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Shanghai Historic Buildings, Sites & Neighborhoods

  • The Bund
  • French Concession
  • Longhua Cemetery of Martyrs
  • Pudong
  • Shanghai Exhibition Center
  • 2010 World Expo
  • Soong Qingling's Former Residence
  • Site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party
  • French Concession

    • Shaanxi South Road

    The former French Concession, stretching from the western edge of the Old City to Avenue Haig (Huashan Road), comprises boulevards, shops, and cafés, and its residents were mainly White Russians and Chinese. It had its own electrical system, judiciary, and police force, whose highest ranking officer "Pockmarked Huang," was the leader of the infamous Green Gang which controlled the opium trade.

    Statue of Sun Yat Sen, Sun Yat Sen Memorial
    Statue of Sun Yat Sen,
    Sun Yat Sen Memorial

    Today, the Concession is centered on Huaihai Road and Nanjing Road – vibrant streets lined with megamalls, boutiques, hair salons, restaurants, and bars – and the area around the stylish Jinjiang Hotel. The hotel's compound includes the Grosvenor Residence, pre-war Shanghai's most exclusive property. The VIP Club, in the hotel's old wing, retains its 1920s architecture. The surrounding streets, especially Tongren Road, come alive at night with lively bars and clubs (see Directory). Another interesting building is the Ruijin Guesthouse at the corner of Fuxing Zhong Road and Shaanxi South Road. This Tudor-style manor is now an inn set in a quiet compound. The Children's Palace at the western end of Yan'an Road was part of an early-1920s estate, and is now a children's arts center. The tourist office arranges tours to watch its singing and dancing shows.

    Longhua Cemetery of Martyrs

    • 180 Longhua Xi Rd.
    • Shanghai Stadium then taxi
    • 021 6468 5995
    • No. 41
    • 8:30am–4pm Tue–Sun

    Shanghai Exhibition Center

    Façade of the Soviet-style Shanghai Exhibition Center
    Façade of the Soviet-style
    Shanghai Exhibition Center
    • 1000 Yan'an Zhong Rd.
    • 021 6247 3438
    • Jing'an Temple
    • 9am–4pm daily

    The enormous Shanghai Exhibition Center is one of the few reminders of the influence the Soviet Union once had in Shanghai. Built in 1954, it was known as the Palace of Sino-Soviet Friendship, and was designed as a place for exhibiting China's techno-logical and agricultural advances since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. Ironically, the building stands on the site of the estate of millionaire Silas Hardoon–Shanghai's biggest capitalist in the 1920s. The Center is worth seeing for its grimly florid Soviet-style architecture. It has an impressively ornate entrance, with columns decorated with red stars, and a gilded spire. Today, it is an exhibition and convention center.

    Entrance, First National Congress of the Chinese Community Party
    Entrance, First National
    Congress of the Chinese
    Community Party

    Nearby on Xinle Road, in the former French Concession, is the old Russian Orthodox Church with its distinctive onion-shaped domes. It served thousands of refugees from the Russian Revolution in 1917. The area around Julu Road and Changle Road, nearby, has a number of interesting Art Deco and early 20th-century villas and mansions constructed by Shanghai's wealthy residents.

    Site of the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

  • 374 Huangpi South Rd
  • Huangpi South Rd
  • 9am–4pm

    This house in the French Concession was the venue for a historic meeting, where representatives of China's communist cells met to form a national party on July 23, 1921. Officially, there were 12 participants including Mao Zedong, but it is believed that many others also attended. The police discovered the meeting and the delegates were forced to escape to a boat on Lake Nan, in Zhejiang. The house has a reconstruction of the meeting, with the original chairs and teacups used by the delegates. The exhibition hall tells the history of the Chinese Communist Party.

    Soong Qingling's Former Residence

    • 1843 Huaihai Zhong Rd.
    • Hengshan Rd
    • 9–11am & 1pm–4:30pm daily

    At the southwestern edge of the city is the fine villa that was the residence of Soong Qingling, wife of the revolutionary leader Dr. Sun Yat Sen. All the Soong siblings – three sisters and a brother – came to wield a lot of influence in China. Of the three sisters, Soong Meiling married Chiang Kai-shek, the head of the Nationalist Republic of China from 1928 to 1949; Ailing married H.H. Kung, the director of the Bank of China, and Soong Qingling married Sun Yat-sen. Her brother, known as T.V. Soong, became Chiang Kai-shek's finance minister. Soong Qingling stayed in China once the Communists took over and became an honorary Communist heroine. She lived in Shanghai after her husband's death, initially in the house they had shared in the former French Concession, before moving to this villa. She died in Beijing in 1981.

    The house is a charming example of a mid-20th-century Shanghai villa. It has some wonderful wood paneling and lacquerwork. Her limousines are still parked in the garage, and some of her personal items are also displayed.

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