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Shanghai Architectural History

Roughly the architecture in certain place mostly indicates the local inclination in history, culture, religion and custom. In Shanghai, the basic architecture could be divided into two styles, modernized buildings, and traditional buildings such as westernized churches and villas, localized old-style buildings, in which Yuyuan is the typical representative. The Bund, near Huangpu River contains centralized exhibition of early 20th century architecture, ranging in style from neo-classical HSBC Building to the art deco Sassoon House. A number of areas in the former foreign concessions are also well preserved.

The traditional Chinese-style buildings can be totally seen in the Chenghuang Miao shopping center. Recently, many skyscrapers symbolizing the level of a city’s development, prosperity and internationalization, have sprung up throughout Shanghai. Notable examples of contemporary buildings include the Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Grand Theatre.

Actually the outstanding architectures could represent the soul of Shanghai as a vital city of China is Yuyuan Garden. Yuyuan Garden lies in the prosperous section of Shanghai’s old city, and is the notable classic garden in the southern Yangtze River, as well as the noted place of interest, historic sites and tourist attraction. In 1982, it was ranked as the key protection of national historic sites. The garden was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built for Pan's parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age. In 1956, a large-scale rehabilitation or restoration was done by Shanghai Municipal Government. Yuyuan Garden covers 20,000 square meters. However, the small size is not a representative of the attractions of the garden. The pavilions, halls, rockeries, ponds and cloisters all have unique characteristics.

There are six main scenic areas in the garden: Sansui Hall, Wanhua Chamber, Dianchun Hall, Huijing Hall, Yuhua Hall and the Inner Garden. Each area features several scenic spots within its borders. Huanhshi big rockery was the oldest, biggest and finest in the Southern Yangtze River we could see today created by the great master Zhang Nanyang. The yulan tree in front of Yuhuatang was the oldest city-flower tree. There are also many brick sculptures, wood sculptures, stone inscriptions, and mud inscriptions scattered around the Yuyuan Garden, many valuable old paintings calligraphy masterworks could be seen in this classic garden. Yuyuan garden as the carrier of Chinese traditional culture is connected with paintings and calligraphy. Dong Qichang, Wang Shizheng and Mo Shilong who were all the great masters of Chinese traditional paintings and calligraphy created works and paintings for it.




It is famous for its pure Chinese-style layout and architecture, in the past years after its restoration; many world-renowned celebrities visited it, including The Queen of United Kingdoms-Elizabeth II, American former president Clinton, German president and so on. In 1999, it was highlighted by the leader of central government, Jiang Zemin, Chinese former president who wrote “Haishangmingyuan” four Chinese characters for this elegant and charming garden.


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