Call it the Bund or by its street name, Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, this famous waterfront area is an iconic symbol of Shanghai and dotted with examples of European architecture styles including Gothic Revival, Baroque Revival, Romanesque Revival, Classicism and Art Deco on the west bank. Today the area is a popular meeting spot for tourists and locals alike.
Spanning five blocks of Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu between Jinling Lu and Suzhou Creek, the Bund is a famous stretch of waterfront with a promenade hugging the embankment of the Huangpu River. From a narrow lane prior to 1840, the Bund became a British settlement and commercial edifices were constructed after Shanghai became an international trading port. It was the centre of the city’s politics, culture and economy and the ornate architecture reflects the area’s importance.
These days, mornings see the area draw locals who can be viewed ballroom dancing, doing aerobics and practicing kung fu, qi gong and tai chi. By night, the Bund transforms into a atmospheric destination for couples taking moonlit strolls by the light of period lamp posts and complemented by the colourful lights floating in the Huangpu. The 1.7km-long flood control wall is known as ‘the lovers’ wall’ and was once considered the most romantic nook in Shanghai. There is also a sightseeing tunnel with light effects which crosses the Huangpu by speed train from the Bund and costs CNY55 for a return trip.
The main drawcard to the Bund are the 52 buildings lining the strip that display examples of Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and Art Deco architecture to name a few of the European-inspired styles. Notable buildings include the Customs House at number 13 with a clock and bell modelled on Big Ben, Russel & Co. Building at number 6 which is now the Shanghai flagship boutique for Dolce & Gabbana and the Shanghai Club (number 2, the Bund) which was the site of the British expat social club and is now home to the Waldorf-Astoria Shanghai Hotel. To visit the Bund, take the metro lines 2 or 10 to East Nanjing Road station and walk for five minutes towards the Huangpu River.