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Shanghai, biggest port in China
Queen of Orient
It was a small fishing village, when in 1842 during so called "opium war" came English and by the Treaty of Nanking opened the port to foreign powers. Not even 10 years later Shanghai became the biggest port in China and already in 1900 had one million inhabitants. After English came French, Americans, Germans and Japanese so the city became the most international metropolitan in Asia with a dynamic trade of tea, silk and opium. Nowadays all the expansion an development is visible already from the first sight, Shanghai welcomes you with its shiny lights, vivid street life and very vibrant character.
Literally translated, Shanghai means "above the sea", to be precise it's East China Sea that the city lies on in the delta of Yangtze River. For years Shanghai as a famous city gained beautiful nicknames as "Pearl of the East", "Queen of Orient" or "Paris of the East". The visit card of the city is the riverside called the Bund. A vast boulevard with busy lanes and a riverfront broadwalk might for some seem a little tacky but it absolutely represents character and history of this city. Eastern side with splendid buildings kept in a colonial style as those of HSBS, the Customs House with a bell tower or a city "crown" - The Westin Bund Centre. But the queen wearing the crown seems to be torn between old history and a XXI-century fast life. Just opposite to colonial palaces, on the western part of the Huangpu River are the breathtaking skyscrapers with amazing lightshows that hypnotises your eyes. An extravagant combination, that only this city can afford.
Shanghai maybe lacks such a-must places to see as Paris or Rome, but there is this street life which gives the city its charm. While strolling downtown you may meet a bunch of people with a radio, dancing in the street. They won't mind if you join them and the steps are usually very simple! Shanghai is fun also during the night, when the warm, pleasant temperature finally lets you breathe go to the Nanjing Road. A huge market square where you can buy everything starting from clothes and silk and finishing with fine, inlaid chopsticks. If you get tired do not hesitate to enter some small Chinese restaurant to challenge yourself with chopsticks competition, be prepared though that if you order a spicy dish then it will be really spicy...
This city is a dream-come-true for many young Chinese people who come here to look for their life chances. Streets are full of different Chinese dialects and people of all origins but also (on the contrary to other parts of China) you can hear a lot of English!
For those who are looking for some glamor Shanghai offers a whole menu of dancing halls, art-deco hotels, chic bars and luxury restaurants or spas. When you decide to go to Shanghai remember that before you there were also: Aldous Huxley, Charlie Chaplin, George Brand Shay or Mary Pickford that felt in love with the city.