Shanghai is one of the world's largest seaports and among China's biggest industrial, commercial, financial and shipping centers. Here you will see the world's fastest means of land transportation, the maglev train, and the tallest tower in Asia, the Oriental Pearl Tower, marking metaphorically the speed and height of Shanghai. With its deepening economic reform, this city, formerly crowned as the financial, economic and trade hub of the Far East, is playing a leading role in boosting economic development in the Yangtze River Delta. Meanwhile, Shanghai has attract millions of Chinese and overseas tourists with its unique charm. As an international metropolis, Shanghai provides direct flights to more than 60 cities in the world.
Known to the world as the Oriental Pearl, Shanghai is China's major eastern gate to the outside world. As early as the Tang and Song dynasties, Shanghai functioned as a foreign trade port in East China and had mercantile ties with Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. During the reigns of Emperor Qianlong (1736- 1796) and Emperor Jiaqing(1796- 1821) of the Qing Dynasty, Shanghai turned into a navigation hub and metropolis in southeast China, which attracted numerous merchants and countless ships to the Huangpu River. What a spectacle of prosperity during that period! In the 1950s, Shanghai replaced Guangzhou as China's foreign trade center and has remained so ever since.
Today, this well-known international port has developed into China's important center of economy, finance, trade, shipping, science and technology, information and culture. The last few years have seen a rapid upgrading of Shanghai's industrial sector as a whole, led by Pudong, which is best captured by the emergence of six pillar industries: the automaking industry, the electronics-information industry, the steel-making industry, the petrochemical and fine chemical industry, the home electrical appliances and the bioengineering and pharmaceutical industry. Rejuvenating the city by relying on science and education, invigorating the city by relying on talents and striving to build a cluster of modern, world-class service industries -- these have not only become the consensus of the Shanghai people, but also turned from rhetoric to action.
One of the noted historic and cultural cities in China, Shanghai has over 70 sites of historical interest and cultural relics under the protection of the state and the municipal governments, which best represent the distinctive characteristics of Shanghai regional culture. Meanwhile, Shanghai is a cherished paradise for gourmets, who may find themselves frequenting the many thousands of restaurants that serve a complete list of China's major well-known cuisines, such as Shandong, Sichuan, Cantonese, Yangzhou, Fujian traditions, to name just a few. In addition, you may easily find your way to those competing foreign food restaurants featuring French, Russian, Italian, British, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Indian cuisines. On top of that, authentic Muslim and vegetarian foods may very well satisfy the palate of those religious enthusiasts and interested individuals. Known as the "Exhibition of the World's Architecture", Shanghai has a complete collection of buildings with different architectural styles along the Bund and elsewhere in the city. The Century Park, Shanghai Science & Technology Museum, the Jinmao Building, the International Convention Center, Dongfang Arts Center and the Oriental Pearl Tower in Pudong, flanked by the magnificent Nanpu and Yangpu bridges, which are connected by the city's elevated inner beltway, the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Grand Theater and Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center standing on the People's Square -- all these bring the city of Shanghai a brand-new look. The multi-tiered transportation system of subway, light railway, elevated expressway and the maglev train route has contributed to the city's more convenient and efficient traffic.
Shanghai is also a tourist destination that boasts quite a few tourist attractions and holiday resorts, including Sheshan State Holiday Resort, Dianshan Lake Scenic Area, the Sun Island Holiday Resort. the World Garden, the Dreamland and the Wildlife Zoo. Every year Shanghai hosts a variety of tourist festivals, such as the ] New Year's Greeting Bell-Striking at the Longhua Temple on the eve :I of the Chinese New Year, the Longhua Temple Fair, the Peach Blossom Festival in Nanhui District and the International Tea Culture Festival in spring, Shanghai Huangpu Tourist Festival in autumn and Shanghai Sweet Osmanthus Festival.
Recent years have witnessed the mushrooming of many new international festivals in Shanghai, such as the Shanghai International Film Festival, the Shanghai International Art Festival, the Shanghai International Costume Festival, and the Shanghai International Beer Festival. These fascinating festivals with distinctive Shanghai regional culture attract numerous participating tourists from both home and abroad.
Shanghai culture is the result of combining the cultures of the south and the north and melting the cultures of the east and west. The sea admits hundreds of rivers for its capacity to hold. Shanghai's great tolerance originates from its history of sufficient opening-up. The rapid rise of Shanghai owes so much to China's reform and opening to the outside world.
In its historical development, Shanghai became a small town in the Song Dynasty, a county in the Yuan Dynasty, a walled city in the Ming Dynasty. Shanghai is by no means a shining star among the numerous bright stars of China's famous ancient cities, comparable with no distant cities like Xi'an, Kaifeng and Luoyang, nor with the near cities like Nanjing, Suzhou and Hangzhou. Shanghai accelerated its development at an unusual speed after it was open to the outside world. Shanghai has started a new round of rapid development since China initiated its reform and opening drive, particularly since the early 1990s. The city is changing and taking on a new look with each passing day, pressing ahead along the road of building itself into a modernized international metropolis, with remarkable achievements recognized by the whole world. "Visit Xi'an and you'll know China's history of 2,000 years; visit Beijing and you'll know China's history of 500 years; visit Shanghai and you'll know China's history of 100 years." Shanghai has become
the symbol of modern Chinese cities.
History has favored but also wronged the city of Shanghai. History now entrusts Shanghai with a rare opportunity of development. "On your steed galloping, and on my road pioneering."
Shanghai people of the 2Pt century are not only bright, but also smart and above all, wise people with broad vision and great courage, possessing the quality of world citizens. Devoted to their jobs, keen on acquiring new knowledge, Shanghai people aspire to live a better life；they are striving to build this city into a strong, prosperous and harmonious city, a metropolis that is characteristically modern, international and fashionable.