Shanghai © JesseW900
Situated on the coastline where the Yangtze River
flows into the East China Sea is China's largest city, Shanghai,
home to about 24 million people. The name of the city means 'on the
sea', and most of it (including Chongming Island) is only a few
metres above sea level, criss-crossed by a maze of picturesque
Shanghai is China's industrial and commercial
capital. It is a busy seaport, a science and technology centre, and
has a vibrant business community. Visitors don't generally come to
Shanghai for its scenic beauty or history, but those who arrive on
business can find plenty of off-duty entertainment and relaxation.
Indeed, the city is drawing an 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 temples and gardens to visit along with a
handful of excellent museums.
This great cosmopolitan metropolis 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 independent enclaves. 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 but, since the early 1990s,
a dramatic re-building programme has been underway to put Shanghai
back on the map as a major international finance and trade centre.
The World Financial Centre, completed in 2008, is one of the
tallest buildings on Earth and symbolic of this glitzy