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STREET STORIES - NANJING ROAD!

Picture source: Asian Art Museum

In a city overloaded with historical events, every street is like an individual history book. In this new series of posts we will give you a compilation of facts about the ones that are probably most historically ‘saturated’.

NANJING ROAD

Picture source:Wordly Resort

1.     Shanghainese name – Nuecin Lu.

2.    In 1845 it was known as ‘Park Lane’ and stretched  from the Bund to racecourse on today’s He’nan Road.

3.   In 1854 it was extended to Zhejiang Road and then stretched further to Xizang Road in 1862.

Picture Source: Ideal Shanghai

4. In 1862 the Municipal Council named it Nanking Road, but in Chinese it was called 马路 – Great/Big Horse Road.

5. According to “History of Shanghai” that was published by Shanghai Municipal Council in 1921, English missionary Walter Henry Medhurst suggested that “the settlement road names should be made intelligible to the tens of thousands of natives who had crowded into the limits for safety from the Taiping Rebellion.” Thereafter, Park Lane was renamed Nanjing Road after the ancient Chinese capital city.

Picture source:Pinterest

6.    In 1945 Government decided to rename the former ‘Bubbling Well Road’ into West Nanjing Road and the other end became East Nanjing Road.

Picture source: Wikimedia

7.     The street became so prominent that it came to symbolize old Shanghai, and nicknamed “Shi Li Yang Chang” or “10-mile-long foreign metropolis.”

Picture source:Wikimedia

8.      According to Tongji University Professor Chang Qing - “Archival photos show that the eastern section of Nanjing Road, from the Bund till Henan Road, was more foreign-owned and had a Western look, while the street scenes from Henan to Xizang roads were more Chinese. Nanjing Road gradually took its shape after enduring long-time contacts and competitions between Chinese and Westerners on social and urban space.”

Picture source: Great Wall Adventures

9.    Shanghai historian Xiong Yuezhi, editor-in-chief of the book “General History of Shanghai said “Many of China’s modern facilities made its debut on this road, such as the gas and electric lamps, trolley cars, elevators and skyscrapers, as well as neon lights and large amusement parks. It was a place to show off political power where big celebrations were often held. A galaxy of celebrities left their traces, too. It’s where Dr Sun Yat-sen concocted spectacles, Albert Einstein lectured on theory of relativity, Bertrand Russell gave a speech on cross-cultural comparison and Charlie Chaplin had his silk shirts tailor-made.”

Picture source:Pinterest

10. On 23 August 1937 a bomb was dropped on Nanjing Road by a Chinese plane in an attempt to lighten its load while being pursued by Japanese planes. The bomb hit two department stores, killing 612 people and injuring another 482.

11. Tongji University Professor Zheng Shiling says Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street and Yuyuan Garden Shopping District in the 1990s were the two earliest cases of Shanghai’s urban regeneration practices. “Nanjing Road, with more than 100 years of history, was renovated into a promenade extending over 1 kilometer. This is considered to be one of the earliest promenades in China that combines shopping, street space and traffic organization".

Picture source:visualizingchina.net

12. Today Nanjingn Rod is the WORLD’S LONGEST SHOPPING STRIP – about 5,5 km– and attracts over 1 million visitors DAILY.

Picture source:Shopping in Shanghai
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