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Shanghai


Shanghai is China's largest city, with an urban population of around 12 million.
Shanghai is China's largest city, with an urban population of around 12 million. Advantageously located, Shanghai is halfway down China's mainland coastline, where the Yangtze River empties into the sea. An important comprehensive industrial base and harbor, Shanghai plays an essential role in the national economy. Many major industries are present, in addition to its highly developed commerce, banking and ocean shipping industry.
During the Song Dynasty Shanghai was upgraded from a village to a market town in 1074, and in 1172 a second sea wall was built to stabilize the ocean coast line. During the Ming Dynasty a city wall was built for the first time in 1554 to protect the town from raids by Japanese pirates. The importance of Shanghai grew radically in the 19th century, as the city's strategic position at the mouth of the Yangtze River made it an ideal location for trade with the West. During the 1950s and 1960s, Shanghai became an industrial center and center for revolutionary leftism. Yet, even during the most tumultuous times of the Cultural Revolution, Shanghai was able to maintain high economic productivity and relative social stability. In 1991 Shanghai was permitted to initiate economic reforms, starting the huge development still seen today and the birth of Lujiazui and Pudong.

Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. In winter, cold northerly winds from Siberia can cause temperatures to drop below freezing, and although not usually associated with snow, the city can receive one or two days of snowfall per year. In contrast, and in spite of being the peak tourist season, summer in Shanghai is very warm and humid. The most pleasant seasons are spring, although changeable, and autumn, which is generally sunny and dry.

The city is an emerging tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as the Bund and Xintiandi, its modern and ever-expanding Pudong skyline including the Oriental Pearl Tower, and its new reputation as a center of culture and design. Shanghai also boasts several museums of regional and national importance. The Shanghai Museum of art and history has one of the best collections of Chinese historical artifacts in the world, including some important archaeological finds since 1949. Shanghai has many parks offering some reprieve from the urban jungle.

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