Shanghai, China – City on the Huangpu River

China Shanghai – Features of the city and its history

Ancient, mysterious, one of the most amazing cities in the world – Shanghai, a city in China. The Pearl of Asia, the Paris of the East and the “fallen woman” of Asia. All these epithets equally apply to it. It was and remains the trading floor of the Middle Kingdom.


People from all corners of the country have flocked to it in search of a better life. It is a paradise for foreign traders. The large attendance of foreigners has not left adventurers, outcasts. Therefore, it has a controversial reputation, well screened in feature films.

Shanghai, the capital of what country?

Its popularity often leaves people unfamiliar with geography stumped. What country is Shanghai? The capital, what state is it? It is the largest city and port located in Eastern China. It is the most powerful economic, commercial and transport center.

The area occupied by the city is 6,340.5 square kilometers. In terms of population, it is the most populous city on the planet, over 11 million people. However, such a number is not felt.

Note: In Shanghai, there are 2700 people per square meter. In Moscow the figure is 9,700 and in Hong Kong it is 6,315.

To communicate locals use a Shanghai dialect which is not understood by Chinese from other parts of the country. That’s how “insiders” and “outsiders” are defined.


Coordinates and climate

Where is Shanghai? To the rest of the world it is the East, but to the country it is the southern city. It is located on the very coast of the East China Sea and is divided into two parts by the Huangpu River (a branch of the Yangtze River). The western part is the main area, Busun. East is the business center, Pudong. In the past few centuries, the Yangtze has given way to the land, Shanghai is still sprawling. The main area of the metropolis is covered by plains, and the height of the mountains in the West does not exceed one hundred meters.

The climate of Shanghai corresponds to the subtropics. It is moderately humid and warm. The best time to visit is autumn and spring. The four seasons have a clear outline and replace each other almost without delay.


The peak of the heat is in July, when the mark on the thermometer reaches 35 degrees. With high humidity, this heat is harder to bear. The coldest time of the year is in winter, in January. The temperature drops to 3.5 degrees and drops below zero at night. Snowfall is extremely rare. In early and late spring and fall, the city is famous for its rains. Shanghai is subjected to typhoons every year, which have been less destructive lately.

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The first mentions of it date back to the 11th century. Originally, it was part of a county. Under the rule of the Song dynasty, Shanghai became a port. In the middle of the 15th century, a wall was built around it and it got the status of a city. The name Shanghai literally translates to “city over the sea,” Shan for over, Hai for sea.

  • The city first experienced economic progress in the early 19th century during the Opium War that broke out between England and China. The British wanted to protect their commercial interests in the Celestial Empire. After the war ended, a treaty was signed between a number of countries. Some Chinese ports became a zone of international trade.
  • In the middle of the 19th century, the Taiping Rebellion occurred and part of the city was destroyed. The areas of the city with foreign settlements remained unharmed, where the bulk of the population flocked. Because of the increased demand, land values increased.


Note: Until 1854, the Chinese were forbidden to settle in these territories.

  • Nine years later, England, the United States created the Shanghai International Settlement. The French refused to participate and retained their status as a French Concession.
  • The outcome of the war between the Celestial Empire and the Land of the Rising Sun was a treaty that gave Japan its “place” in Shanghai.

In the 19th century, a large number of immigrants came to Shanghai from the Old World, from all walks of life. This led to the emergence of an underclass population with criminal tendencies and habits. With the advent of communist rule, the situation changed dramatically.

China is interesting not only for its culture, but also for the variety of flags. Among them there are national flags, special administrative areas, military, non-governmental flags.

The flag of Shanghai is the banner of the Shanghai International Settlement. On a white background in a circle are the flags of the countries that are members of the international Settlement. In order to preclude a separate treaty between China and Japan, England and the United States waived the privileges of their citizens residing within the Settlement, resulting in the formal elimination of the International Settlement.

Banner of the Shanghai International Settlement

Political Function

In the PRC, political standing in Shanghai is the path to high offices in the state.

Synopsis: The state’s leading politicians are representatives of the Shanghai administration of the 1980s.

Administratively, Shanghai is a province. The positions of chief secretary of the city committee and mayor are considered the starting point for high-level party leadership. For this reason, appointments to these positions are decided by the central government.

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The city has a complex system of communications between the administration, financial institutions, and other institutions. This was the main reason for the claims and admonitions of bribery from the capital. All cases were limited to statements.

Note: For bribery or embezzlement of public funds in excess of one million dollars – capital punishment (death penalty). Since the beginning of the noughties more than 10 thousand officials have been executed in the country.

Shanghai population

Administrative division

The province has 20 counties, including 18 districts. There is no city center as such. Each district has its own. The city is divided into two banks by the river:

  • The west side is Puxi. The historic point, which includes 9 districts;
  • East side – Pudong. It is a concentration of financial centers and a symbol of the country’s economy.

Under the control of the rest of the districts are the villages, the suburbs. Small islands belong to the Chunming district.

Districts of Shanghai

The most attractive district for tourists is Hongpu. Here is the People’s Square, garden, street and museum. The famous skyscrapers of Pudong, symbols of the modern metropolis, are localized in a separate area on the east coast, in Lujiatsui.



The city is located on the economic side, right on the coast. The area of Shanghai has expanded not only due to the river recession, but also due to the influx of large numbers of people from other areas, as well as foreigners from different powers who conduct active business in the city.

The famous Shanghai Express became famous not so much for its dimensions as for its romantic adaptations and popular science films. At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a “war” between Hong Kong and Shanghai for the right to be called the main economic base. The advantage of the former, in a stable legal system and a wealth of experience with banks. Shanghai benefits from strong ties with the government and cooperation with other regions of the country.

The city experienced its first economic boom as early as the 19th century, when many countries deployed their businesses on its territory. But back in the 11th century, the city was famous for fishing, a little later developed an agricultural culture. Cultivated rice, salt, and a little later began to grow cotton, which led to the development of the textile industry.

Shanghai Seaport

With the advent of the Japanese in the territory, the automobile industry began to develop wildly. Following the example of the Japanese, other countries began to develop their own production. Maritime transport is a separate topic, since the port of Shanghai is the largest in the world. More than 30 containers of cargo pass through it every year. It is the largest shipyard.

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The whole city is divided into development zones:

  • Economic-Technological;
  • High, new technology zones;
  • Export zones;
  • Industrial;
  • Business parks;
  • Tourist zones and more.

In 1980, there was a noticeable decline in growth. The central government decided to give the Pudong area a special, economic status. Businesses, companies located here have a number of preferential advantages. Within 20 years, the city’s economy grew by 60 percent.

The region is a donor, that’s what you could call Shanghai. The percentage of tax revenue to the state treasury is 15 percent annually, although the city itself is severely lacking in capital investment.

Shanghai Seaport


A modern transportation system, clean streets and good air quality are features of the metropolis. The first bus appeared at the beginning of the last century. Now the city has more than 1,000 routes, tens of thousands of vehicles.

Together with the buses appeared and the first cab, which more than fifty thousand. More recently, many residents and visitors to the metropolis preferred to travel by ferry. The presence of many tunnels and bridges reduced this demand. Now popular are lightweight pleasure liners.

The main form of payment for travel in the city and now the suburbs is a smart card for Shanghai public transport. With it you can pay not only for travel in any city transport, but also for utilities.

Shanghai to Beijing

  • Shanghai has a very well-developed road network. There are three expressways located throughout the city:
  1. Nanbei extends from North to South;
  2. Yan’anlu extends from West to East;
  3. Neihuan is the inner ring.

Together they are more than 50 kilometers long. Others extend from the main ring road. The Huangpu is a river in Shanghai and its tributary is crossed by a large number of bridges. In addition to the bridges, there are several tunnels.

  • Four railroads of the highest level. There are additional railroads, including high-speed railroads, operating within the city.
  • By all accounts, the Shanghai Metro is the longest in the world and continues to grow, carrying more than 8 million people every day.
  • The metropolis has two international airports and about eight airlines.
  • As a major port city, it has more than 1,000 marinas, some of which can accommodate large cargo ships.

Shanghai Metro

Note: The Port of Shanghai is the busiest container port in the world.

How to get there?

Tourism in the city is very well developed. This industry is not the least in the ranking of the most profitable business ideas. From the country, you can get to this colorful megalopolis directly by flying from the capital. Flights are much more frequent and tickets are cheaper from Moscow. There are transfers from St. Petersburg via Helsinki and to Shanghai. In this direction airlines from different countries send their planes.

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The centuries-old combination of European and Asian culture is embodied in the sights of the city. It has its own Venice and Paris of the East. The Garden of Joy, founded in the 16th century and many monuments of sacred architecture. Part of Shanghai is occupied by temples of almost all religions of the world, and the history of the city can be found in the houses-museums.

Modern skyscrapers replace the authentic buildings. It would seem that in such an international metropolis all boundaries should be absent, but the city is strictly divided into parts, each architecture corresponds to a particular theme. Therefore it is difficult to define the center of Shanghai.

The river in Shanghai

A trip on the Huangpu River for three hours will allow you to see all the sights of the city from one view. There are thousands of colorful boats, beautiful bridges, and piers. Along the Bund embankment are beautiful historic buildings. Given that the structures were erected by different states, you can find objects of the Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance and more.

Shanghai River

People’s Square

One of the landmarks of the city above the sea is the People’s Square, located in Huangpu. The city’s municipal government is localized here and, often, it is the point of reference for the distance. It is not only the political center of the city, but also the cultural center. Along with government buildings, there are museums and a theater.

People's Square


The first museum in Shanghai was opened by the French in the 19th century. The first exhibits were representatives of local flora, fauna, the inhabitants of rivers. In today’s metropolis more than 100 museums of various kinds. In the center is a large Shanghai Museum. Since 1985 a major international automobile exhibition has been held in the city.

National Museum of China


Shanghai is a shopaholic’s paradise. Exactly in this Asian city you can see the first novelties of the leading fashion houses from all over the world. Tourism is only a part of life in the city. It is a big port metropolis with a rich history and it is famous for its goods. From Shanghai come silk, pearl jewelry, Chinese tea, Asian spices, antiques and electronic devices.

For the convenience of shoppers for each product allocated special markets and markets:

  • You can buy jewelry at the Sunshine Market and the First Asian Jewelry Bazaar;
  • Buying fabrics is better done on Donmen Street and so on.

In the French Quarter there are many boutiques selling high-end clothing and accessories by famous international brands. Asia has always been famous for its copies, but in Shanghai they are of higher quality.

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The main shopping streets are Nanjing, Middle Tibetan and Huaihai. Lots of malls and shopping centers, where you can bargain, like in the market, but on the condition of buying.



There are vending machines and phone booths for communications. For long distance calls they are red. Payment is made with coins or a special IC card of various denominations (20, 50, 100 CNY).

It is better to buy a SIM card from local operators for long trips to the city:

  • China Telecom;
  • China Mobile;
  • China Unicom.

A passport is required when making the connection.

Internet is practically everywhere. Free Wi-Fi in hotels of various classes, plus, cafes, restaurants, park areas. There are Internet cafes, where you also need to show your passport.



The Chinese have always thought of Shanghai people as arrogant and stuck-up people. That’s probably true. However, tourists are respected here and they are treated with great care. Here everything is thought out almost for the guests of the city. Experienced guides, who speak several languages, a lot of attractions of different cultures, wonderful gardens, parks, just recreation areas.

Traveler Reviews

Reviews of travelers are mixed. Someone went there specifically, as a lover of colorful Asia. The other prefers the “good old” Europe, and to Shanghai it has brought him to work and so on. However, among a variety of reviews we can draw generalized impressions of the travelers from visiting Shanghai.

The metropolis is a whole mix of eras, cultural values and styles. All of them are intertwined very talented and harmonious. Here everything hums, rattles, rustles, in accordance with the Asian country. Of all this variety is striking gastronomy. In the city you can get acquainted with the food from every region of China. There are many places with international cuisine, including Russian.

Shanghai boasts the Garden of Joy

The peculiarity of the Shanghai people is that they will never adjust to a visitor. They have their own life. But if a person visits their city, he will always be welcome.


Falling into dreams of Asia and planning trips to this amazing place in the world, you should definitely visit Shanghai, whose name has not changed since its founding. When visiting, be sure to have tea with a French bun, which is only sold in the European quarter.

Try to visit the “Pearl of the East” and admire the city from above. A visit to a local diner with tables for two, where only local dishes are served, will help you feel the real flavor of Asia. Visit many museums, rent a bike, ride around the city, take a ride on the river, go for a massage. Shanghai is unlikely to leave anyone indifferent.

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