Shanghai is the largest Chinese city by population and the largest city proper by population in the world. It is one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of the Peoples Republic of China, with a population of more than 24 million as of 2013. It is a global financial center, and a transport hub with one of the worlds busiest container ports. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in East China, Shanghai sits on the south edge of the mouth of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. 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.
For centuries a major administrative, shipping, and trading town, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to European recognition of its favorable port location and economic potential, suitable to their interests. The city was one of five opened to foreign trade following the British victory over China in the First Opium War while 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 center of commerce between east and west, and became the undisputed financial hub of the Asia Pacific in the 1930s. However, with the Communist Party takeover of the mainland in 1949, trade was reoriented to focus on socialist countries, and the citys 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.
The Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building in the world, standing at 2,073 feet.
Shanghai is located in the time-zone called China Standard Time. The city is eight hours ahead of London, and 13 hours ahead of the east coast of the US.
Shanghai Golden Eagle is a professional baseball team based in Shanghai and a member of the China Baseball League.
KFC is ridiculously popular in Shanghai. The franchise fried up it's first batch of chicken in Shanghai in 1989.
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Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as the Bund, City God Temple and Yu Garden as well as the extensive Lujiazui skyline and major museums including the Shanghai Museum and the China Art Museum. It has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China.
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During the Song dynasty (960–1279) Shanghai was upgraded in status from a village to a market town in 1074, and in 1172 a second sea wall was built to stabilize the ocean coastline, supplementing an earlier dike. From the Yuan dynasty in 1292 until Shanghai officially became a municipality in 1927, central Shanghai was administered as a county under Songjiang Prefecture, whose seat was at the present-day Songjiang District.
Two important events helped promote Shanghais development in the Ming dynasty. A city wall was built for the first time in 1554 to protect the town from raids by Japanese pirates. It measured 10 metres (33 feet) high and 5 kilometres (3 miles) in circumference. During the Wanli reign (1573–1620), Shanghai received an important psychological boost from the erection of a City God Temple in 1602. This honour was usually reserved for places with the status of a city, such as a prefectural capital not normally given to a mere county town, as Shanghai was. It probably reflected the towns economic importance, as opposed to its low political status.
During the Qing dynasty, Shanghai became one of the most important sea ports in the Yangtze Delta region as a result of two important central government policy changes: In 1684, the Kangxi Emperor reversed the Ming dynasty prohibition on oceangoing vessels – a ban that had been in force since 1525; and in 1732 the Yongzheng Emperor moved the customs office for Jiangsu province (???; see Customs House, Shanghai) from the prefectural capital of Songjiang to Shanghai, and gave Shanghai exclusive control over customs collections for Jiangsus foreign trade. As a result of these two critical decisions, by 1735 Shanghai had become the major trade port for all of the lower Yangtze region, despite still being at the lowest administrative level in the political hierarchy.
International attention to Shanghai grew in the 19th century due to European recognition of its economic and trade potential at the Yangtze. During the First Opium War (1839–1842), British forces occupied the city. The war ended with the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, which allowed the British to dictate opening the treaty ports, Shanghai included, for international trade. The Treaty of the Bogue signed in 1843, and the Sino-American Treaty of Wanghia signed in 1844 forced Chinese concession to European and American desires for visitation and trade on Chinese soil. Britain, France (under the 1844 Treaty of Whampoa), and the United States all carved out concessions outside the walled city of Shanghai, which was still ruled by the Chinese.
The Chinese-held old city of Shanghai fell to the rebels of the Small Swords Society in 1853 but was recovered by the Qing government in February 1855. In 1854, the Shanghai Municipal Council was created to manage the foreign settlements. Between 1860–1862, the Taiping rebels twice attacked Shanghai and destroyed the citys eastern and southern suburbs, but failed to take the city. In 1863, the British settlement to the south of Suzhou Creek (northern Huangpu District) and the American settlement to the north (southern Hongkou District) joined in order to form the Shanghai International Settlement. The French opted out of the Shanghai Municipal Council and maintained its own concession to the south and southwest.
Citizens of many countries and all continents came to Shanghai to live and work during the ensuing decades; those who stayed for long periods – some for generations – called themselves "Shanghailanders". In the 1920s and 1930s, almost 20,000 White Russians and Russian Jews fled the newly established Soviet Union and took up residence in Shanghai. These Shanghai Russians constituted the second-largest foreign community. By 1932, Shanghai had become the worlds fifth largest city and home to 70,000 foreigners. In the 1930s, some 30,000 Jewish refugees from Europe arrived in the city.
The Sino-Japanese War concluded with the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which elevated Japan to become another foreign power in Shanghai. Japan built the first factories in Shanghai, which were soon copied by other foreign powers. Shanghai was then the most important financial center in the Far East. All this international activity gave Shanghai the nickname "the Great Athens of China"
Under the Republic of China, Shanghais political status was raised to that of a municipality on 14 July 1927. Although the territory of the foreign concessions was excluded from their control, this new Chinese municipality still covered an area of 828.8 square kilometres (320.0 sq mi), including the modern-day districts of Baoshan, Yangpu, Zhabei, Nanshi, and Pudong. Headed by a Chinese mayor and municipal council, the new city governments first task was to create a new city center in Jiangwan town of Yangpu district, outside the boundaries of the foreign concessions. The "Greater Shanghai Plan" included a public museum, library, sports stadium, and city hall, which were partially constructed when the plan was interrupted by the Japanese invasion.
On 28 January 1932, Japanese forces struck and the Chinese resisted, fighting to a standstill; a ceasefire was brokered in May. The Battle of Shanghai in 1937 resulted in the occupation of the Chinese administered parts of Shanghai outside of the International Settlement and the French Concession. The foreign concessions were occupied by the Japanese on 8 December 1941 and remained occupied until Japans surrender in 1945, during which time war crimes were committed.
On 27 May 1949, the Peoples Liberation Army took control of Shanghai. Under the new Peoples Republic of China (PRC), Shanghai was one of only three municipalities not merged into neighboring provinces over the next decade (the others being Beijing and Tianjin). Shanghai underwent a series of changes in the boundaries of its subdivisions, especially in the next decade. After 1949, most foreign firms moved their offices from Shanghai to Hong Kong, as part of a foreign divestment due to the Communist victory.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Shanghai became an industrial center and center for radical leftism; the leftist Jiang Qing and her three cohorts, together the Gang of Four, were based in the city. Yet, even during the most tumultuous times of the Cultural Revolution, Shanghai was able to maintain high economic productivity and relative social stability. During most of the history of the PRC, Shanghai has been a comparatively heavy contributor of tax revenue to the central government, with Shanghai in 1983 contributing more in tax revenue to the central government than Shanghai had received in investment in the prior 33 years combined. This came at the cost of severely crippling Shanghais infrastructural and capital development. Its importance to the fiscal well-being of the central government also denied it economic liberalizations begun in 1978. Shanghai was finally permitted to initiate economic reforms in 1991, starting the massive development still seen today and the birth of Lujiazui in Pudong.
Shanghai lies on Chinas east coast roughly equidistant from Beijing and Guangzhou. The Old City and modern downtown Shanghai are now located in the center of an expanding peninsula between the Yangtze River Delta to the north and Hangzhou Bay to the south, formed by the Yangtzes natural deposition and by modern land reclamation projects. The provincial-level Municipality of Shanghai administers both the eastern area of this peninsula and many of its surrounding islands. It is bordered on the north and west by Jiangsu, on the south by Zhejiang, and on the east by the East China Sea. Its northernmost point is on Chongming Island, now the second-largest island in mainland China after its expansion during the 20th century. The municipality does not, however, include an exclave of Jiangsu on northern Chongming or the two islands forming Shanghais Yangshan Port, which are part of Zhejiangs Shengsi County. This deep-water port was made necessary by the increasing size of container ships but also the silting of the Yangtze, which narrows to less than 20 meters (66 ft) as far out as 45 miles (70 km) from Hengsha.
Downtown Shanghai is bisected by the Huangpu River, a man-made tributary of the Yangtze that was created by order of Lord Chunshen during the Warring states Period. The historic center of the city was located on the west bank of the Huangpu (Puxi), near the mouth of Suzhou Creek, connecting it with Lake Tai and the Grand Canal. The central financial district Lujiazui has grown up on the east bank of the Huangpu (Pudong). The destruction of local wetlands occasioned by the creation of Pudong International Airport along the peninsulas eastern shore has been somewhat offset by the protection and expansion of the nearby shoals of Jiuduansha as a nature preserve.
Shanghais location on an alluvial plain means that the vast majority of its 6,340.5 km2 (2,448.1 sq mi) land area is flat, with an average elevation of 4 m (13 ft). Its sandy soil has required its skyscrapers to be built with deep concrete piles to stop them from sinking into the soft ground of the central area. The few hills such as She Shan lie to the southwest and the highest point is the peak of Dajinshan Island in Hangzhou Bay (103 m or 338 ft). The city has many rivers, canals, streams and lakes and is known for its rich water resources as part of the Lake Tai drainage area.
Shanghai is the commercial and financial center of mainland China, and ranks 16th in the 2015 edition of the Global Financial Centres Index published by the Z/Yen Group and Qatar Financial Centre Authority. It was the largest and most prosperous city in the Far East during the 1930s, and rapid re-development began in 1990s. This is exemplified by the Pudong District, a former swampland reclaimed to serve as a pilot area for integrated economic reforms. By the end of 2009, there were 787 financial institutions, of which 170 were foreign-invested. In 2009, the Shanghai stock exchange ranked third among worldwide stock exchanges in terms of trading volume and sixth in terms of the total capitalization of listed companies, and the trading volume of six key commodities including rubber, copper and zinc on the Shanghai Futures Exchange all ranked first in the world. In September 2013, with the backing of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang the city launched the China (Shanghai) Pilot free-trade zone-the first free-trade zone in mainland China. The Zone introduced a number of pilot reforms designed to create a preferential environment for foreign investment. In April 2014, The Banker reported that Shanghai "has attracted the highest volumes of financial sector foreign direct investment in the Asia-Pacific region in the 12 months to the end of January 2014". In August 2014, Shanghai was named FDi magazines Chinese Province of the Future 2014/15 due to "particularly impressive performances in the Business Friendliness and Connectivity categories, as well as placing second in the Economic Potential and Human Capital and Lifestyle categories".
Because of Shanghais status as the cultural and economic center of East Asia for the first half of the twentieth century, it is popularly seen as the birthplace of everything considered modern in China. It was in Shanghai, for example, that the first motor car was driven and (technically) the first train tracks and modern sewers were laid. It was also the intellectual battleground between socialist writers who concentrated on critical realism, which was pioneered by Lu Xun, Mao Dun, Nien Cheng and the famous French novel by Andre Malraux, Mans Fate, and the more "bourgeois", more romantic and aesthetically inclined writers, such as Shi Zhecun, Shao Xunmei, Ye Lingfeng, and Eileen Chang.
In the past 5 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 Yanan Elevated Road are a few examples that have helped to boost Shanghais cyberpunk image.
Shanghai boasts several museums of regional and national importance. The Shanghai Museum of art and history has one of the best collections of Chinese historical artifacts in the world, including important archaeological finds since 1949. The Shanghai Art Museum, located in the former Shanghai Race Club building in the Peoples Square, is a major art museum holding both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Shanghai Natural History Museum is a large scale natural history museum. In addition, there is a variety of smaller, specialist museums, some housed in important historical sites such as the site of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea and the site of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Rockbund Art Museum is also in Shanghai. Besides public museums, there are also many art galleries in Shanghai. Tianzifang is a good place to visit those galleries.
Shanghai cuisine, also known as Hu cuisine, is popular style of Chinese food. In a narrow sense, Shanghai cuisine refers only to what is traditionally called Benbang cuisine (, lit. "local cuisine") which originated in Shanghai; in a broad sense,it refers to complex and developed styles of cooking under profound influence of those of the surrounding provinces – Jiangsu and Zhejiang –. It takes "color, aroma and taste" as its elements like Other Chinese regional cuisines, and emphasizes in particular the use of seasonings?the quality of raw materials and original flavors.
Shanghais street food scene
Shanghai dishes usually look red and shiny, for they are often pickled in wine and their cooking methods include baking, stewing, braising, steaming, deep-frying, etc. Fish, crab, chicken are "drunken" with spirits and are briskly cooked, steamed, or served raw. Salted meats and preserved vegetables are also commonly used to enhance the dish. Sugar is an important ingredient in Shanghai cuisine, especially when used in combination with soy sauce. Another characteristic is the use of a great variety of seafood. Rice is dominantly served over noodle or other wheat products. Shanghai cuisine stresses on using condiments and keeping the original flavors of the materials and has features of being fresh, smooth and crispy. It aims at lightness in flavor, and beautifulness in decoration. The raw materials of Shanghai dishes are well cut, and the colors harmoniously arranged. Now, special attention is being paid to low-sugar and low-fat food, a good quantity of vegetables and nutritional values. Generally Shanghai cuisine is mellower and slightly sweet in taste. Sweet and sour is a typical Shanghai taste.
Must have dishes when eating shanghai food
Shanghai cuisine is the youngest among the ten major cuisines in China though with a history of more than 400 years. Traditionally called Benbangcuisine, it originated in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1840). In the later part of 19th century after Shanghai became a major domestic and international trading port, Benbangdishes underwent some substantial changes by adopting certain merits of other cuisines. It formed a complex flavor structure, cooking style and technique norm.