A Stroll through the Shanghai of the 1930s

A Stroll through the Shanghai of the 1930s
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This great metropolis doesn’t just grow outwards with its infinite expansion, and upwards with its celebrated skyscrapers, but also downwards, underground! One indicator is its subway system, the world’s largest. And it’s exactly from a metro station, that it’s possible to check out a corner of Shanghai from the 1930s - not authentic but painstakingly recreated and every bit as fascinating. It is possible to find by, first, disentangling yourself from the tentacular corridors of the underground railway system and finding the proper exit among the 20 stops of People’s Square (lines 1, 2 and 8) - the historical and political heart of the city. The “Shanghai of the Good Old Times” is located between the underground section of the Hong Kong Shopping Centre and that of the fascinating Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. In fact, Folk Street is part of the museum, a representation of the past, while the pavilion on the surface above offers a super-detailed 1:500 scale-model of the entire city at present, as well as a virtual and fantastical vision of the Shanghai of the future. Old Shanghai can be admired among entrances of shops that recall the architecture of the ‘20s and ‘30s. Of course, there are also reconstructions of the shikumen, the residential complexes typical of the era with their arched gateways and internal courtyards. The ceiling of the tunnel is painted to look like a blue sky with white clouds. The street is flanked by perfect copies of gaslights. Visitors can get around in vintage autos and streetcars from the period, taking in the life-size reproductions of the old city with scenes of daily life, vintage clothing (including the celebrated qipao, which was born in its modern form right in Shanghai during the ‘20s) as well as another scale model of the city. Without a doubt, a unique experience in town.
Chiara Vedovetto - © 2020 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Shanghai
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