The lane compounds of old Shanghai present myriad images rather than a single one. Those so-called shikumen, or stone-framed door, houses are the most somber of all.
They retain the aloof air of the quadruple compound, which is visible apparent from their walls and doors. Entering the doorway, you can walk through the courtyard and the sitting room-both are rather small-in just a few paces. Then a wooden staircase rises immediately at one side. It leads straight up to the wing room on the second floor, which faces the street or lane passages.
The lane compounds in east Shanghai, however, have a more cozy appearance. To complement the iron door, a balcony that projects out of the facade enables you to admire a view of the street. The wayward boughs of the oleander are allowed to stretch over the wall of the yard, reflecting the spirit of spring. But a sense of vigilance remains there: the German-made spring lock, the window grills and the sharp projections on the top of the iron door all testify to that.
The yard is guarded by the wall and the building: It seems that such a layout is designed for an easy entry but a difficult exit. In the apartment building compounds in the west of the city, each suite is a self-contained unit, where a closed door can safely keep anyone from entry. The soundproofed walls can prevent you from being heard from outside.
The passages between the rows of buildings are wide enough to prevent you from being seen from a neighboring building. The overall layout is calculated to protect your privacy. In the contented isolation you can do whatever you want, free from any external
Above is an excerpt from The Song of Eternal Sorrow, a classic novel that Wang Anyi authored in 1996. Bugaoli is one of the few remaining Shi Ku Men style buildings in Shanghai. Shi Ku Men style buildings are stone arched houses built closely together in a mixed style of East and West. These century-old buildings used to be the most typical housing for the middle class. Now they are quickly being replaced by brand new skyscrapers.
Bugaoli was built in 1930 by the French in the French Concession (colonial section). It was named 'Cite Bourgogne' by the French, and hence its Chinese name Bu-Gao-Li. Bugaoli is located at the corner of South Shan Xi Rd and Middle Jian Guo Rd. It was designed to
accommodate 78 families, and it is currently occupied by 450 households, which is a reflection of the population density in Shanghai.
Because it is the last few survivors of a dying breed, it has caused some interest for people studying the architectural history of Shanghai. If you now wish to study the history and culture of Shanghai, you should start first with its century-old lane houses.
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Fuxing Park (Fuxing gongyuan) carries the history of Shanghai. It was originally named Gujiazhai Park after the local Gu family who opened it over 100 years ago. It was renamed the French Park when the French bought it to station armies in 1900.
After World War II broke out, the French withdrew from the city and the Japanese Government took over the administration of the French Concession, the park name then became Daxing Park. After the Chinese won the anti-Japanese war in 1945, its name was finally changed to the one it still holds today-Fuxing Park.
Fuxing Park is the only French style park in Shanghai. It is well designed and many different trees provide shelter from the sun here for residents in the hottest months of the year. As a result, it is also called "carpet garden". There is also a slightly surreal sculpture of Marx and Engels (kind of one body but two heads!) in the park that was completed on the ninetieth anniversary of Engels' death on August 5, 1985.
One of the best things about the park is the bar and restaurant here known as Park 97. Once you have had a wander, watched the Tai Chi and seen Marx-Engels, why not pop in here for some great "tapas" or a drink. The Restaurant is right next to one of Shanghai's best modern art galleries too. ShangArt often have brilliant and radical exhibitions by artists from throughout China. It is always worth popping in to this small and friendly gallery to see what is on display.
Address: Fuxing Park, 2A Gaolan Lu.
How to get there: Take the subway to Huangpinan Lu and walk, or take bus number 12, 24, 42, 526 or 911.
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This gorgeous and secluded church building was originally built with funds from overseas Chinese. The Church was completed in 1925, and is located on one of the city's most prestigious and good looking streets.
The style is modern Gothic and the gorgeous red tones of the brick provide a nice contrast to the more traditional buildings on Hengshan Road. The Church has an excellent choir and various community and musical events are staged here. Regular Protestant Church services take place on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Address: 53 Hengshan Road, Xuhui District.
How to get there: Take the subway to Hengshan Road station.
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The Jade Buddha Temple (Yufo Si) was built during the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty (A.D. 1875-1909) and burned down in the early 20th century. In 1918, Jade Buddha Temple was rebuilt on Anyuan Road.
The construction of the temple is in the magnificent architectural style of the Song Dynasty. The temple is composed of several compounds such as the Halls of Heavenly Kings, the Main Hall, the Hall of the Sleeping Buddha and the Hall of the Jade Buddha.
There are monks currently living in the Temple and the Temple houses the Shanghai Buddhist Institute. Here many ancient statues, paintings, a complete set of Buddhist scriptures (printed in the Qing Dynasty), and over 7000 other rare scriptures are kept.
Address: 170 Anyuan Road
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Jingan temple is a famous and active Buddhist temple in Shanghai. Temples have been built on this site dating back to the Eastern Wu dynasty in 247 AD. The current temple was rebuilt in the Qing dynasty and was renovated in 1953,1984 and 2000.
The halls of Jingan Temple are loosely translated as follows: the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Hall of the Three Saints, the Hall of Virtuous Works and the Abbot's Chambers. The Abbot's Chambers include rooms for the chanting of scriptures.
As Jingan Temple is a very active temple, you could ask the monks when the next prayer chant will be, and surround yourself with the true sounds of Chinese Buddhism.
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