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Home Shanghai Attractions The Bund of Shanghai

The Bund of Shanghai Introduction


The Bund crowned to be the Old Shanghai Exotic building Clusters is the most famous tourist attraction of Shanghai, and someone considers it as the landmark of Shanghai and the witness of Shanghai history. It is an epitome of Shanghai in the past 150 years, and the show of the capitalism of old Shanghai. The Bund located at the connecting point of Huangpu River and Suzhou River is opposite to Pudong Lujiazui Financial District. It approximately is 1,800 meters from North Section of Suzhou Road to Jinling East Road, and the whole landform is like the shape of crescent. Visiting to Shanghai, the bund and its exotic building clusters are the must-see destinations. The spotlights for traveling the bund include: The Old Shanghai Exotic Building Clusters featuring 26 large buildings of western and china’s styles, Zhongshandongyilu(中山东一路) comprised of 10 roadways connecting the four directions of Shanghai, the featured fountains, city sculptures and virescence, the Lujiazui Financial District and the Lovers’ Wall of the Bund.

The History of the Bund

Originally as the deserted beach of Huangpu River, the Bund used to be the riverside bottomland at the northern side of old downtown Shanghai. Also called Huangpu Road, Yangzi Road and Huangputan Road, the Bund was changed to be Zhongshandongyilu in 1945. In 1843, Shanghai was forced to open, and George Balfour(1809-1894), the first consul of the United Kingdom to Shanghai, took a fancy to the area of the Bund. In 1845, in the name of the so-called” The Shanghai Land Regulations”, the consulate of UK designated an area including the Bund as the Concession of UK. In 1849, the southern part of UK Concession was marked as the Concession of France. But the towering and significant building clusters were thoroughly completed by the end of 1930s. These diverse buildings featuring the multi-cultural charm and co-existence of classicism and modernism have been the great highlights of Shanghai travel resources. Used to be the political, financial and cultural center of the foreign powers in Shanghai, the bund had many consulates of different countries and the banking institutions, and these buildings shape the renowned exotic buildings clusters in Shanghai. The gothic fastigium, ancient Greek fornix, baroque pillars and Spanish balcony are all attractive. They give the Bund the limitless beauty and charm. During this period, Shanghai became the symbol of the Far-East largest economic center. After the large-scale resurfacing and reconstruction in 1992, the bund revitalizes itself and has been selected as the favorite attraction of Shanghai, the buildings represented by the Bank of China, Peace Hotel, Custom House, HSBC Building designed by different architects, but their hues are basically similar. So someone says: the story of the Bund is the story of Shanghai. This is quite reasonable. Standing by the Peace Hotel (Cathay Hotel), viewing the Jin Mao Tower and Oriental Pearl Tower is another feeling of Shanghai.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank
The Bund of Shanghai: The Building of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and The Customs House on the Bund. Both are the main buildings on the Bund

The Historic Buildings of The Bund in Shanghai

Shanghai Club Building

Originally called the Royal Club for British emigrants’ activity, Shanghai Club Building was built in 1910 at the cost of 450,000 liang Silver(两白银, the currency unit used before the foundation of the Republic of China). The whole architectural style belongs to the style of Italian Renaissance, which is featured with the symmetry of buildings. The whole building centering on the main gate takes the gate as its vertical axis, and the left and the right are symmetrical. The space between the third floor and the fourth floor is kept by six ionic columns. And the ionic column is characterized of the tall and thin columns, and the top of the columns is featuring the shape of volution, which traditionally shows the feminine beauty. Apart from this, there are also two other styles of columns called Doric Column, and it has the thick body, and the top of the column is the prominent roundness, and traditionally this kind of column is the symbol of masculine beauty. By the way, the Custom House of Shanghai also has such a kind of columns. And the second one is Corinthian column, which traditionally is the symbol of magnate. HSBC Bank and Jardine Matheson & Company Building both use this kind of columns to show their fortune. What is more, the Far-East No.1 bar counter is in this building. The length of the counter is 34 meters long. The north side of lobby is the round stair and the half-round elevator with iron fence. The indoor decoration is absolutely done by Japanese designers, and the decoration is similar to that of the imperial palace of Japan, so the building also boasts the London of Japan. Currently, this building has been written into the Cultural Relic List of Municipal Protection Unit of Shanghai

Asia Building (Asiatic Petroleum Building)

Asia Building also known as Mc Bain Building is the key cultural relic under the state protection, and today it is the headquarters of the Construction Project Information Committee (CPIC). Crowned to be the No.1 Building of the Bund, is built in 1913. Originally Asia Building has seven floors, and later one more was added. The exterior is the style of eclecticism, and the main part is the style of baroque, and the column is the ionic style.

Union Building

Union Building is the key cultural relic under the state protection, and today it is the office of a Singapore’s private investment company. In 1922, the old house was reconstructed and was the first steel-frame building in Shanghai. It is said that the steel frame was bought from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Company. The whole building is comprised of six floors, and the main part is featured of the style of renaissance, and the exterior decorative style is the baroque. The columns on the both sides of the gate are the ionic style.

Shanghai Peace Hotel
The Bund of Shanghai: The Building of Shanghai Peace Hotel

Nissin Building

Nissin Building is the key cultural relic under the state protection and today it is the shanghai branch office of Huaxia Bank. The Nissin Building was built by Nissin Bank in 1925. The whole building was designed by UK’s Shanghai Real Estate Agency (Lester, Johnson&Morriss). The whole building is comprised of six stories, and belongs to the armored concrete building. The whole architectural style features the modern architectural style of Japan.

China Merchants Bank Building

Also called Yuanfang Building(元芳大楼) is the key cultural relic under the state protection. Originally this building is a three-storey house made of bricks and woods, and it belongs to the architectural style of East India, exactly the gothic building. In 1897, it was the office of China Merchants Bank Building, Chinese first native bank. So the significance of this building is not only shown in the aspect of art and history but in Chinese financial history. In 1906, the building was rebuilt and redesigned by UK’s Morrison & Gratton Design Office, and the whole decoration style is featured of the strong color widely used in European religious architecture. The whole building is the best place to view the beauty of Huangpu River.

Telegram Building

Telegram Building is the key cultural relic under the state protection. Originally was the property of Russell & Co. the building was bought by China’s Ship Business Soliciting Bureau(轮船招商局), and belonged to the Telegram Bureau, and the building belongs to the neo-classicism style. The whole building is comprised of 5 floors, and the diverse classical columns make the building quite attractive. The both sides of the top floor are featured of the rococo style. So, the telegram building is not as large as others, but the features of the architecture are quite different.

Russell & Co. Building

Also called Gangjian Building(港监大楼) is the key cultural relic under the state protection. In 1901, Ship Business Soliciting Bureau reconstructed the Russell & Co. Building, and the new building was designed by Atkinson&Dallas Architects and Civil Engineers Ltd. The whole building is made of the bricks and woods and comprised of three floors. It belongs to the neo-classicism style of building. On the second and third floors, there are the interior balconies. The space is kept by the classical columns.

HSBC Building

Also called Huifeng Building(汇丰大楼) and Shifu Building(市府大楼, Municipal Building), HSBC Building used to be the office of Shanghai Municipal Government. Currently, it is the office of PDK (Pudong Development Bank). HSBC Building is the most eye-catching one in the exotic building clusters. Originally built in 1925, the exterior layout is quite close to the square, and comprised of seven stories. The top is a semi-sphere roof. The whole architectural structure belongs to the steel framework, and the exterior is made of the bricks and woods, and the interior is featured of the classicism: the ionic columns, sunk-panel ceiling, the marble-paved floor, breast wall and pillars. Besides, it is also installed with the central heating as well as the most advanced air-conditioning equipments at the time. Used to be the branch of HSBC, USA in Shanghai, Shanghai HSBC Building was highly commented by the American to be most exquisite architecture from Suez Canal to Far-East Bering Strait. There used to be two attractive copper-made lion statues in front of the gates when the building was completed. It was said that the copper-formed mold was broken down once the lion statues were completed. Hence, this pair of lion statues is quite valuable. Nowadays, the lion statues have been presented to Shanghai History Museum. Another highlighted scene in HSBC Building is eight large wall paintings comprised of millions of colorful mosaic parts with just several square centimeters large. The whole painting is 4.3 meters long and 2.4 meters wide. And they respectively portrait the architecture of Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Bangkok and Calcutta, also the themes were also mixed with some images of mythical characters. There are also 24 pictures themed with the animals existing in myths. The huge roof is themed with the mythic stories, and the total area of the roof painting is approximately 200 square meters. In the wall painting, there is also a sentence: four seas all men are brothers, a symbol of the new century is approaching, the whole world peace and prosperity.

The Customs House

As the sister building of HSBC Building, the Customs House belonging to the key cultural relic under the state protection is currently used by Shanghai Customs. Initially built in 1927, the architectural style is the compromise show of European classical building and modern architectural styles. The customs house is comprised of the east and west parts. The east part is 7 floors and built in Jinshan Stone, and the west part extending to Sichuan Zhonglu(四川中路) is 5 floors. The top is the bell tower. And the bell tower is the axis, the whole architecture is quite significant and towering, the bell-tower part is the gothic style and as tall as ten floors. The bell of the building is copied from the big bell of the Capitol of USA. And the parts of the bell were all transported to Shanghai from USA and finally assembled in Shanghai. It is said that the cost of the bell is more than 2, 000 liang silvers and is the biggest bell in Asia and also one of the most famous bells in the world. The Customs House stands on the riverfront of Huangpu River and its bell sound is quite rousing, and it represents the solemnity and the great mission.

The Building of Bank of Communications in Shanghai

Today, called the Building of Shanghai Federation of Trade Unions, the Building of Bank of Communications in Shanghai is the key cultural relic under the state protection. This building was built in October, 1948 and belongs to the last building of the bund constructed before the liberation of Shanghai. Designed by C.H.Gonda, the whole building is comprised of six stories. The whole architectural style is highlighted with the pragmatism.

The Russo-Chinese Bank Building

Also called Huasheng Building and Building of Central Bank, The Russo-Chinese Bank Building belongs to the key cultural relic site under the national protection. Currently, it is the office of Shanghai Foreign Exchange Center. The building was completed in 1902, and the designer was Heinrich Beck, a German, and the exterior is featured of the architectural style of Italian renaissance.

Taiwan Bank Building

Belonging to the key cultural relic site under the national protection, Taiwan Bank Building currently is the office of Merchants Bank. Built in 1924, the whole building is featured of the armored concrete structure and mixed wit the Japanese architectural style, meanwhile also absorbing the merits of other different architectural style.

the view of pudong seen from the bund
The Fantastic View of Pudong New Area, Lujiazui Economic Zone, Seen from the Bund

North China Daily News Building

Also called Guilin Building(桂林大楼),belonging to the key cultural relic site under the national protection, currently is the office of American International Assurance Company Limited in Shanghai. The building was built in 1921 and designed by Lester,Johnson&Morriss. It is an important building of the bund featuring the architectural style of modernism and neo-classicism.

Chartered Bank Building

Also called Chunjiang Building, Chartered Bank Building is the key cultural relic site under the national protection. Originally built in 1923, the building features the architectural style of eclecticism of renaissance.

Huizhong Hotel Building

Currently is the south building of Shanghai Peace Hotel, Huizhong Hotel Building is the key cultural relic site under the national protection. In 1906, it was reconstructed. The total building is 30 meters high and comprised of six floors. The exterior is featured with the renaissance style of architecture. There is a garden on the roof. The east and west sides of the garden have respectively a baroque arbor. In summer, sitting in the east arbor is quite good for appreciating the view of Huangpu River Tide. 1911, there was a large ceremony held in this hotel to congratulate Dr. Sun Yat-sen on acceding to the Temporary President of the Republic of China.

Sassoon House

Currently is the north building of Shanghai Peace Hotel, Huizhong Hotel Building is the key cultural relic site under the national protection. Originally built in 1929, Sassoon House is the first real modernism-style building in the modern architectural history of Shanghai. The whole building is comprised of 10 stories, and totally 77 meters tall. It was the tallest building in Shanghai at the time.

Bank of China Building

Belonging to the cultural relic site under the national protection, it currently is the branch of Bank of China in Shanghai. Originally built in 1937, Bank of China Building is the only one designed and built absolutely by Chinese people. And it is one of the most successful skyscrapers in Shanghai. The whole building is comprised of two parts. The east one is the main building with 17 floors, which features Chinese native style of architecture. The west one is a four-story armored concrete architecture. Bank of China Building is a successful building characterized of the oneness of the western architecture and Chinese traditional architecture.

Yokohama Specie Bank Building

Yokohama Specie Bank Building belonging to the national key protection site and today is the Shanghai Branch of China Construction Bank. Initially built in 1924, the whole building is 7 floors and belongs to the Japanese style of architecture.

Jardine Matheson Building

Belonging to the cultural relic site under the national protection, Jardine Matheson Building currently is the office of Shanghai Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Department. Originally built in 1920, the whole building is strongly featured of the architectural style of UK to the ancient buildings. The whole architecture is comprised of 5 stories plus 2 stories added in 1983.

The Night View of the Bund of Shanghai
The Night View of the Bund of Shanghai
The Night View of the Bund of Shanghai

Pudong Development Bank Building

Belonging to the cultural relic site under the national protection, Pudong Development Bank Building was built in 1920. The whole architectural style is similar to Jardine Matheson Building. The highlights of the building are its bionical architecture on the roof.

Banque de l'Indochine Building

Belonging to the cultural relic site under the national protection, Banque de l'Indochine building at present is the Shanghai Branch of China Everbright Bank. Initially built in 1914, the whole architecture is featured of the French architectural style of classicism.

British Consulate Building

Belonging to the cultural relic site under the national protection, British Consulate Building was built in 1849, and reconstructed in 1952. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed in the fire in 1870, and today’s building was rebuilt in 1873. The whole building is featured of the architectural style of Britain in the period of renaissance.

Broadway Mansion

Also called Shanghai Tower, the Broadway Mansion Building currently is the location of Broadway Mansion Hotel Shanghai. Originally built in 1934, the whole architecture is comprised of 22 stories and 88 meters high. Especially, there is a broad view platform on the 18th floor, which is the perfect site to view the sight of the bund. what should be mentioned is that the subsidiary building of Broadway Mansion also called Pujiang Hotel(浦江饭店) and Richard’s Hotel was built in 1910 and comprised of 6 stories. It is a quite famous historic hotel in Shanghai. And in the hotel, there are the senior featured suites, and the preferred hotels of many countries’ leaders and tourists.

Waibaidu Bridge(外白渡桥, Exterior Free-Ferry Bridge)

Located on the west side of Huangpu Park, Waibaidu Bridge crosses the Suzhou River. This historic bridge was built in 1907 and belonged to the first steel-made bridge in Shanghai. The span of the bridge is 52.16 meters and the width is 18.3 meters. It is the quite important access to east region of Shanghai from downtown region. Because it is located at the site of exterior ferry, and in the past, people went across the river was free of charge, the name of this bridge was called Waibaidu Bridge, or Exterior Free-Ferry Bridge.

Russia Consulate General in Shanghai

Located on the north side of Waibaidu Bridge as well as the joint point of Suzhou River and Huangpu River, the building of Russia Consulate General was built in 1916, and the total area of the building is 1,700 square meters. The whole building is comprised of four stories plus the attic. On the both sides of the gate, there are the double columns of the classicism. There is also a observatory tower on the second floor.

Meteorological Signal Tower 

Meteorological Signal Tower is one of the landmarks of the bund and written into the List of National Cultural Relics under the National Protection. In 1884, French Catholic League built the Xujiahui Observatory, and set up the signal tower in today’s bund of Shanghai. In 1907, the signal tower was reconstructed to be a column style building. The building is 50 meters high. For protecting this building, the whole tower was moved 20 meters to the east side in the reconstruction project of the bund in 1993.


 The Highlighted Attractions of Shanghai

the bund of shanghai shanghai yuyuan garden shanghai nanjing road shanghai museum
The Bund of Shanghai Shanghai Yuyuan Garden Shanghai Nanjing Road Shanghai Museum
shanghai world financial center shanghai jade buddha temple suzhou city god temple shanghai oriental pearl tower
World Financial Center Jade Buddha Temple Shanghai City God Temple Oriental Pearl Tower

 The Travel Guide of Shanghai

shanghai travel shanghai tours shanghai attractions shanghai travel tips
Shanghai Travel Shanghai Tours Shanghai Attractions Shanghai Travel Tips

Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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