Shanghai is China’s largest city – it is modern, fast-paced and a growing hub for business, culture and the arts.
With a population of over 20 million, the megapolis is China’s most developed city. Known as the ‘Paris of the East’, Shanghai’s culture is a modern fusion of East and West thanks to its colonial past. Catholic churches stand side by side with ancient Buddhist temples, while the heritage buildings on the Bund face the modern skyscrapers of Pudong.
The Shanghainese love for glamour, wealth and western culture is evident from its 1920s calendar girls, romance novels and film industry which helped to pave the way for modern Chinese culture. The traditional Chinese dress, qipao, was also a symbol of modern Shanghai in the 1930s.
The city’s culture is a unique blend of traditional and modern, Eastern and Western. Shanghai’s history as a commercial trading port is evident event from its name. Shanghai, which means ‘on the sea’, was once a fishing village at the mouth of the Yangzi River.
During the Song dynasty, it grew into a major commercial port trading in silk, cotton and tea. Shanghai was the site of the infamous Opium War in the 1800s, which resulted in the city opening up to foreign traders from Britain, America, France and Russia.
The city has seen economic boom since the open-door policies of 1976 and is today a futuristic and cosmopolitan city.