Shanghai is most famous for its iconic waterfront and its futuristic landscape along the Huangpu River that divides the city between the modern Pudong and the more traditional Puxi area.
The Bund was Shanghai’s Wall Street, the site the all the foreign banks and trading houses, where fortune were made and lost. In 1942, the British opened their concession, and they were soon followed by the French and the Americans—all the major Western powers wanted a piece of China’s number one trading port. Built on the trade of opium, tea and silk, the city was also a synonym of vice with its gambling dens, opium addicts and prostitutes.
The Chinese Communist Party was formed in Shanghai in 1921, but it’s only in 1949 that it “liberated” the city. The foreigners were kicked out and Shanghai was turned into another industrial city.
I was surprised to see how much remains of Shanghai’s colonial past. There are still signs in French, the buildings have a strange familiar European look and the big banks are still here.
But really, the Bund is all about the view on modern Pudong, on the other side of the river. Night and day, you can marvel at one of the most amazing skylines in the world!