When you travel in the metropolis, you might be interested in the original life of local Shanghaiese and search the place where the city develops. Undoubtedly, the old downtown is the right place to find the answer.
As the most populous area in Shanghai, the old downtown has a total area of 200 hectares with around 10 gates inclusive of Old West Gate, Small North Gate, Old North Gate, New North Gate, Xinkaihe Gate, Small East Gate, Large East Gate, Small South Gate, Large South Gate. The circle has a perimeter around 7 km. In the old downtown, there are hundreds roads, streets and lanes which present you a comprehensive scene of old Shanghai.
Inside the old downtown, you will see the typical buildings inclusive of City God Temple, Chengxiang Pavilion and Confucian Temple which are in charge of religion, peace and culture separately. The City God Temple, a local famous Taoism Temple, was firstly built in 1424 A.D.in Ming Dynasty. Since then, the temple had been extended for many times and reached the peak in late Qing Dynasty. The total area reached up to 3.3 hectares. Chengxiang Pavilion was also built in 1600 in Ming Dynasty. The owner of the Yu Garden, Mr. Pan Yunduan, was the officer who was in charge with the water transportation project then. He accidently got the precious Agilawood Buddha from the river. The precious article was said to be the gift from the King from Malaysia. Mr. Pham presented the article to his mother and built a pavilion for oblation. In Qing Dynasty, the businessmen donated money to build a temple for the Agilawood Buddha. The Pavilion is a hot site for the local Shanghaiese to pray for peace and good luck.
Close to the City God Temple, Yu Garden, Nine-Zigzag Bridge and Tea House are the most visited attractions. Firstly you will pass by the typical Zigzag Bridge with nine turnings. The number “9” equals good luck and nobleness in China. The Tea House is built above water. It is a good place to have a rest and enjoy a couple of tea. The Tea House has accepted many distinguished persons such as the Queen Elizabethan II, The prime minister of Sweden, The premier of Romania and the world-famous celebrities. It was one part of the Yu Garden. Undoubtedly, Yu Garden is the most popular attraction in the old downtown. Originally built in 1559 A.D. in Ming Dynasty by the officer Pan Yundun, the garden is a stunning pearl of the private gardens in the South of Yangtze River. Nowadays, the garden covers an area around 2 hectare. In the garden, you will see the exquisitely designed pavilions, towers, corridors, rockery as well as the precious trees.
The snacks and local specialty are deserved to taste in the Old Downtown. Longxiang Small Meat Bund Store is well-known for its juicy meat bund. And Lvbolang Restaurant is famous for the Shanghai cuisine. Both of them are very popular among the tourists. You must not miss to taste it.
Finally shopping for the souvenirs in the old downtown is a very interesting experience. You can find also everything you are interested in with the China style here. You also can bargain with the venders. All the articles can be your choice of the small gifts for your friends and family.