Shanghai: 5 freebies from Bund to art districts

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm •  Published: May 9, 2013
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HISTORIC SITES

The Former Residence of Mao Zedong commemorates the period in 1924 when the future leader of China's revolution was a communist activist living in Shanghai. The two-story space has period furniture and displays on early Communist Party history. The building, wedged between small shops, is an example of shikumen, or stone gate, architecture. The home is open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.- 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m., at No. 120 Maoming North Road, south of Weihai Road, a short walk south of the Nanjing West Road station on the No. 2 subway.

The Memorial of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China commemorates the first party meeting in 1921 by Mao Zedong and 12 fellow leftists — including two from the Moscow-controlled Communist International. Visitors can see the parlor where the first congress was held. The memorial on Huangpi South Road and Xingye Road south of People's Square also has a museum about party history.

The party was founded in Shanghai in hopes of inspiring a revolution by the city's factory workers. But after devastating attacks by Gen. Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government, the party withdrew to the countryside, where it led a peasant uprising that became the model for rural leftists across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Ironically, the memorial abuts the tony Xintiandi complex of boutiques and restaurants. It is a product of Deng's market-style reforms launched in the 1980s to revive an economy nearly destroyed by three decades of Soviet-style central planning.

PARKS

People's Square is the heart of modern Shanghai. Built on the site of a colonial-era horse track, it was the only large open space in the crowded city for decades until a wave of park construction in the '90s.

On the square's southern edge is the Shanghai Museum. Many items from its extensive collections of porcelains, jades, paintings and bronzes were donated by families that fled to Hong Kong following the 1949 communist victory but have since reconciled with the mainland.

To the northeast is the Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, with a scale model of Shanghai's fast-changing cityscape and exhibits on its evolution. To the northwest is the Shanghai Art Museum in the horse track's former clubhouse. It has displays of contemporary art and is the site of the Shanghai Biennale, held in even-numbered years.

The square is just south of People's Square Station on the No. 1 or 8 subways.

Fuxing Park, southwest of People's Square on the opposite side of the North-South Expressway, is a French-style park with fountains and gardens that once was part of the French Concession neighborhood during Shanghai's colonial era. In the mornings, locals dance and practice tai-chi or martial arts here.

Lu Xun Park, in the Hongkou district north of downtown, has lawns, trees and a lake. It commemorates Lu Xun, China's most prominent 20th century author, a leftist who spent his final years in Shanghai and died in 1936. His tomb in the park bears an inscription from Mao.

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AP researcher Fu Ting contributed.