Shanghai, also known as ‘Shen’, ‘Paris of the East’, ‘New York of Asia’, ‘The Asian city that never sleeps’ and ‘The Pearl of Asia’ is a place shining with life and diversity. It’s a city where modern meets tradition, where the traditional Shikumen buildings proudly stand side by side with the skyscrapers of the modern world.
Along with Beijing, Chongqing, and Tianjin, Shanghai is one of the four province-level municipalities of China. It is also the industrial, economic, financial, and commercial centre of the country and the most important Chinese seaport. For those who grew up poor in the smaller inland towns and villages of China, Shanghai represents a beacon promising work and wealth. For them, Shanghai is ‘Mo Du’, the ‘Magic City’. Is Shanghai really magical? Let’s read these facts about Shanghai and reveal its hidden magic!
Shanghai is located in the time-zone called China Standard Time. The city is eight hours ahead of London, and 13 hours ahead of the east coast of the US.
The name Shanghai means “on the sea” which vividly describes that the city is close to the sea.
The first evidence of a settlement that manifested in the area goes way back from 5000 BC.
Shanghai was a small fishing and textiles town that gained its identity when it was opened to foreign powers in the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. Then the British, French, Americans, Germans, and Russians started to move in.
During the 19th century, the foreign powers that controlled Shanghai used the port city to trade goods, set up a powerful international infrastructure, build better roads, new railway lines, and provide gas and electricity. It was then when Shanghai became known as “The Paris of the Orient”, a name remembered to this day.
The 19th century is also known for its dark side because of the First Opium War which started in 1839 and ended in 1842.
Shanghai’s economy revived after the reform and opening-up in 1978.
In 1986, the standing committee of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress passed a resolution adopting the white magnolia as the city flower.
In 1990, Shanghai was chosen to lead modern China’s reform which resulted in intense development.
Its modern skylines include the characteristic Oriental Pearl Tower, the modern art-deco Jin Mao Tower, and the 101-floor World Financial Centre featuring the Park Hyatt hotel, the tallest hotel in the world.
Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in Shanghai with a height of 632 meters. It’s also the tallest skyscraper in China.
There are many water towns around Shanghai, such as Zhujiajiao Water Town, Zhouzhuang Water Town, and Jinxi Ancient Town. These charming water towns have become popular tourist destinations, and now many charge entrance fees.
Shanghai has the longest metro system in the world with a length of 644 kilometres.
The Shanghai Maglev is the fastest train in the world with a maximum speed of 430 kilometres per hour.
The world’s largest indoor ski resort is Wintastar, located in Lingang City in the Pudong New Area of Shanghai. It covers a staggering 227,000 square meters with 90,000 square meters of slopes.
There is a professional baseball team in Shanghai that plays in the China Baseball League. The team is named the Shanghai Golden Eagles, and they play at the Jiangwan Sports Centre.
One of the largest tourists’ attractions in the city is Disneyland Shanghai. Shanghai Disney Resort is 11 times larger than the original Disneyland in California.
The Shanghai Marriage Market in People’s Park is a paradise for parents whose children (over 25 years old) are still not married. Each weekend, they are willing to go there to find a suitable person to marry their child.
Shanghai is the world’s largest city with a population of over 24 million people. The average density of Shanghai’s population reached 3,816 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Most people from other parts of China can’t understand the local language of Shanghai called Shanghainese. There is no official written form of Shanghainese language and it seldom appears in writing.
The city offers plenty of universities and millions of students gather in Shanghai each year.
It was listed as the fifth ranking global financial centre in 2011.
144-hour visa-free transit is implemented in Shanghai for foreign citizens from 53 countries, including Canada, Brazil, Denmark, France, the UK, the USA, Italy, Japan, Poland, etc. Apart from the 53 countries, citizens from other foreign countries are expected to obtain a valid visa before a visit.
The best time to visit Shanghai is in spring and autumn when the climate is neither too hot nor too cold.
The colourful nightlife makes it a sleepless city.
Known as the Shopping Paradise, Shanghai offers consumers a variety of products to choose from, from high-end international brands to cheap local products.
The food in Shanghai is typically sweeter than food found elsewhere in China.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Shanghai that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!