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Shanghai is a mix of East and West as well as traditional and modern Chinese life, which makes it an ideal introduction of China for visitors.
The Bund is Shanghai’s grandiose waterfront promenade with splendid Art deco buildings, located along the west bank of the Huangpu River. This street was once the financial center of the Far East and has been the city’s symbol since the 1920s. The area abounds in European style buildings and is hence nicknamed ‘the museum of buildings’.
One of the most impressive buildings in the area is the HSBC Building, once the headquarters of the Communist Party, now home to the Pudong Development Bank.
The east bank yields great views of the city, especially at night.
The Yuyuan Gardens
The ‘Garden of Contentment’ was built in 1559 under the Ming Dynasty. The gardens were destroyed and restored several times but remain the best example of Chinese classical gardens in Shanghai. The small park features many Chinese pavilions, endless paths, sculpted gardens, rockeries and ponds. There is also a traditional theatre arranged in a maze. A traditional teahouse is located in the vicinity, and can be accessed via a zigzagged Bridge of Nine Turns which is one Shanghai’s best known sights.
Shanghai Museum definitely represents one of the city’s highlights. It boasts 120,000 pieces of Chinese art and archeological findings. The excellent museum displays permanent exhibitions of bronzes, ceramics, paintings and other artifacts, and at the same time it takes you through the entire Chinese history.
The museum building itself is an architectural achievement. The complex features a library containing 20,000 books, and a conservation laboratory.