The heart of Shanghai

12/08/2019 15:26

Bustling and colorful Nanjing Road has long been considered Shanghai’s foremost shopping street.

Shanghai, China’s largest city, is a powerful magnet for everyone from entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the development showcase of China to students drawn to the city’s world-class education system, diversity and promising landscape of new opportunities.

As for tourists, Shanghai is a magnificent city that exudes charm from its cultural and historical legacy and shines as one of the busiest entertainment and shopping centers in the world. Any visit here would be incomplete without walking along Nanjing Road, one of the most famous commercial streets in China.

Shanghai is divided by the Huang Pu River: on its west side is the historical and international heart of the city, Puxi; while on the east is the glittering and futuristic Pudong. Nanjing Road harmoniously blends old and new on a walking street filled with visitors and locals alike.

Founded over 100 years ago, Nanjing Road was the central artery of the International Settlement Zone of Shanghai, and thus an import hub for Western goods. These days, the road is divided in half: Nanjing East Road is lined with numerous historical sites and Nanjing West Road is flooded with new, modern constructions and luxury shops. The halves of Nanjing are divided by the People’s Square.

Nanjing is not a typical pedestrian road crisscrossed with narrow and old lanes, but a vast boulevard with an endless stream of people. Stopping at a crossroad, you may realize how alluring the street is as currents of walkers come and go with the changing colors of the traffic light.

Young local couples cross the road hand-in-hand on their way to shop and dine at the countless international and local brand stores, restaurants and cafes. Others come to shop at porcelain, silk and ivory shops or simply take a rest on wooden benches next to colorful flower beds. Older residents can be seen practicing taichi and traditional dance at dawn, among fin-de-siècle houses sandwiched between high rise buildings. Tracking its rich history, one can turn to other smaller lanes plied with lovely little old houses, or an entry gate leading to a cramped residential area next to fabric vendors, tailoring shops, traditional food kiosks and beauty salons. An electric tram system travels slowly along the 5.5km-long street, for an easy way to go around the city.

Evening is the busiest time for Nanjing Road as locals head here after work and visitors can finish their days of touring the city. This world-famous commercial road will meet all your demands for luxury goods, traditional handicrafts, good food, or simply the whimsical pursuit of people-watching.

Story: Huong Quynh

Photos: Archives

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