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Shanghai The Bund

上海外滩

The Bund (Wai Tan) is one of the symbols of Shanghai.The Bund, Western Zhongshan Road near

The Bund, also called Zhongshan Road, is a famous waterfront regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. It starts at Baidu Bridge, which is located at the connecting point of Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek, to East Jinling Road, stretching over a total 1,500 meters. Walking along the Bund, which lies on the western shores of Huangpu River, one can spot the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Jin Mao Tower. As one of Shanghai's top 10 attractions, the Bund is a very beautiful and special place that is worth a visit. The newly built Flood Control Bank, the statue of Marshal Chen Yi, the Cenotaph, the riverside greenbelt, the Electronic Waterfall Bell and the Great Mural Carving are all must-see sites.   (Picture Click to enlarge)

   
   

The most famous and attractive site, located west of the Bund, is a collection of 52 buildings featuring various architectural styles, such as Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classical and Renaissance. The Bund, as the center of Shanghai's politics, economy and culture hundreds of years ago, was home to foreign consulate offices, banks, businesses and newspaper offices. Although the various structures were not designed by the same person or erected in the same period, their architectural patterns are similar.

   Located along the Huangpu River, the Bund shows off Shanghai's outstanding foreign buildings, most of which were erected before 1937. To the Europeans, the Bund was Shanghai's answer to Wall Street. In the 1930s, the string of buildings hosted the city's financial and commercial centers, and the world's greatest banks and trading empires established a base here.

Huangpu River joins 29 kilometers (18 miles) north of downtown Shanghai and divides Shanghai into two parts, east and west. Cruises are available everyday, including the shorter cruises (navigating the main waterfront area between the Yangpu Bridge and the Nanpu Bridge) and the complete cruises (meandering eastward along the golden waterway, over a distance of 60 kilometers or 37 miles). Whether it is in the daytime or at night, the views along the river are the same beautiful. The great modern skyscrapers and the characteristic buildings in different architectural styles are the best records of the development of the city and the Huangpu River, the birthplace of Shanghai, is the faithful eyewitness.

The Bund or Waitan to the Chinese is a promenade along the entire waterfront founded in the 1880s. The name was given by the British and derives from the Hindustani word band, meaning an artificial causeway or embankment. When the British arrived it was only a moody pathway in the 1840s. It was widened in in the 1920s, and up until the mid 1990's the appearance hadn't changed one bit.

Most of the construction and decoration were imported like tons of rare italian marble. The architectural style range from neo-Grecian to Italian Renaissance and art deco.
From the late 1990s things start to change as foreign investors bought back the pompous buildings from the the government who used the buildings as their offices. Right now several high-class restaurants as M on the Bund or Jean-Georges opened their venues for a rather sophisticated public.

down the river to the old Customs House and other colonial relics.

      On the west side of the Bund are various towering buildings of different architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque. The combination of these structures creates a unique boulevard that resembles the Liverpool Docks and 1920s New York City.

      Today, the Bund is in the process of another transformation. The building, identified by a crowing dome, is the old Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, which was completed in 1921. For many years it has housed the Shanghai People's Municipal Government. The statues that once lined the Bund no longer exist. The pair of bronze lions that once stood outside the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank are now housed at the Bund History Museum.

Looking out on the river, various cargo vessels, speedier tourist ferries and other locally owned boats, some of which remind visitors they are still in a developing country, can be seen navigating the Huangpu. Visitors might need reminding, with the towering skyscrapers, the Oriental Pearl Tower, the neon lights indicating the offices of top world brands and European architecture surrounding them.

The commemorative square at the junction with Nanjing Road features a fountain and a statue of Chen Yi, who in 1949 became the first mayor of Shanghai in the communist era. Opposite the Customs Building is an electronic clock that shows standard times in various world localities on a water-like curtain. All around are Chinese wisterias, gingko trees and azaleas. Buildings in Greek, Renaissance and Baroque styles can be seen along the west of the Bund.

The wharf for pleasure boat rides is also at the end of Nanjing Road. A boat ride on the Huangpu River will take visitors down to the estuary of the Yangtze River and back in just over three hours.

Night View of the Bund
It is worth a visit to see the florid night view of the Bund. Under the tenet of keeping harmony and unity, the use of period lamp-posts is in keeping with the aesthetic feeling of the building structures. It fully exhibits the magnificence of the various buildings of different architectural styles and make up of the best night scene of Shanghai together with the colorful lights floating in the river and the flashing lights on the far side of the river. The night piece of the Bund was named in 'Shanghai top ten night light views' in 2009.


Related Link:
Huangpu River Cruise .or  Bund International Architecture Exhibition

Admission: Free
Opening Times: 09:10 to 22:00
Route: 20, 22, 37, 42, 55, 65, 71, 123, 503, 126, 127, 135, 145, 934, 251, 940, 576, 831, 868, 910, 921, 926, 928


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