Buildings with distinctive features erect on both sides of the street, huge signboards and advertisements show prosperity, and when the night falls, dazzling neon lights flicker with bright colors----this is the so called “No.1 Business Street of China”. As one of the most famous shopping centers of the world, Nanjing Street not only has numerous famous shops, but also a long history.
Shanghai is the most prosperous city in mainland of China, the Nanjing Road in the most luxury street in Shanghai. Nanjing Street is a comprehensive shopping center which integrates tourism, business and culture together. The street is paved with colorful bricks and stones, with wooden benches, telephone boxes, and parterres scatter along the street. The 1599 meter long street is decorated with flowers and statues. Among the stores on the side of the street, there are many famous ones such as Hengdali, Zhang Xiaoquan and Hengyuanxiang.
The history of Nanjing Road can be traced back to the year 1851. At that time it was called “Park Lane”, which comes from the Bund to He’nan Road. In 1854, it was extended to Zhejiang Road, and eight years later, once more extended to Xizang Road. In 1865, it was named formally “Nanking Road” by the Municipal Council, which administered the International Settlement. In Chinese it was usually referred to as the Main Road (literally Great Horse Road). In 1943 the International Settlement was annulled, and after World war Two the government changed its name from Nanking Road to East-Nanjing Road, meanwhile named the former Bubbling Well Road West－Nanjing Road, and give a general name of the two roads-Nanjing Road, which has a total length of five kilometers.
As early as in the beginning of 20th century, eight big department stores were established along the street one after another. A series of franchised stores were set up at that time.
In 2000, as a part of the development plan held by the local government, Nanjing Road was reconstructed to be a characteristic pedestrian street. With the development of over one hundred years, the Nanjing Road becomes the must-see place of tourists and it also shows the bustling Shanghai with charm and glamour.
Over 600 businesses on the road provide numerous famous brands of superior quality and latest fashions. KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and other world-famous food vendors line both sides of the street. High-end stores include Tiffany, Mont Blanc, and Dunhill. In addition, about a hundred traditional stores and specialty shops still provide choice silk goods, jade, embroidery, wool, and clocks. Open-air bars, abstract sculptures, and lingering sounds from street musicians enhance evening strolls. All these stores are famous ones in China and over the world. At night, numerous and colorful neon lights sparkle in the darkness, making the street extremely charming and dreamlike.
Almost everyone who came to Nanjing road will take a photo at the front of the nameplate. In busy festivals, you even need to queue for a long time to have the chance, stand, smile and post in front of the camera. Why? Of course, because of it is the most famous shopping area in China. What’s more important, the characters were written by former president of China, Jiang Zemin. It is unusual for a president to make an inscription for a commercial place. Maybe the Nanjing Road really has such fame and status, or maybe partly because President Jiang was a college student in Shanghai.
A Different Scene
In many people’s opinion, a shopping street will always be full of crowds, material, commercial and modern. However, if you get up early and came to Nanjing Road in the morning, you will surprisingly find it total different scenery: shops along the street are all closed; only the dustman is busy with cleaning. In the street, the residents are dancing to the music, playing badminton, practicing Taichi etc. It is more like a park rather than a shopping area. This is another charming side of the street.