Shanghai World Expo 2010>Video>Days and Nights in Shanghai
UPDATED: May 21, 2010 Web Exclusive
Days and Nights in Shanghai - Episode Three


The Bund—the most renowned Shanghai landmark—is home to a variety of architectural styles that add to the landscape along the Huangpu River.

In the late 19th century, a number of foreign and Chinese banks set up branch offices and headquarters along the west bank of the Huangpu River. The area, which was named the Bund, became Shanghai's financial street and later earned the name the "Oriental Wall Street." Owning a piece of land on the Bund was regarded as a symbol of wealth and honor. After acquiring land, the commercial and financial firms began massive, intricate construction projects. More than 20 buildings in different architectural styles, most of which have been built or rebuilt three or more times, stand proudly on the relatively small Bund area.

The Bund is home to the headquarters of the China Pacific Insurance Co. Ltd., located in what was originally called the Asia Building. Built in 1913 by the Asiatic Petroleum Co., the Asia Building was once the tallest building on the Bund and is the oldest high rise in Shanghai.

The Bund was also once home to the most luxurious club in the city—the Shanghai Club. Now, the East Wind Hotel stands on the former entertainment venue's location, and although not exclusively a club, the hotel boasts a 110-foot-long bar—once the longest in the Far East.

The English-language newspaper North China Daily News, established by British residents in Shanghai in 1850, once had offices on the Bund. The newspaper was the largest in Shanghai and continued publication until 1951.

The classically designed former Shanghai headquarters of the Standard Chartered Bank, built in 1923, has been preserved by the Shanghai Government as an architectural relic. When people walk into the restored building today, they can still see the four original marble columns taken from a 200-year-old Italian church.

The Peace Hotel, one of Shanghai's earliest hotels established more than 100 years ago, also stands proudly along the Bund stretch. With a classical Western style, it was once known as the No. 1 Mansion in the Far East.

But two buildings that particularly stand out are the Customs House and former headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC), now called the HSBC Building.

Built in 1927, the Customs House was a sister construction of the HSBC Building. The clock on the building's facade, known as Big Ching, is the biggest in Asia—its clock and bell mechanism were made according to the design of Big Ben in London. Tourists and residents who frequent the Bund can hear it play The East Is Red every quarter hour.

The HSBC Building is also a truly unique structure. Its three bronze doors and bronze lions were specially cast in Britain. The cast mold was destroyed after the lions were completed, making the two proud bronze beasts a rare find. The building's spacious business hall ceiling is adorned with eight colorful mosaic murals depicting architectural landscapes from eight world metropolises from the early 20th century, including Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Bangkok and Calcutta. The building was widely considered the most elegant from the Suez Canal in Egypt to the Bering Strait in eastern Russia.

More Video >>
Episode One: The Waibaidu Bridge
Episode Two: The Shiliupu Dock
Episode Three: The Bund
Episode Four: Chenghuang Temple & Yu Garden
Episode Five: Tianzifang
Episode Six: The Bust of Alexander Pushkin
Episode Seven: Shanghai World Financial Center
Episode Eight: Riverside Avenue
Episode Nine: Xintiandi
Episode Ten: Nanjing Road
Episode Eleven: Hengshan Road
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