A Guide to Shanghai - China's Largest City
Shanghai situated on China's east coast is not just the-peoples-republic-of-china's largest city, it is the largest city in the world, both by population and area.
To give you some idea of this 20,000 sq km city of 20 million people, in comparison New York has an area of 11,000 sq km and a population of 8.4 million, Tokyo, japan's sprawling capital is 6,993 sq km with a population of 12.7 million and london capital of the uk is a mere 1,706 sq km with a population of 7.5 million.
Or put another way, the entire European country of Slovenia, at 20,251 sq km would fit into the city just about, or the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon, at 10,000 sq km would fit into the city twice !
This vast metropolis grew up around it's deep water port situated on the river-yangzte delta, which is now the world's largest container port and the most important tranport hub in Asia.
The port area now stretches along the coast of the East China Sea from the centre of Shanghai towards it's main terminal at Yangshan, covering an area of 679 sq km.
The port is capable of handling a staggering 15 million TEU's ( that's ships containers to you and me ) a year and can accommodate the largest ships in the world owing to it's deep inshore waters.
The port area is linked to the rest of the city by way of the huge Donghai Bridge.
The Donghai Bridge.
Where the river-yangzte meets the East China Sea at Hangzhou Bay, the area is linked to the rest of the city by way of the 35 km long Hangzhou Bay Bridge, the world's longest trans - oceanic bridge, which carries a six lane expressway.
All this has seen a mass migration of people from the-peoples-republic-of-china's interior flocking to the city in order to find work at the port, which has inturn led to an upsurge in construction to accommodate these people as well as an upsurge in foreign investors using the city as a hub for the shipping and cargo industries.
The Hangzhou Bay Bridge.
The city proper is 5,299 sq km at it's urban core, divided into east and west Shanghai by the 400 metre wide Huangpu River, which seperates the old city area of Puxi on the west bank, from the sprawling modern business area of Pudong on it's east bank.
Pedestrians can traverse the river by way of a slow transit train system, that has an illuminated light show projected onto the tunnel walls, a feature which has become a hit with tourists.
The river is the source of the city's fresh water supply and the two areas are linked by way of the massive Nanpu Bridge and freeway.
The Nanpu Bridge and freeway.
The municipality that surrounds the main city core covers an area of over 7,000 sq km, which inturn is surrounded by 6,340 sq km of suburbs, the city also contains three offshore islands within it's environs, Changxing, Hangsha and Chongming, which were once home to small rural communities, but have seen a swelling of their populations due to the relocation of migrants from the 3 Gorges Dam area, the largest hydro electric plant in the world, which saw the destruction of thousands of acres of land in order to build it.
The island of Chongming is also the home to one of china's many National Parks and is the planned location of China's first eco - city at Dongtan.
The island is linked to the rest of the city by way of a recently constructed bridge and tunnel system.
The Puxi viaduct.
The city has gained a reputation as being the fastest growing economy, not just in china, but in the world, which subsequently has given rise to the world's largest business district based at Pudong.
Shanghai is home to some of the world's leading banking and shipping companies including the headquarters of the international HSBC Bank. ( Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank ).
The city's 18 districts are all linked by way of the city's vast metro system of high speed rail trains, a system 420 km / 261 miles long, with 12 routes which are accessed by 264 stations.
THE BUND BOTH BY DAY AND BY NIGHT.
Considering all this, the city has thankfully not forgotten it's roots and still sports a fine array of classical Chinese architecture as well as more modern forms since the city's growth in the mid 1800's, as well as the more modern masterpieces it is most famous for today, with the city promenade, known as The Bund, housing 52 different styles of architecture.
China's three tallest buildings, The Oriental Pearl at 468m / 1,535ft. The World finance Centre at 492m / -1,614ft. The Jinmao Tower at 421m / 1,380 ft. All of which are situated along Shanghai's Riverside Promenade, The Bund.
The city is also surrounded by acres of green parks and stunning public gardens, and the old quarter at Puxi hosts a myriad of classical Chinese pagodas,religious temples and the more traditional shops, cultural centres, galleries, museums and restaurants you would expect to find in China.
Shanghai's main shopping area is the pedestrianised Nanjing Street.
The city is served by two airports, with the International Pudong Airport accessed by it's own high speed train link system.
The airport, which occupies a 40 sq km site, was opened in 1999 and is one of only three in china that is open 24 / 7.
The airport has been classified as the third busiest airport in the world, by passenger number.
Pudong international Airport.
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From May1st until October 31st, 2010 Shanghai hosted the international worlds fair's International Expo Exhibition, with the theme ' A better city - a better life ' signifying Shanghai's new status in the 21st century's world economy.
100 countries signed up to be part of the six month long international fair, which was staged at several different venues around the city.
Vast numbers of tourists have been visiting the city in the past decade.The city is a haven for people interested in modern architecture, Chinese culture and international shipping,
The HSBC Bank headquarters situated along the Bund promenade.
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© D.B.Bellamy. April 2010.
All images courtesy of wikimedia commons.