is called in Chinese “Hu” for short and “Shen” as a nickname. About 6000 years ago, the western part of today’s Shanghai dried up into land and its eastern part became a piece of land about 2000 years ago. During the Spring-Autumn and Warring States Periods (770-221 BC), this area was once the fief of Huang Xie, the Chun Shen Governor of the State of Chu. So, “Shen” comes from the title of the governor. During the Jin Dynasty (4th-5th centuries), fishermen created a fishing tool called “Hu”. By combining the name of the fishing tool and the then term for estuary of big rivers, they coined a Chinese character “Hu Du” to name the place as it sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the longest river in China, and later it was shortened as “Hu”.
In the 16th century, Shanghai became he national center of textile handicraft industry. In 1685 .the central government of the Qing Dynasty set up its customs office in Shanghai. In the mid-19th century, the city evolved into a major trading port.
Shanghai is situated at 31°14’ north latitude and 121°29’ east longitude. Bordering on Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces in the west, Shanghai is washed by East China Sea on the east and Hangzhou bay on the south. North of the city, the Yangtze River pours into the East China Sea. It also assumes the central location along China’s coastal line. Thanks to its advantageous geographic location, Shanghai become an excellent sea and river port, boasting easy accesses to a vast hinterland.
Throughout the past century, Shanghai has had numerous name tags attached to it; like "Paris of the Orient" and "Pearl of China". Images of Shanghai more than any other Chinese city, are bountiful in the west. A visit here therefore, is naturally tainted to some extent, with a preconception of how the city will be.
As the largest and most prosperous city in the nation, Shanghai is the economic, financial and cultural center of China, while Beijing is the political heart. And this image of Shanghai as a fast and modern metropolis is certainly the one that most visitors take away. Those old preconceptions of Shanghai as the home of crime vice and prostitutes are wiped away, as the city successfully projects an image of itself as young, vibrant and cool.
Shanghai is a modern and fast paced city, rich in history and culture and with a wealth of areas and sites just waiting to be explored. One of the nicest aspects of Shanghai is that the crowds here are much more manageable than in a city like Beijing. This is largely because there are no great ancient sites which people flock to. Rather, this is a city to be walked, wandered, explored and discovered in your own time and, in your own style.