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Yan'an Road

Yanan RoadYan'an Road has been one of the east-west trunk roads in downtown Shanghai. The road is divided into East, Central and West sections which pass through Zhongshan Road in the east, Huangpu, Luwan, Jing'an and Changning Districts and Huqingping Expressway to the west. Yan'an Road has a total length about 14km and width ranging from 14m to 63m.

East Yan'an Road is in southern part of Huangpu District. The eastern part of the road is on the Yang Jing Bang (Pidgin) River which is a branch of the Huangpu River. In late 19th and early 20th centuries Yang Jing Bang had been used as a boundary river for dividing the British and French Concessions. The tiny river had been lost due to reclamation. The north of the river was belonged to the British Concession while the south to the French. At that time, there were nine cross-river bridges built for the convenience of pedestrians, most of them were of wooden structure. Yang Jing Bang had contributed much to the trade in old Shanghai as well. Foreign banks, English newspaper bureaus and British firms had been established in the area.

During the mid-1850s, many wealthy locals and rich merchants from Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces sought refuge inside the Yang Jing Bang area due to the Heavenly Kingdom Rebellion. The Chinese population in the concession area had increased to 20,000 from initial 500. Since then, commerce had begun to flourish, as well as some small casinos and brothels set up there. Triad activities were common at that time too. Because of the expanding Chinese population, China's first electricity administration board was established in the area. A big Chinese tea house was set up along the river. It sold more than 500 bowls of tea and wine collectively daily then. There are a lot of shops selling many imported goods also.

The western part of East Yan'an Road was originally called Bei Chang Bang River. In 1914 the authority of the British and French Concessions realized that the river Yanan Roadblocked the land traffic and its dirty water might deteriorate the local hygienic condition, so in the following year they filled up the river, and then they built Edward Road, which came from King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. Since then, banks, stock exchange houses, foreign firms, restaurants and hotels had been here in the avenue. Since the Big World Game Center founded in 1917, the commercial in Edward Road and Tibet Road had been so prosperous. There were about 600 trading companies and shop set up, involving almost all kinds of business.

During the heat of the Anti-Japanese War, the invading army renamed the road as Great Shanghai Road. In the short period of the Nationalist rule, it was called East Zhongzheng Road, and after the founding of the new China, the road was finally named as East Yan'an Road in May 1950 (Yan'an is a holy place of China's Proletariat Revolution, located in northern Shaanxi Province).

Central Yan'an Road is stretching from the junctions of Jinling Road to Huashan Road with a total length about 2,300m. It was built in 1910, used as the boundary street for dividing the French Concession and the Commonality Concession. Foch Avenue was a name given from a French admiral's surname to the road since 1920. In 1950 it had been called as Central Yan'an Road.

West Yan'an Road is in Changning District of Shanghai. It is the longest section of the road, having over 10km in length, and reaching the entrance of Hongqiao International Airport. During the early 20th century, the pavement was named Zhenning Road and divided into two parts, the northern one occupied about two-third width of it was for motor vehicles, while the other one-third was for horses and carriages traffic use. There were many stables along the pavement and there were a lot of horses galloping on the street to be seen in the morning at that time. A British barrack and a Russian bar were there also. In the 1930s, a lot of beautiful, elegant garden-style houses had been built for the growing population in Shanghai. As the other part of the long avenue, this part of the great pavement was called West Yan'an Road in 1950.

 

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In its long and legendary history, Yan'an Road has been repaired and renovated many times. During 1980s, parts of Yan'an Road have been greatly widened due to cater the need of vast economic development in Shanghai.

By the year 1992, East Yan'an Road has 237 companies of various sizes involving 31 kinds of business notably motor, food, shoes, embroidery and electronics. The service industry has been going strong here too. Hotels, restaurants, boutiques and barber shops are in good quality, some of them are old brands in Shanghai.

Central Yan'an Road is a place of large venues. Shanghai Exhibition Center, Yan'an Hotel, the Site Second Congress of the CPC and Shanghai Cultural Activity Center etc. are located. West Yan'an Road is an academic and commercial pavement. East China University, Yan'an Senior School and Shanghai Biological Products Research Institution are well-known around town. Shanghai International Trade City and Hongqiao Hotel are ideal business places in Shanghai.

From 1995 to 1999, a flyover has been built by part over the whole Yan'an Road which is a fast trunk road for east-west traffic of Shanghai's urban area. The speed limit of the flyover is 80km/h with 6 driveways. The whole flyover bridge has eased the tension of traffic congestion of Shanghai, especially near the Hongqiao International Airport.