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The Bund

An Introduction to The Bund

The Bund is one of the renowned landmarks in Shanghai with its noted architectural complex and is regarded as one of the must-see places in Shanghai. It located on the west bank of the Huangpu River. The bund starts at Waibaidu Bridge, which is at the connecting point of the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek, stretching 1500 meters to East Jinling Road.  The word ‘bund’ derives from an Anglo-Indian word for an embankment along a muddy waterfront and that is what it was in the beginning, when the first British company opened an office there in 1846. It became the epitome of elegance during Shanghai’s history as a city of trade.

Before the 1840s, the Bund was a muddy narrow lane with tall reeds. It initially became a British settlement. After Shanghai was established as the trading port in 1846, a street was paved there and the riversides were reinforced. Then, rows of commercial buildings were constructed. As the UK Concession, a building boom at the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century led to the Bund becoming a major financial hub of East Asia. It was the centre of Shanghai's politics, economy and culture more than a hundred years ago, consulates of most countries and many banks, businesses and newspaper offices were settled there, and that is the reason why we have these art-like buildings.

Regarded as the Gallery of Worldwide Architecture, the Bund is replete with various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classical and Renaissance along Zhongshan East Road. Most of the buildings are remnants of colonial Shanghai, constructed pre-1930.The Bund is also considered as China’s Wall Street, as many of the buildings are occupied by major banks and financial institutions. There are also many restaurants, night-clubs and shops. 

There are three main attractions on the Bund. The first one is the sculpture group which consists of the sculpture Light of Huangpu River, sculpture Sail and sculpture Wind. The second one is Square Chenyi. There is a stone statue of Chenyi who was the first mayor of Shanghai on the square. The third one is the Sightseeing Tunnel which is the first underwater tunnel for foot passenger in China.

The florid night view of the Bund is a must-see. Under the tenet of keeping harmony and unity, the use of period lamp-posts is in keeping with the aesthetic feeling of the building structures. It fully exhibits the magnificence of the various buildings of different architectural styles and makeup of the best night scene of Shanghai together with the colorful lights floating in the river and the flashing lights on the far side of the river.

The Bund is a beautiful sight in Shanghai. It is worth braving the crowds to visit at night, when the lights of Shanghai sparkle till 10pm and reveal a truly majestic city. Of course the sight also is very beautiful during the day.

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