Zhou Xuan was China's first movie/pop song star. Widely acclaimed as "Golden Voice" . Best remembered for her starring role in timeless movie' The Wandering Songstress".
What are Shanghai's classic symbols? What can represent Shanghai? Why do people like Shanghai? What are the most cherished memories of Shanghai?
The "Do you like Shanghai? - In search for Shanghai's 99 classic symbols" campaign jointly organized by Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration and Shanghai Municipal Administration of Greening and City Appearance has been enthusiastically welcomed by netizens. In two months, these netizens "have written collectively" a "History of Shanghai by Ordinary People" which covers various aspects of the city including people, buildings, streets and roads, Laozihao (time-honored brands), foods and culture. That boils down to "Shanghai's 99 classic symbols".
Zhou Xuan was China's first movie/pop song star. Widely acclaimed as "Golden Voice" . Best remembered for her starring role in timeless movie' The Wandering Songstress".
Ruan Lingyu (1910 –1935), famous Chinese movie star of the '30s, went down in China's cinematic history with her starring roles in "Ye Cao Xian Hua" (Wild Flowers), "Xiao Wan Yi" (Little Toys)., "Nu Shen" (The Goddess) and "Xin Nu Xing" (New Women).
Hu Die, the first "Movie Queen" in China's cinematic history, enthralled the audience with her performance. Her career straddled the periods of sound film and silent film. She won her title as "Movie Queen" with the highest 21334 ballots in a poll organized by "Star Daily" of Shanghai. She died in Vancouver in 1989.
Eileen Chang (September 30, 1920 – September 8, 1995), also known as Zhang Ailing or Chang Ai-ling, was one of the most influential modern Chinese writers. Her most famous works include Lust, Caution and Love in a Fallen City. Chang is noted for her fiction writings that deal with the tensions between men and women in love, and are considered by some scholars to be among the best Chinese literature of the period. Chang's portrayal of life in 1940s Shanghai and Japanese-occupied Hong Kong is remarkable in its focus on everyday life and the absence of the political subtext which characterized many other writers of the period.
He believed that life is about giving instead of taking. He is Ba Jin, considered to be one of the most important and widely read Chinese writers of the 20th century.
Fu Lei was a famous Chinese translator and art critic. He was born in Nanhui County in Shanghai. His translations, which remain highly regarded, include Voltaire, Balzac and Romain Rolland. He developed his own style, the "Fu Lei style," and his own translation theory. His family letters to his son were published posthumously and have become a bestseller in China.
Chen Yi was a Chinese military commander and politician. He served as the 1st Mayor of Shanghai and the 2nd Foreign Minister of China. In 1949, he led the military campaign against Shanghai and liberated the city in 15 days.
San Mao (Three-Haired Boy) is the character in the eponymous cartoon telling the story of an orphan tramping around in Shanghai.
Ladislav Hudec was an architect who designed some of that city's most notable structures. Major works include the Park Hotel, the Grand Theater, the Joint Savings and Loan building, the combined Baptist Publications and Christian Literature Society buildings, and the post-modern "Green House". The 25 projects he was responsible for from 1918 to 1947 have been honored with the title "Outstanding Historic Buildings" by the government.
Yao Mushuang and Zhou Baichun, were highly celebrated comedians. Their most famous burlesque piece was "Learning English". In 1950, they co-founded their own troupe, which was to become later Shanghai People's Art Theater Comic Troupe.
Yao Ming, a basketball player; Liu Xiang, a 110m hurdler and Wang Liqin, a table tennis player, are three inspiring legends in China's sports community.
Pan Deming from Nanhui, Shanghai was the first person in the world to complete a circumnavigation of the world. His odyssey began in 1930. He traversed over 40 countries and regions in 7 years. Hats off to him!
Lu Xiaoman was a 20th-century Chinese painter. She was given the name of Mei , which means eyebrow, a metaphor for feminine beauty in Chinese.
Xu Wenqiang is a leading male character in a TV series Shanghai Bund.
Sanshan Huiguan (three-hill guildhouse) is Shanghai's only well-preserved late Qing complex of the nature. The central hall and the east and west wing buildings are used to house Shanghai's folksy creations. Its century-old opera stage intrigues with its well carved sculptures.
The revamped Shanghai Grand Theater has opened its doors once again. It looks its best with its green belt and flower beds.
Located in the bustling Nanjing Road, Park Hotel, one of Shanghai's oldest hotels, was the tallest building in the Far East until 1983.
Lu Xun's Former Residence, located at Lane 9, 132 Shanyin Road, Hongkou District, is a three-storymasonry building. It pays homage to one of the leading figures of modern Chinese literature.
Wukang Building, formerly known as Normandy Apartments, is located on Middle Huaihai Road. It's Shanghai's first apartments building of the French Renaissance style. It was constructed in 1924, and was taken over by Shanghai government in 1953. It used to be the stomping ground for China's glitterati.
Shanghai Oriental Pearl Radio &TV Tower features 11 spheres, big and small. The two largest spheres, along the length of the tower, have diameters of 50 m (164 ft) for the lower and 45 m (148 ft) for the upper. They are linked by three columns, each 9 m (30 ft) in diameter. The highest sphere is 14 m (46 ft) in diameter. The entire tower is supported by three enormous columns that start underground. The name of the tower is inspired by a Tang poem some of whose lines depict pearls falling onto a jade plate.
Shikumen is considered Shanghai's most distinctive form of traditional architecture which traced its origins in the 19th century. It provides interesting insights into the local old homes.
Fairmont Peace Hotel, a ' luxurious Art-Deco masterpiece', brilliantly reinvented for the 21st century where old fashioned glamour sparkles with a new luster. Situated just steps from the famous Bund promenade and unrivaled shopping on Nanjing Road, it is the perfect place to explore Shanghai's spectacular scenery and vibrant lifestyle. With the famed Peace Hall meticulously restored to its original grandeur, guests can revive memories of old Shanghai cabarets and gala parties whilst stepping on the iconic sprung-wooden dance floor. From the exquisite décor to the impeccable service, Fairmont Peace Hotel is an extraordinary hotel and a luxury lifestyle destination that offers every indulgence.
Former Site of the 1st National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP Yida) is housed in a Shikumen building. It is here that the founding fathers of the Chinese Communist Party held their first national congress known in history as CCP Yida from July 23 to July 31, 1921, charting a road for the Chinese revolution. The site was turned into a museum in 1952.
Shen Bao, formerly transliterated as Shun Pao or Shen-pao, known in English as Shanghai News, was a newspaper published from April 30, 1872 to May 27, 1949 in Shanghai, China. The influence of the newspaper in early 20th century Shanghai was such that Shen Bao zhi, literally "Shen-pao paper", became a generic term for newspaper or newsprint. Now former site of Shan Bao is located at 309 Hankou Road.
Shanghai Postal Museum, located at 395 Tiantong Road, Hongkou District, used to house Shanghai Post Office. The second floor of this magnificent building still retains its original flavor. The roof garden affords a commanding view of the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek.
The Bund History Museum walks visitors through the drastic changes that have taken place since Shanghai became a port over a century ago. Exhibits and photos abound.
Songjiang Thames Town is a place that oozes strong typical British charms.
Shanghai Museum offers an impressive collection of 140,000 Chinese ancient art pieces, including bronzes, ceramics, calligraphic works and paintings.
Shanghai Astronomical Museum, located atop a hill within Sheshan Park in Songjiang District, is housed in a dome of European architectural style. It boasts a65-meter radio telescope, Asia's largest of the kind, as well as a world-class optical refractor.
Jiangnan Shipbuilding Museum is housed in the Jiangnan Shipbuilding Tower located at 600 Luban Road. After a walk through the history of Jiangnan Shipbuilding factory on the 2nd floor, visitors can take the load off their feet by having a coffee on the first floor.
Glass Museum, located at 685 West Changjiang Road, Baoshan District, is truly worth a visit. It provides an opportunity to watch how glass artisans produce glassware.
Paramount was Shanghai's epicenter of glitz and glitter in the '30 and '40s. "Night Shanghai, night Shanghai…"– music was drifting. It used to be the hangout of many big names in Shanghai's showbiz like Ruan Lingyu, Zhou Xuan, Hu Die and Zhao Dan, business tycoons and prominent political figures.
For city god worship, Chenghuang Temple is another place that reveals Shanghai's historical identity. Originally it was first built as Jinshan Temple in the 3rd century and rebuilt as its present incarnation during the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming dynasty in the 13th century. The temple was renovated again in 1926.
Mengqing Garden, located in 130 Yichang Road, Putuo District, is a public park that's devoted to environmental protection on the bank of Suzhou Creek. It provides an attractive background for photo-taking newlyweds. An eponymous exhibition hall in the park showcases the development and the future of the Suzhou Creek area with many exhibits.
Tushanwan Museum located in 55-1 Puhuitang Road, Xuhui District, used to be an eponymous orphanage. It helps understand Xujiahui's history. It's another example of the blend of the western and eastern cultural elements.
Yuan Dynasty Sluice Site Museum, located on 619 West Yanchang Road, Putuo District, is worth a visit for those who are into ancient engineering.
Shop windows are a symbol of the city. They even help orient those who go home late into the night.
Cathay Cinema, whose predecessor was Cathay Theater, attracts a crowd with its neon lights at night.
Old Pier, formerly known as Shiliupu, is Shanghai's earliest pier. Today, it divides into four sections – the northern section is for boutique hotels and show zones, the central section for restaurants and bars, the southern section for creative designs, and the Waimalu section for riverside bars. The Old Pier provides a cross-section of Shanghai's "Shikumen" architecture, which is spruced up by such photogenic sites as the Waterhouse at South Bund and Club No.1.
Streets and Roads
Huashan Road links up Jing'an Temple and Xujiahui, Shanghai's two most popular commercial circles. A walk there affords an opportunity to experience typical Shanghai style.
On Middle Urumqi Road, young crowd sips tea; expats and hawkers haggle loudly.
Nanjing Road, 5.5 kilometers long, starts from the Bund in the east and extends to West Yan'an Road in the west. It straddles the common borders of two districts - Jing'an and Huangpu. In a broad sense, Nanjing Road is home to two of Shanghai's ten biggest commercial centers: East Nanjing Road and West Nanjing Road. East Nanjing Road (including Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street) is for budget-minded shoppers and visitors, while West Nanjing Road (including Jing'an Temple area) is a high-end neighborhood.
North Shaanxi Road which runs north-south, is a famous street best for those looking for culture and leisure. It boasts 21 former homes of celebrities. It was named "China's Famous Historic and Cultural Street" in June 2013. Now, it's home to some of Shanghai's laozihao (time-honored brands).
Tian'ai Road, 526 meters in length and 13 meters in width, is located close to Shanyin Road, Hongkou District. It is hailed as Shanghai's most romantic road. At its entrance is Shanghai's famous "Love Mailbox".
Moganshan Road, adjacent to Suzhou Creek which is known as the mother river of Shanghai, boasts Shanghai's most famous "artists community"– galleries and art studios run by some of China's avant-garde artists. It's also home to the famous M50 Creative Park.
Sinan Road was built in 1914 in memory of Jules Massenet, a famous French musician. One of Shanghai 11 areas placed under government protection, it's home to some of the western style villas.
To watch fallen leaves, Wukang Road and Yuqing Raod are the best places. The two streets of rich European style are strewn with massive plane trees. A carpet of yellow leaves recalls a fine painting.
Trams clang on Nanjing Road.
Xinhua Road, known as Shanghai's top garden-style road, is flanked by plane trees. It's a haven of peace from the urban hustle and bustle. A stroll affords vistas of garden homes of different styles.
Stripped-down and humble as it is, Huoshan Road, Hongkou District, used to be the temporary refuge for more than 20,000 Jewish refugees during the World War II.
Laozihao (time-honored brands)
Chenghuangmiao Wuxiangdou, five-flavor broad beans of Chenghuang Temple, is a flavorful snack that no visitor wants to leave Shanghai without trying.
Xing Hua Lou, a restaurant offering Guangdong cuisine, was founded in 1851, and became a company of limited liability after the 1911 Revolution that toppled China's last dynasty.。
Lao Zheng Xing, founded in Qing dynasty, is a time-honored restaurant in China's food industry, offering Zhejiang cuisines and Shaoxing cuisine.
Shanghai Laofandian, founded in Qing dynasty, is the best place for sampling typical Shanghai cuisine. It's even considered the granddaddy of Shanghai cuisine. The building close to the Bund that houses the restaurant is an attraction in its own right.
Wangkai Photo Studio was first opened in Beijing and was moved to Shanghai in 1920. It established its strong presence at Nanjing Road (378 East Nanjing Road) with its first-rate equipment and a wide selection of services.
Daguangming Cinema, the Grand Theatre which has been around for 80 years, is known as "top Theater of the Far East". It has snatched many "firsts", like China's first wide-screen cinema, China's first stereo cinema and China's first four-star cinema. It's kind of witness to the evolution of China's cinema projection technologies.
Warrior Shoes, founded in 1927, is already 80 years old. In the 1970s, it was almost the only symbol of sports and leisure footwear in China.
Laofengxiang is a three-century-old classic Chinese jewelry brand tracing its origins back to 1848. In the '30s, it was the choice of Shanghai's tycoons.
Duo Yun Xuan started as an art gallery in 1900 and now has evolved into one of China's most influential art dealers.
Liushen is the popular product series under Shanghai Jahwa, the largest domestically-owned Chinese manufacturer of cosmetics and personal care products.
Phoenix Company Ltd., better known as Phoenix Bicycles and Shanghai Phoenix Bicycles, was formerly known as the Shanghai Third Bicycle Factory created in May, 1958. Phoenix exports bicycles to more than 50 countries. "Phoenix" is one of the first top-ten well-known trademarks in China and has been registered in 104 countries.
Bai Que Ling is a cosmetics brand that started in 1931. It was a favorite of many of the prominent women at the time like Ruan Lingyu and Zhou Xuan. In March 2013, it was used by Peng Liyuan, China's first lady, as the state gift during her overseas visit.
Tong Han Chun is a very popular Chinese medicinal herbal plaster.
In the '80s and '90s, "Heng Yuan Xiang" was synonymous with quality sweaters. Any visitors to Shanghai tended to buy the sweaters as gifts for friends and relatives.
Seagull Camera was a popular brand in the 1960s and 1970s. The brand is now on display at Shanghai Old Camera Manufacturing Museum.
Gaoqiao Cakeoriginated in 1900 and now is one of the four most sought-after snacks in the town of Gaoqiao, Shanghai. Ingredients include lard, cotton, sugar, red bean and sweet-scented osmanthus, etc. Greasy but not cloying. Sweet, refreshing, aromatic, crisp.
Youtiao, also known as the Chinese cruller, Chinese oil stick, Chinese doughnut, and fried breadstick, is a long golden-brown deep-fried strip of dough eaten in China. Conventionally, youtiao are lightly salted and made so they can be torn lengthwise in two. Youtiao are normally eaten at breakfast as an accompaniment for rice congee or soy milk.
Kai Si Ling is a western restaurant founded in the 1930s. Its best offerings include Lipton lemon tea and chestnut cake.
Mairujingwas very popular in the 1970s as a fast-dissolving solid white milk nutrition drink. Its ingredients include milk powder, cream, malt extract and egg powder.
Lvbolang is a restaurant housed in a Qing dynasty building in Yu Garden offering Suzhou cuisine. It has been visited by 50 delegations led by foreign state heads.
Nanxiang Xiaolong (Steamed meat buns) is a traditional food of the ancient town of Nanxiang. Having been around for over 100 years, it is prized for its thin wrapping, big filling, great taste and lovely shape. Nanxiang Xiaolong has become a protected trademark.
Xiekehuang is a baked round pastry cake covered with sesame. A popular Shanghai snack.
Tangchaolizi, chestnuts fried with solid sugar, a great Snack
Da Ba Tu Nai Tang is the childhood memory of many. Best appreciated for its mellow flavor. White, cylindrical, chewy.
Pai Gu Nian Gao (Ribs with Sticky Rice Cake) is Shanghai's affordable, unique snack that started more than 50 years ago. Best purveyors include Shuguang and Xiandelai.
Fengjing Rice Wine is best for cold winter months. A hot kettle of Fengjing rice wine with some ginger slices is very good for health.
For noodles lovers, rejoice! Shanghai is a purveyor of all kinds of noodles imaginable.
For many, Xiapiyoudunzi (Fried Radish with Shrimp Skins) brings back memories - crunchy dough, tasty radish slices.
The main event of a typical Shanghai breakfast is Congyoubing or scallion pancake. It is a savory, non-leavened flatbread folded with oil and minced scallions (green onions). It originates in Chinese culture. Unlike a true pancake, it is made from dough instead of batter. Variations exist on the basic method of preparation that incorporates other flavors and fillings.
Shanghai's cold dishes are the best in the country. During the Sino-Japanese war, many rich merchants moved into Shanghai and brought with them the ways of cold dish preparation to the city, and those techniques for cold dish preparation gradually became embedded in Shanghai's local culinary scene.
Lei Sha Yuan is one of the best flavors offered by Shanghai's Qiao Jia Zha, a famous snack purveyor. The sticky rice balls have been around for decades. It's said it's an accidental creation by an old lady who sold sticky rice balls.
Hai Tang Gao is a time-honored cake. Red bean paste is housed in flour wrappings, and the whole things are baked. The best place where visitors can buy Hai Tang Gao is Qibao Old Street.
Scallion Oil Noodles is a very famous Shanghai snack. If you really want to taste authentic Scallion Oil Noodles, you'd better head out into some hidden backstreets at night.
It the '80's, clothing customization was a norm. Customers had their clothing customized in some state-run fabrics shops. Now, tailoring has given way to mass clothing production, and old tailors are phasing out.
The day December 10, 2013 marks the 20th birthday of Shanghai Shenhua, a Chinese professional football club that currently participates in the Chinese Super League. The team is based in Shanghai and their home stadium is the Hongkou Football Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 33,060.
Shanghai's signature animated characters include Afanti, Huluwa (gourd boy) and Heimao Jingzhang (black cat police officer)…They are creations by Shanghai Animation Film Studio.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) is one of the two stock exchanges operating independently in China, and the world's 6th largest stock market by market capitalization. The current exchange was re-established on November 26, 1990 and was in operation on December 19 of the same year. It is a non-profit organization directly administered by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).
Expo 2010, officially Shanghai World Expo 2010, was held on both banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010. It was a major World Expo in the tradition of international fairs and expositions. The theme of the exposition was "Better City, Better Life" and signifies Shanghai's new status in the 21st century as the "next great world city".
A typical Shanghai wedding tends to be a large banquet which features dozens of tables, and cordon bleu chefs are invited to prepare foods for guests. The pomp and circumstance is very impressive.
The Shanghai Biennale is the highest-profile contemporary art event in Shanghai and the most established art biennale in China. The Biennale began in 1996. It has been held every two years since then at the Shanghai Art Museum usually beginning in September. There is a different theme every edition: "Open Space" (1996), "Inheritance and Exploration" (1998), "Spirit of Shanghai" (2000), "Urban Creation" (2002), "Techniques of the Visible" (2004), "Hyper Design" (2006), "Translocalmotion" (2008) and "Rehearsal" (2010).
Old games in old Shanghai's lanes are a reminder of Shanghai's past, like Dadanzi, Gunquanzi, Dinghetao, Zaofangzi, Lalingzi, Guapianzi, Guanjiezi, Choutuozi. They evoke childhood memories of the old-timers.
One of China's local performances, Huajixi (burlesque) originated in Suzhou and today is quite popular in Shanghai and its surrounding areas. Usually, a show includes 1 to 4 performers, and Shanghai dialect is spoken. It peaked in the early '40s of the 20th century.
Shanghai Tourism Festival is a classic urban festival celebrated from a Saturday in mid- September to early October in Shanghai. It was first held in 1990 and got its present name in 1996. It's an extravaganza in the golden season of autumn in Shanghai.
Shanghai cuisine, sometimes known as Hu cuisine, is a popular style of Chinese food. Shanghai's cuisine is closely related to those of the surrounding provinces – Jiangsu and Zhejiang – and taken together these are known in China as Benbang cuisine. Shanghai cuisine is epitomized by the use of alcohol. Fish, crab, chicken are "drunken" with spirits and are briskly cooked, steamed, or served raw. Salted meats and preserved vegetables are also commonly used to enhance the dish. Sugar is also very common in Shanghai cuisine, especially when used in combination with soy sauce. The most notable dish of this type of cooking is "sweet and sour spare ribs" (tang cu xiao pai). "Red cooking" is another popular style of stewing meats and vegetables.
Guxiu is painting embroidery that traces its origins to the family of Gu Ming in Ming dynasty. Famous paintings are embroidered on fabrics. It's renowned for elegance, artistry, interesting themes and amazing needlework techniques.
Yuefenpai is a type of calendar poster that was quite prevalent in Shanghai during the 1920's and 1930's, often used for advertising. Also called Shanghai Posters, most were simply thrown away, so very difficult to find original posters now.
Nongtang (backstreets), ginkgo trees, large bookstores, old universities, magazines, buildings of all stripes and shapes, hairstyles, clothing, novel ideas – Shanghai has everything.
Wang Anyi is a Chinese writer. Her most famous novel, The Everlasting Regret traces the life story of a young Shanghainese girl from the 1940s all the way till her death.
The Bund and Jing'an District provide a cross-section of the cultural pollination between the east and the west, while Xiaonanmen and Laoximen are the best spots where visitors can get a true taste of the lifestyle of the old days. In fact, Shanghai promises more than what those overly developed tourists-laden attractions can offer.