Children fly the balloons during the completion ceremony of bund renovation project to welcome the 2010 World Expoin Shanghai, March 28, 2010.
The Bund, Shanghai’s landmark waterfront district and once known as the “Wall Street of Asia”, reopens Sunday after a major facelift as Shanghai attempts to relaunch itself as one of the world’s great financial centers.
Its three-year $415 million restoration, including the building of a six-lane underground tunnel for through traffic, revamping the pedestrian riverfront promenade and adding green space, is a key part of the city’s $45 billion investment for the Shanghai World Expo 2010, the giant international trade fair that will open on the opposite side of the Huangpu River on May 1st.
The 1.8-kilometre, newly marbled walkway along the Huangpu River will offer the best views of the city of Shanghai – past and future. Turn one way to see Shanghai’s 21st Century Bund – Pudong’s new skyscrapers and modern towers across the river. Turn the other, and the graceful neo-classical and art nouveau buildings along the Bund that once inspired people to call Shanghai the Paris of the East are at your feet.
The Peace Hotel, which once hosted Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, has had a full refurbishment, while the Peninsula hotel chain, which was founded in Shanghai in 1866 and once operated four hotels here, the last closing in 1949, has reopened.
The long bar of the Shanghai Club, once the watering hole of the city’s elite, is also to reopen next year, now managed by Waldorf Astoria.
Highlights of the new Bund
The famous 2,000-meter-long promenade is said by city planners to be “as charming and friendly to tourists as the Champs Elysee in Paris.?
The promenade was once a quite place for lovers to walk, hold hands or nuzzle along the banks of the Huangpu River. Today it’s wider, and still friendly to couples. Around 2,000 seats have been installed around the squares for tourists. Baby-changing rooms have been set up.
Parks and Squares
A 2,600-square-meter waterfront platform in the Huangpu Park Square is designed for viewing both sides of the Huangpu River.
A bronze bull sculpture, like the one on Wall Street, will be set in the Financial Square. Information screens will broadcast financial news. Two other squares are Chen Yi Square and Observatory Square, all connected by walkways, the riverside promenade and large areas of greenery.
The bridge, which is known as Garden Bridge, at the north end of the Bund area was dismantled and moved away to make room for underground tunneling work. The restored Waibaidu Bridge made its return last year.
It offers a spectacular view of the Bund and Huangpu River.
The new Bund has three levels ?the waterfront platform, squares and Zhongshan Road. Before the renovation, visitors had to use the tunnel or the overpass to cross Zhongshan Road.
The Shiliupu area at the southern end of the Bund has been transformed into a business venue, connected with a traffic hub, which is a terminal for four city bus routes and tourist buses.
The dock is also a cruise-ship terminal with 12 berths for river sightseeing vessels.
Street smart: The Bund, Shanghai
Much of 1930s Shanghai has disappeared but here on the Bund you can still glimpse the pre-war decadence and sophistication at a host of reinvented glamour bars, restaurants and shops.
THREE ON THE BUND
Designed by American architect Michael Graves, Three on the Bund houses, inter alia, four of the city's top eateries, a spa with rivers of flowing Evian, and the city's flagship Armani store.
Start your exploring at Three on the Bund, a buzzy, multi-floor reincarnation of an elegant post-Renaissance building. Here you’ll find an exciting melting pot of art, culture, food, fashion, pampering and music. Four original restaurants cover most palates, including nouveau French by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Mod Oz by Greek-Australian David Laris. New Heights cafe on the top floor is less fancy (and less pricey) than the others, making it a popular spot for a drink under the stars. On the floors below you’ll find the impressive Shanghai Gallery of Art, the chi-chi Evian Spa and enough high-end stores to rattle the strongest of wills (Armani recently opened its China flagship store here, the first major fashion house to take up residence on the Bund).
No. 3 The Bund, entrance at 17 Guang Dong Road; +86 (21) 6323 3355; threeonthebund.com.
Monument to the People's Heroes at Huangpu Park, Shanghai
Greenis always gold in Shanghai, where high-rises and 24-7 construction are the norm. Huangpu Park is the oldest and smallest park in the city, sitting pretty at the northern end of the Bund. Here you’ll find the impressive Monument to the People’s Heroes, a 24-metre concrete monolith honoring those who helped to free China from foreign occupation. Drop by at dawn to witness legions of elderly Chinese practicing tai chi and qigong. Also in the park is the small but well-formed Bund Historical Museum, showing the history of the Bund in old black-and-white photographs.
The Bund, near the intersection with Beijing East Road.
THE HSBC BUILDING
The HSBC building completed in 1923, was the second largest bank building in the world at that time, after the Bank of Scotland building in UK
Architecture buffs won’t want to miss a peek into the vast lobby area of the renovated HSBC Building. Built in 1923, it’s one of the best examples of neo-classicism in China. In its heyday it was called “the most luxurious building from the Suez Canal to the Bering Strait”. It was renovated a decade ago, with the work revealing exquisite mosaic murals of world cities. A quick-thinking architect had the mosaics covered over in paint to save them from destruction by the Red Guards.
No. 12 the Bund.
M ON THE BUND
M's signature pavlova dessert
Australian Michelle Garnaut is a visionary. When she created her signature restaurants and bar on the Bund a dozen years ago, the area was derelict and unpopular. Today, the roll-call of guests who have eaten at M on the Bund includes Kevin Rudd, Henry Kissinger, Richard Branson, Kate Moss, Kylie Minogue, Bette Midler and John Galliano. The adjoining Glamour Bar is the most popular bar in Shanghai, a luxe, grown-up establishment with excellent views where bankers from Paris mix with starlets from Hollywood. The epic cocktail list includes terrific martinis. Sunday afternoon tea is also a treat.
No. 5 the Bund (corner of Guangdong Lu); +86 (21) 6350 9988; m-restaurantgroup.com.
THE PEACE HOTEL
The Peace Hotel is also the former Sasson House, a 13-story building that was the tallest in Shanghai at that time.The Sasson family gained incredible wealth through opium smuggling.
If these walls could talk … the Peace Hotel (originally the Cathay) stands proud and legendary along the Bund, a keeper of glamorous secrets from the 1930s, old Shanghai’s most decadent period. Back then, every night was an excuse for diplomats and celebrities to dress up and play. On March 28, after a three-year renovation and millions of dollars spent, the fabled hotel reopens as the Fairmont Peace Hotel. The new owners have promised the art deco ambience won’t be lost in the swanky makeover.
The Bund (enter from Nanjing Road East); fairmont.com.
THE Bund opened as the Treaty of Nanjing went into effect, opening Shanghai for trade with the Western world.
Shanghai Land Regulation was signed by Britain and Shanghai. It established the residential area for Britons in Shanghai as the region west of the Huangpu River and north of Yangjingbang River (today where Yan’an Road E. goes). It established the Lijiachang area (south of Beijing Road E.) where British businessmen could rent and build residences.
Huangputan Road was open at the Bund area with foreign businessmen’s requests. The customs of the
Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) moved to the Bund.
Waiyangjingbang Bridge was built on the Yangjingbang River (today’s Yan’an Road E.) at the Bund. Wills Bridge was built at the north part of the Bund.
The British concession area expanded continuously, overseas capital flooded in. More than 40 foreign fi rms were set up along the Bund.
More than 61 foreign firms were operating on the Bund, which became the biggest finance and trade
center in the Far East.
Gas street lamps were installed on the Bund. Foreign firms used gas lamps for lighting.
The Municipal Committee built the Public Garden (now Huangpu Park) at the south Bund.
Shanghai Electric Construction Co began operation. Arc lights replaced gas light on the Bund.
The first public bus line opened at the Bund.
The Bank of China, Shanghai Branch, opened on the Bund. There were 167 foreign- and China-invested banks and fi nancial institutions on the Bund. The Bund architectural complex was mostly complete.
Shanghai was liberated. All of the Bund architectural complexes were nationalized.
The lighting project for the Bund architectural complex began. Flood-lighting technology was used to perfect the Bund night scene.
Two flood control retaining walls, one for Huangpu Park and one for the Bund, were completed.
Monument to the People’s Heroes was unveiled. Renovated Bund featured a 1,820- meter-long viewing platform.
Some foreigninvested banks, foreign-invested insurance companies and domestic financial institutions returned to the Bund.
The city decided to illuminate the Bund every night. In 1995 the lighting for more than 40 buildings was remote-controlled.
The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel linking the Bund and Pudong New Area opened on National Day. The tunnel was 647 meters long and the distance could be traveled in a few minutes.
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