Shanghai – Where the Ancient Meets the New

Shanghai – Where the Ancient Meets the New

shanghai the bund. Huangpu River

Posted January 31, 2017

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From historical significance, to popular culture, Shanghai is a Chinese city that intrigues millions.

The seamless blend of ancient and modern add to its impressive infrastructure, and places like Nanjing Road, known as “China’s No.1 Street” because of its highly commercial aesthetic, play up this lure.

Near to the old town is Yuyuan Garden, which also has the City of God Temple close by. The garden’s moving history and exquisite design are a must-visit, and a perfect place to relax. You must also make a stop at the nearby temple, which is now an arts and craft storage center, but was originally dedicated to the spirit of Jinshan (Gold Mountain)—an island just off Shanghai’s coast.

"Yuyuan Garden" by SteFou! is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Yuyuan Garden” by SteFou! is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Many ancient temples still exist along the quaint city streets. In western Shanghai, one of these still has monks in residence, and two valuable jade Buddha statues are housed there. It is the Jade Buddha Monastery, a remarkable complex of buildings that includes the sacred Tianwang Dian Hall, where the four celestial kings and Maitreya are enshrined, their statues a visual wonder. Priceless Buddhist writing is stored in the monastery, and in the Treasure Hall of the Great Hero, gilded Buddha statues that represent the past, present, and future, stand tall and proud.

Touches of art, history, and philosophy are everywhere in Shanghai. Museums are filled with exciting treasure and artifacts that encourage interest in the city and China’s history. The Shanghai Museum is one of them, and will not be conquered with just a few hours to spare. In fact, it could take days before you’ve gotten through the three exhibition halls, and eleven galleries that feature calligraphy, coins, sculpture, paintings, and so much more. Time spent in the museum is a definite swoon-worthy moment for all history buffs and museum lovers.

As the largest city in the country it can be a daunting prospect for visitors, but there are many options available for exploring its vast offerings. Walking is popular with travelers who want to take in the city at the ground level, absorbing its vibrant energy. Another option that offers a little less autonomy but is just as wonderful, are the specially designed sightseeing bus tours. If you get tired take a load off at popular tourist hangout spot the Bund, which is a 1.5 km boulevard with a river view.

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  • Jacqueline “Jackie” Jones is a Barbadian author and entrepreneur who spends more time lost in the virtual world than anyone should. Jackie loves meeting new people as much as she loves traveling, and she’s often guilty of “interviewing” unsuspecting strangers whether they want her to or not. When she’s not dealing with the day-to-day of running two businesses (Originz Multimedia and Waterway Media), or spending time with family and friends, Jackie turns to words and is an accomplished speculative fiction writer.