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14 November 2021

China - Shanghai - East and West Nanjing Road


Hello Folks, Ni hao! 你好!

Spending evenings on my balcony, from which I have a beautiful view of the Saigon skyline and observing the planets and the moon, I remember the recent "hard lockdown" in the city. I have never seen such empty streets in an agglomeration of 12 million. I immediately remember Shanghai and the most crowded street - East Nanjing Road.

It is a very long street, over five kilometers long, which starts at The Bund, opposite the Oriental Pearl Tower, which I wrote about in my article, and ends at the gates of the Jing'an temple - you can read about this "golden temple" in a separate article.

What I remember the most are the countless crowds of tourists. Both local and foreign. It is a "river" of people going to or from the Bund.

The Bund is the west bank of the Yellow River, full of colonial buildings that house banks and financial institutions. It is on this bank that tourists go from the metro line 10 or line 2 to admire the panorama of high-rise buildings on the other side of the river.

The crowd is so huge that policemen have to control traffic to prevent accidents.

It looks amazing.

If you are in Shanghai, apart from the Oriental Pearl Tower, apart from the high-rise buildings located on the eastern bank of the Yellow River - Lujiazui: Syringe, Opener and Corkscrew, this is what the 3 tallest buildings in Shanghai are commonly called, it is also worth taking a walk along Nanjing Road. This can be done in several ways and necessarily in the evening.


Let's go!



Nanjing Road

The first way is to go directly to Lujiazui, to the Pearl Tower and from there through the tunnel under the Yellow River, go to the Bund. From the exit of the tunnel, you fall straight into the embrace of Nanjing Road. This is her eastern beginning.

You can also start from the western end of Nanjing Road starting at the Jing'an Temple, which I already wrote about in this article. This is the second way.

Regardless of which side you start from, the impressions of walking a five-kilometer stretch of street in the heart of Shanghai are amazing.

These are majestic hotels, colonial-style buildings, all with fabulously topped roofs, from a time when Shanghai was a rather small provincial city on both sides of the river with high aspirations, when it was not yet known that it would be the beating heart of Chinese banking and world. It is also an unprecedented concentration of shops, restaurants and shopping centers. All brands of the world are present here.

The third way is to get to the eastern part of the street by metro line 2, "green", or metro line 10, "lilac". Both lines have stations located in the basement of large department stores. In fact, you will enter the shopping center and then go straight out to the walking area.

It is worth knowing that the metro line 2 runs along the entire Nanjing Road. From Jing`an Temple Station, through West Nanjing Road, People`s Square to East Nanjing Road. So you can easily choose where to start.

Currently, the part of the street that runs from the East Nanjing Road subway station 10 - East Nanjing Road to People's Square westward has been converted into a pedestrianized street so there is no motorized traffic. Only the streets that cross Nanjing Road are passable for cars and buses. This is good news because you can also get to Nanjing Road by bus.

For me, Nanjing Road is a place where east meets west.

Western culture and architecture dominated this street due to the fact that it was the main merchant street with goods from the Far East.



At the same time, it is a very fantastic place for an evening walk, eating some meal in numerous restaurants and cafes, which are abundant here and represent all the cuisines of the world. From traditional Asian to Western fast food.

You will find here very stylish and expensive restaurants with oriental cuisine, casinos and countless shops of almost all brands in the world. For this spaghetti, beer and all kinds of fast food restaurants - KFC, Mc'Donald or Pizza Hut.

But this was not always the case on this street. Historically, it was like this.

Nanjing Road (Chinese: 南京 路) is one of the busiest shopping streets in the world, alongside Fifth Avenue, Oxford Street, Takeshita Street and the Champs Elysees. The street is named after the city of Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province adjacent to Shanghai and the former capital of the Republic of China. Today's Nanjing Road consists of two sections, Nanjing Road East and Nanjing Road West.

In some descriptions, "Nanjing Road" only refers to the site that existed before 1945 and is known today as East Nanjing Road, which is largely pedestrianized. The former Nanking Road lay entirely within the international settlement in Shanghai. Today's Nanjing Road West was formerly Bubbling Well Road, a community road built by the concession authority outside the concession proper.

The two roads meet on the northern edge of Shanghai Race Club, today's People's Square. Today, Nanjing Road is in the city center, running west-east. Its eastern part is located in the Huangpu district and stretches from the Bund west to People's Square. The western part begins at People's Square and runs west towards the Jing'an district, as far as the gate of the temple of the same name.




The history of Nanjing Road dates back to 1845. At that time it was known as "Park Lane" which stretched from Bund to He'nan Road. In 1854 it was extended to Zhejiang Road, and eight years later it was extended again to Xizang Road. In 1862, it was formally named the "Nanking Way" by the City Council that administered the International Settlement.

In Chinese, it was usually referred to as the Main Road (大 马路). Around 1930 it was a busy street with at least one casino reported.

Meanwhile, the former Bubbling Well Road was also renamed "West Nanjing Road" and the general name of both roads became "Nanjing Road" for a total of five kilometers.

At the beginning of the 20th century, eight large department stores were built along the street. A number of franchise stores were also established at that time.

On August 23, 1937, a Chinese combat aircraft attempting to bomb the Japanese ship "Izumo" missed the target, dropping four bombs on crowded nearby streets, two of which landed on Nanjing Road. About 2,000 people were killed in total.

In 2000, as part of a development plan, Nanjing Road was renovated as a prominent promenade.

The width is approximately 28 meters and the total length of the promenade is 1,200 meters. It stretches from Middle He'nan Road to Middle Xizang Road. And this part of Nanjing Road attracts the most walkers.

In 2007, the Jing'an and Huangpu boards agreed to coordinate their policies to strengthen the development of Nanjing Road by establishing an investment committee.

This agreement was made at the request of the Champs Elysees committee and took the form of a "friendship" agreement between the two famous streets.

It is under this agreement that another section of Nanjing Road, this time between Middle Henan Road and Zhongshan East Road, was also converted into a pedestrian zone. The expansion project was completed and the street was opened on September 12, 2020.



21st century

Nanjing Road is the longest shopping street in the world. It is the economic power of the entire district. At about 5.5 km long, it attracts over a million visitors a day!


Nanjing Road East (南京 东路)

This is a dedicated shopping zone.

At its eastern end there is the central part of the Bund, where the Peace Hotel is located. Directly west of the Bund has traditionally been the center of European-style restaurants and cafes, although these have become less popular in recent years as the demographics of Nanjing Road visitors shifted from affluent local residents to tourists from all over the country.

Nearby is the Central Market, a century-old open air market that specializes in electronic components and digital media today.

Further west is Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street.

Here you will see most of the oldest and largest department stores in Shanghai, as well as many flagship stores of growing local brands and several traditional restaurants with a long history.

From the perspective of the historical development of Nanjing Road, its reconstruction was driven by the desire to strengthen trade and image building.

Unfortunately, apart from the promotional effect, the commercialization of East Nanjing Road also has a restrictive effect.


Nanjing Road West (南京 西路)

The boardwalk and East Nanjing Road ends at People's Park, formerly the Shanghai Racetrack. Opposite the park are some of Shanghai's prestigious historic hotels, including the Park Hotel. This is where West Nanjing Road starts and includes many upscale shopping malls including Plaza 66, Jing An Kerry Center and HKRI Taikoo Hui, office buildings, Shanghai Exhibition Center and shops. There were also many large mansions and estates in the area before, most of which are now either demolished or used by government institutions.

West Nanjing Road, near the Jing'an Temple, was built in 1860 as the Bubbling Well Road (靜安 寺 路), an additional residential road beyond the concession proper. Once one of the most important residential areas in Shanghai, it has transformed itself over the past ten years as a result of rapid growth.

The area is now home to several five-star hotels, upscale shopping malls, restaurants and top office buildings.

More recently, the area has benefited from the construction of Subway Line 7 which connects to Line 2 at Jing'an Temple Station. West Nanjing Road has many boutiques selling luxury goods, fashion and sports brands. An interesting fact is that Starbucks has opened its own coffee roasting facility - Starbucks Reserve Roastery with an area of ​​2,800 m2 at HKRI Taikoo Hui. Together with the coffee shop, it is the largest Starbucks branch in the world.

In addition to its own roaster, it has a Shanghai-specific offer, including unique lattes and alcoholic beverages.



Access and communication

The easiest way to get to Nanjing Road is by metro line 2.

It runs along the entire Nanjing Road with the following stations and transfers to other lines:

  • Nanjing Road (E.) (E. Nanjing Rd / M. Henan Rd.), At the intersection of East Nanjing Road and Middle Henan Road.
  • People's Square (Nanjing Rd. / M. Tibet Rd.), Subway station in People's Square in the middle of Nanjing Road. Nanjing Rd / M. Tibet Road is the intersection that divides Nanjing Road into East and West.
  • Nanjing Road (W.) (W. Nanjing Rd. / Shimen Rd.)
  • Jing'an Temple (W. Nanjing Rd. / Jiaozhou Rd.), Further west of Nanjing Road.


People's Square is a transfer station to lines 1 and 8.

West Nanjing Road, in turn, allows you to change metro lines to 12 and 13.

Subway Line 10 crosses Line 2 on East Nanjing Road - in the basement of the mall. This is one of the busiest stations in Shanghai - from here millions of tourists begin their walk to The Bund.


Tourists and visitors often celebrate various holidays on Nanjing Road, such as Chinese New Years Eve, New Years Eve, Christmas and Easter. Nevertheless, throughout the year, the stream of people moves in both directions of Nanjing Road.

Good advice?

After leaving the metro station line 10 or leaving the quay of the Yellow River, take one of the streets parallel to Nanjing Road. It only takes a few dozen meters to the right or left, and you won't be walking with thousands of other tourists.

Besides, these side streets hide interesting handicraft shops and equally interesting buildings. Anyway, you will come to The Bund or the promenade on East Nanjing Road.

I can assure you that it is impossible to get lost.


Quite simply, as in Italy all roads lead to Rome, in Shanghai, all streets in the district lead to the Bund or the pedestrian street of East Nanjing Road.

Have a nice walk!

Xie Xie!  谢谢.



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