The NSLI-Y group visited some Shanghai local attractions and landmarks on July 12th, including Jade Buddha Temple, Yu Garden, Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Residence and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The group watched the performances by Shanghai Acrobatics in the evening. It was a fun day for all students.
The Jade Buddha Temple is a Buddhist temple with more than 130 years of history, famous for two jade Buddha statues imported to Shanghai from Burma by sea. The temple locates in downtown Shanghai, maintaining a peace and quiet atmosphere in the center of busy and noisy surroundings. The Jade Buddha Temple is popular among tourists and pilgrims. There were many devout Buddhists making pilgrimage to the Buddha in the Grand Hall. It was an eye-opening experience for American students.
Their next stop was the former Residence of Dr. Sun Yet-sen, first president and founding father of the Republic of China (“Nationalist China”) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomingtang, KMT). Dr. Sun is a well-respected revolutionary in both mainland China and Taiwan. He is referred to as the “Father of the Nation” in Taiwan, and “great forerunner of the Chinese democratic revolution” by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in mainland China. Sun played an instrumental role in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, which signatures the ending of a 2000-year feudalistic history in China and the beginning of a republic country. Students paid tributes to Dr. Sun, one of the most important revolutionary figures in recent Chinese history.
Sun’s Residence is a two-storey European-style building immersed in nearby high buildings and mansions. Mr. Sun Yat-sen and his wife, Mrs. Soong Ching Ling lived in the Former Residence from 1918 to 1925. After his death in 1925, Mrs. Soong continued to live here until 1937 when the Japanese army occupied Shanghai. The residence is small with very simple interior decorations. It’s incredible to imagine that this was the place where Chinese democratic revolution was ignited and completely changed the history of China.
After lunch the group visited Yu Garden, a private garden for an official in Ming Dynasty with more than 460 years of history. The Yu Garden demonstrates typical traditional Chinese gardens architecture and design. Next to Yu Garden is the City God Temple (Chenghuang Miao), including a large temple complex, and a busy traditional style shoping district surrounding the temple. There are over a hundred stores and shops in this area, and most of these store buildings are nearly a century old. Chenghuang Miao has been a “shopping heaven” for Shanghaiers from the old times. Now it is filled with all kinds of souvenirs, artifacts, small electronics, and local food venders. The relatively cheaper price tags for all the stuff make the place more attractive to local people and tourists. Students had a lot of fun exploring and shopping in the area for more than two hours.
After the experience of old Shanghai, the group headed up to the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, located at the tip of Lujiazui in the Pudong district, on the other side of Huangpu River facing the Bund. At 467.9 meter (1,535 feet) high, the Oriental Pearl Tower is the third tallest structure in Asia, fifth tallest in the world and one of the major landmarks in Shanghai. The most exciting part was the visit to the Sightseeing Floor at 259 meter (850 feet). The observation deck was built on a transparent glass floor with full view of Huangpu River and creats an illusion of “walking on the cloud”. Shanghai city-history exhibition hall is also located on the first floor in the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Students got to see the history of Shanghai, which provides a snapshot of the history of China.
After dinner the group went to watch the performances by Shanghai Acrobatics. The most impressive performances were a “dance in the air” and the motorcycle performances. They were incredible!