Shanghai has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China; renowned for its Lujiazui skyline, and museums and historic buildings, such as those along The Bund, as well as the City God Temple and the Yu Garden.
Clockwise from top: A view of the Pudong skyline, Yu Garden, China pavilion at Expo 2010 along with the Expo Axis, neon signs on Nanjing Road, and The Bund
Shanghai (Chinese: 上海) is one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of China and the most populous city in the world, with a population of more than 24 million as of 2017. It is a global financial centre and transport hub, with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta, it sits on the south edge of the estuary of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the East Chinacoast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the north, south and west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea.
As a major administrative, shipping and trading city, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to trade and recognition of its favourable portlocation and economic potential. The city was one of five treaty ports forced open to foreign trade following the British victory over China in the First Opium War. The subsequent 1842 Treaty of Nanking and 1844 Treaty of Whampoa allowed the establishment of the Shanghai International Settlement and the French Concession. The city then flourished as a centre of commerce between China and other parts of the world (predominantly the Occident), and became the primary financial hub of the Asia-Pacific region in the 1930s. However, with the Communist Party takeover of the mainland in 1949, trade was limited to other socialist countries, and the city's global influence declined. In the 1990s, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in an intense re-development of the city, aiding the return of finance and foreign investment to the city. It has since re-emerged as a hub for international trade and finance; it is the home of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, one of the world's largest by market capitalization.
Songjiang Square Pagoda, built in the 11th century
The extensive public park system in Shanghai offers the citizens some reprieve from the urban jungle. By the year 2012, the city had 157 parks, with 138 of them free of charge. Some of the parks, aside from offering a green public space to locals, became popular tourist attractions due to their unique location, history or architecture. The former racetrack turned central park, People's Square park, located in the heart of downtown Shanghai, is especially well known for its proximity to other major landmarks in the city. Fuxing Park, located in the former French Concession of Shanghai, features formal French-style gardens and is surrounded by high end bars and cafes. Zhongshan Park in northwestern central Shanghai is famous for its monument of Chopin, the tallest statue dedicated to the composer in the world. Built in 1914 as Jessfield Park, it once contained the campus of St. John's University, Shanghai's first international college; today, it is known for its extensive rose and peony gardens, a large children's play area, and as the location of an important transfer station on the city's metro system. Shanghai Botanical Gardenis located 12 km (7 mi) southwest of the city center and was established in 1978. One of the newest parks is in the Xujiahui area – Xujiahui Park, built in 1999 on the former grounds of the Great Chinese Rubber Works Factory and the EMI Recording Studio (now La Villa Rouge restaurant). The park has a man-made lake with a sky bridge running across the park, and offers a pleasant respite for Xujiahui shoppers. Other well-known Shanghai parks include: People's Square Park, Gongqing Forest Park, Fuxing Park, Zhongshan Park, Lu Xun Park, Century Park, and Jing'an Park.
People's Square seen from Urban Planning Exhibition Center
Lotus flowers in Zhongshan Park
The Shanghai Disney Resort Project was approved by the government on 4 November 2009, and opened in 2016. The $4.4 billion theme park and resort in Pudong features a castle that is the biggest among Disney's resorts.
Enchanted Storybook Castle of Shanghai Disneyland
In the past years Shanghai has been widely recognized as a new influence and inspiration for cyberpunk culture. Futuristic buildings such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the neon-illuminated Yan'an Elevated Road are a few examples that have helped to boost Shanghai's cyberpunk image.
Oriental Pearl Tower