Waitan, while the other part of it is comprised of Oriental Pearl TV Pudong region and skyscrapers.

First, we joined a trip on Huangpuziang to get to know about the city. We passed through the Yangpu Bridge, Nangu Bridge and few others on Huangpuziang. We watched the amazing architectural examples in Waitan, Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Jian Mao Tower, Pudong Region and skyscrapers. It was a delightful view!

The next day, we visited the old Chenghuangmiao temple. It was built in the 15th century with common Chinese architecture. It is an appealing temple with its red columns, red Chinese lanterns, wooden carvings, candlesticks, praying people and flags made of textile on which it was written the names of the people who donated to the temple. There were restaurants serving Chinese cuisine and a lot of shops in the backstreets. The most important restaurant here was Nanxiang Baozi in which Oueen Elizabeth II had dined in it. If you want to go there, you should make an early reservation. The word “baozi” means Chinese meatbags stewed.

We went forward to the Gardens of Yu Yuan. While we were getting to the gardens, there were different shops selling Chinese goods of all kinds on the narrow street that we passed through. There were lots of different options for ones who wants to eat local Chinese food. Also, there were difeerent kinds of bug fries colouring the street.

The gardens of Yu Yuan are also known as Yuan and mean “garden of happiness”. It has a 400 year old history. Han Yunduan who was a minister n the period of Ming Dynasty, had completed the gardens for his father after a 28-years of endeavour. But his father had died before seeing it. After Han Yunduan’s death, his family went into an economic crisis and they had to sell the gardens. After being sold for a couple times, it had been renovated for great expenses by Shangai Municipality.

The garden is comprised of 6 basic parts. There are lots of bridges and towers in it. We passed through a door which was made with common Chinese arcitecture, into the garden and then we passed to a dining hall. The hall was built completely from wood. The roofs, the dragon masks on the roofs reflect the common Chinese architecture well. The rocks behind the hall had been glued to each other with lime and rice glue and there had been made a 12-meters high hill.

We passed through two corridors next to each other while going to the main hall. The wider one of these corridors was made for men while the narrow one was made for women. It was such a huge hall that it had a capacity of 300 people. There was a stage opposite to the hall. The family who had lived here, had been watching operas from this stage.

All the signs around the city are both in Chinese and in English. The distribution of income was disproportional. 5% of Shangai population have been living in very good conditions while 95% of it have been living under the poverty level. Our guide said that their monthly income was between $10 and $15.

Their way of drying clothes was very interesting. They pushed a stick through the arms of a jumper not to be need for ironing. There were lots of clothes being dried like that.

We visited Jade Buddha temple then. It was built in 1882 and there were two Buddha statues here. The most important one was the sitting Buddha which was made of white jade on the second floor of the temple. It was 1,9 meters high and 1,5 ton weight. We reached to the statue after climbing up narrow steps. But taking pictures was forbidden in here. The wooden carvings on the walls were quite attractive.

Jade is a holy stone for Chinese people. They believe that it keeps negative energy away.

When we got to the lower floor, there was again a laying Buddha statue made of white jade. This one was built in recent years. Taking pictures was free on this floor.

We went to the garden of the temple. In the green garden, there were Chinese architecture roofs, red Chinese lanterns and flags everywhere. It was like a spring carnival.

You should see the Theatre of Shangai in the city. This theatre was a 10-floor building located on 2 hectare area in the Shangai city centre. The building was comprised of both the eastern and western culture. It was 70,000m2. The roof of the building was in the shape of spring.

Only the theatre’s lobby was 2,000m2 and all white. There were giant white marble columns and stairs on both sides. There were three saloons in the theatre. The big saloon had a capacity of 1,800 people and three floors, while the others were 600 and 300.

You should see also Shangai Museum of city planning. It was located on 4,000m2 area and comprised of 4 floors. The total area of it was 20,600m2. It was built in between 1998 and 2001. There was an exhibition area of 7,000m2.

The main entrance of the museum was inspired by traditional Chinese city doors. The roof of the museum was also interesting. There were 4 buildings in the shape of magnolia which is a symbol of Shangai. The future city plannings of Shangai were also being exhibited in this museum.

There are few important points to keep in mind about Shangai:

The flushers in here were on the floor. You need to push on to work it.

There were dragon figures on all the roofs in the city. Dragons has no sex.

The peddlers on the streets can be very hard on you and may try a few tricks on you to sell their goods.

Shangai was a complete imitation center. World brands have become catchpennies in here.

ESSENTIALS IN SHANGAI:Oriental Pearl TV Tower, dragon figured roofs, red Chinese lanterns, the gardens of Yu Yuan, the buildings in Waitan, Shangai History Museum, Theatre of Shangai, Shangai city planning  museum, bug fries being sold in the streets and tea ceremony.



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