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The Bund, Shanghai

Shanghai's riverwalk divides history on one side and modern architecture on the other.

This futuristic landscape is the modern part of Shanghai, called Pudong, and it was taken from the old part of the town, the Bund. We'll get to Pudong in the coming posts, but now it's all about the Bund.


The Bund (外滩 or Wàitān) was considered Shanghai's Wall Street in the first decades of the 1900s, a riverwalk where the main banks, traders and money makers had their headquarters. Its promenade extends over 1 km from Huangpu Park, China's first public park, to the Meteorological tower.
The name probably comes from the Hindi "band" which means embankment.
 The buildings facing the river are filled with history (22 heritage buildings remaining), and this is a good starting point if you're interested in learning about the rise of Shanghai as a merchant town. Like the Bank of China, the offices were moved here from Beijing in the 1920s and it was supposed to be the tallest building in town, but the war between China and Hong Kong delayed the constructions and it opened with less height than expected.
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC) building from 1923 has an amazing mosaic ceiling inside (no photography), soon after it was established it became one of the richest and most important institutions of Shanghai.
 The Custom House is another important building, its bell tower, "the Big Ching" is inspired by London's Big Ben and during the cultural revolution it was replaced by loudspeakers that broadcasted revolutionary songs and slogans.

 The Fairmont Peace Hotel is probably the most famous building on the Bund. Built in the 1920s as the Sassoon House, it became the most famous hotel in Shanghai, hosting famous people like Charlie Chaplin, George B. Shaw and many foreign heads of State
 Its beuatiful art deco interiors are worth a visit (either by yourself or on a guided tour) and if you happen to be around in the evening, there's an amazing jazz band playing in the bar.

 Nowadays the Bund is a popular destination for its views over Pudong and the numerous bars and restaurants offering these views on the rooftops of some of these heritage buildings. Some famous names are: M on the Bund (brunch and high tea), Mr. & Mrs. Bund (fancy dining), Bar Rouge (cocktails), House of Roosevelt (wine cellar).