Shanghai’s importance as a center of trade grew in the 19th century when the British, following their victory over China in the First Opium War, opened the city to foreign trade. The French, British, and American Concessions were subsequently established in Shanghai. Today, Western influence is evident in the architecture of buildings in the former concession areas that coexist with traditional Chinese architecture in the old city.
Shanghai is mainland China’s most important financial center and also its most populous metropolitan area with over 23 million people. The city on the Yangtze River delta is also dubbed the “Paris of the East” owing to the unmistakeable influence of the West in its old buildings – represented in a grand parade of different European architectural styles on The Bund. Across the Huangpu River, the cluster of skyscrapers in the Pudong district is a glittering symbol of China as an economic power.
Shanghai was our first honeymoon stop back in 2011. This is the view of Pudong financial district across the Huangpu River. The tallest structures are the Shanghai World Financial Center (492m, the building with huge trapezoid hole on top), the Oriental Pearl Tower (468m, the tower with spherical structures), and the Jin Mao (421m, building to the left of Shanghai World Financial Center). Upon its completion in 2014, the Shanghai Tower (not yet in this photo) will surpass the Shanghai World Financial Center as the tallest building in China at 632m.