Get out of your car, celebrate China's heritage on foot

Jing'an is suggesting three walks to learn about the historic city's culture and heritage. The sun is shining. It is a great time of year. Get out there and learn about our city.

Shanghai is a city with a deep history, historic buildings and the joys of water and greenery. And what better time to enjoy it than on a glorious sunny summer day?

Jing’an District has drawn up three walking routes for local history enthusiasts to celebrate national Cultural and Natural Heritage Day.

Many people enjoyed a historical stroll in the sun down Shaanxi Road N. on Saturday.

Built in 1914 under the name Seymour Road, it runs from Xinzha Road to Yan’an Road M.

It has long been regarded as an epitome of the city’s inclusive spirit and international atmosphere.

It is dotted with more than 20 historical buildings of different architectural styles. They include the traditional shikumen-style Datong Lane, the neoclassical Garden House, the red-brick townhouses of Pacific Garden and the Greek revival-style of the Ohel Rachel Synagogue.

The cultural authority of Jing’an has especially picked some sites to form a walking route, linking the information office of the road, former site of the Tsung The Girls’ Middle School, the former residence of Hong Kong tycoon Ho Tung and former site of Shanghai University.

The Tsung The Girls’ Middle School, or Chongde Girls’ School, was built in 1905, where legendary actress Ruan Lingyu and the sister of Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei studied.

The school moved from Wuchang Road to Shaanxi Road in 1940. Today the site holds Qiyi High School.

Another site, former residence of Hong Kong tycoon Ho Tung, only opens to the public once a year on the Cultural and Natural Heritage Day as the site today functions as company office.

The villa was designed by Hungarian architect L.E. Hudec, who created more than 60 impressive works in Shanghai. The gate is graced by a huge lintel, and four columns with intricate decoration supporting a balcony on the second floor.

In 1958, the Zhonghua Book Company set one of its editors’ offices in the villa, where they edited the first edition of “Cihai,” one of the most authoritative Chinese encyclopedias, after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In September this year, the ninth edition will be published.

A special exhibition is on display over the weekend.

Another two walking routes are along the Suzhou Creek as part of the district’s “Roam along the Suhe Bay” campaign. The creek is where domestic commerce was born, and it witnessed historic battles against Japanese invaders.

One route links former site of Foh Sing Mill No. 1, Tianhou Palace (Mazu Temple), former site of warehouse of Bank of China, former office of the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce and Zhejiang Road Bridge.

The other links Sihang Warehouse -- a key site in the Second War against Japanese Aggression in 1937,the former site of the National Labor Union Secretariat, the exhibition Hall of the former site of the CPC Songpu Special Committee’s Office, Butterfly Park and Jing’an Children’s Library.

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