Editor’s Note: We are very excited to bring you the first post of our newest staff member, Lauren Robertson. Lauren is our new Lifestyle Editor and will be bringing you terrific posts that orbit the world of F1 and motor sport. What’s hot, who’s not, what’s happening in the world of products, services, locations, people, design, film, books and more. We couldn’t be happier to introduce Lauren’s first post about things to see when you’re in Shanghai this weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix. Look for Lauren’s work in the “Life” category and please join me in welcoming our new Lifestyle Editor all the way from Scotland.
The Chinese Grand Prix is now ten years old. Ten years ago, there were 24 million vehicles registered in China. Last year alone, the total topped 250 million. A license plate auction is in place to try to deal with the congestion, and that much sought-after license plate can cost over $10,000.
It’s no wonder then, that people have no money left over to attend the Grand Prix. The event hasn’t been able to maintain the audience that attended the inaugural race, with the number of spectators now hovering closer to the 150,000 mark.
Perhaps it has something to do with the layout: Shanghai International Circuit is another track designed by Hermann Tilke, who is sometimes criticized for tracks that lead to ‘boring’ races. The inspiration was the Chinese character shang, which means ‘above’ or ‘ascend’, but for me this relates more to the location of the track rather than the layout: the circuit is constructed over marshland with the help of 40,000 concrete pillars.
However, for those making the trip to the Chinese Grand Prix, there are plenty of other engineering and architectural triumphs to enjoy around Shanghai.
It has no shortage of temples, but the most famous is probably the Jade Buddha Temple. As the name suggests, it is home to two jade Buddha statues, as well as a larger Buddha donated from Singapore.
Slightly out of the center of the city, Longhua Temple has a history of over 1700 years. Its seven-storey Pagoda is an example of that distinctive Song Dynasty architecture, with the base being over a thousand years old. The balconies have had to be reconstructed several times.
Likewise, the Jing’an Temple, another example of Song Dynasty architecture, is a reconstruction. Its convenient central location makes it easy to visit if you have limited time in the city.
For art lovers, the Shanghai Museum is a must-see. Admittedly, from the outside it isn’t one of the city’s most attractive buildings, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts! Eleven galleries and three exhibition halls cover many different types of ancient Chinese art, from paintings to ceramics to coins. There are over 120,000 pieces in the collection.
The Yu or Yuyuan Garden was created during the Ming Dynasty, when a government official came up with the idea as a place for his parents to enjoy their old age. Nowadays, visitors of all ages enjoy the Yu Garden. There are six main areas of the Garden, featuring the Grand Rockery, Exquisite Jade Rock and Sansui Hall, as well as a nearby bazaar.
There is a French Concession area of the city, where the trees that line the streets were actually imported by the French at the beginning of the 20th century.
There’s the International Convention Centre and the Oriental Pearl Tower, both of which are incredibly unusual-looking:
Finally, there’s the stunning skyline itself. The Bund is Shanghai’s famous waterfront, boasting various architectural styles. The now second-tallest building is the Shanghai World Financial Center, and it’s possible to travel to one of the highest floors to view the city. This is one of Shanghai’s group of three supertall skyscrapers, also including the Jin Mao Tower and under-construction Shanghai Tower. In this picture, you can also see the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower.
Riverboat cruises along the Huangpu River are an excellent way to see the Bund, and after dark, all lit up, the city looks even more spectacular.