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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.

Shanghai 1
Jim Bowen: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw/8318341488

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.

Shanghai 2
Marc van der Chijs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chijs/77133976

 

Shanghai 3
Charlotte Powell: https://www.flickr.com/photos/14545665@N04/4042838785/

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.

Shanghai 4
David Leo Veksler: https://www.flickr.com/photos/heroiclife/8622923850

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.

Shanghai 5
David Leo Veksler: https://www.flickr.com/photos/heroiclife/5425168683

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.

Shanghai 6
chinaoffseason: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chinaoffseason/5522196791

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.

Shanghai 7
wolfgang Staudt: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfgangstaudt/3537099451

There’s the International Convention Centre and the Oriental Pearl Tower, both of which are incredibly unusual-looking:

Shanghai 8
Harvey Barrison: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hbarrison/5924350048

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.

Shanghai 9
Sam Gao: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarmu/4670828100

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.

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Links:

http://chinaautoweb.com/2014/02/chinas-auto-fleet-expands-to-137-million/

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-10/21/content_17046774.htm

http://gochina.about.com/od/whattoseeinshanghai/tp/Top10SHwkd.htm

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shanghai/financial-center.htm

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Lauren Robertson - Lifestyle Editor
  • Rapierman

    Welcome aboard, Laruren, and thanks for the tour. You will be retweeted mercilessly (would be even better if I can properly attribute your Twitter handle).

  • Thank you, I’m excited to be part of the team! I’m @Be_Lucky_Lauren on Twitter.

    • Rapierman

      Wow. That completely threw me off. I found two with the actual name, and one of them had a blurb that definitely represented the lifestyle thing.

  • Nice article. Neat addition to the site. Looking forward to more.
    I was in China 10 years ago, and the car craze was already nuts. I can’t imagine the streets, now.
    I’ve always loved these image comparison overlays of Shanghai’s skyline circa 1987 vs. 2013, btw.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/08/26-years-of-growth-shanghai-then-and-now/100569/

  • Felix

    Why aren’t you guys showing pictures of the Shanghai tower? It’s the tallest building in Shanghai, and it would be nice to see that here.

    • That is a good point. It gets a mention, but since it’s not finished quite yet I decided to leave it out. Next year’s article is bound to feature it!

  • UAN

    Welcome aboard Lauren, and great write up. I absolutely love Shanghai. My wife and son (not me) were just there for 5 weeks over the New Year. I need to coincide my next visit with the Chinese GP.

  • Lauren, just saw your piece, and as someone who had visited Shanghai in 2 different decades (1984 when most of the city was still farmland in most areas, and 2006 when it became what it is today), it was “night and day”. But, one thing I have to say about the historical perspective for holding a Formula grand prix in China, they should have put that race to the one place that racing legends for the last 3 decades were born: Macao. As good as the circuit was constructed in Shanghai, the street course in Macao resonates more for racing fans around the world. I know, because I used to watch the Formula 3 races on Hong Kong television (which was broadcasted on TVB) for number of years. In fact, Aryton Senna made his name in the Macao Grand Prix before bringing his skills to F1’s prized race at Monte Carlo – Monaco Grand Prix. The Macao course is even more intense as its hairpin corner is just as narrow, if not more, as Monaco. Why they don’t place a race in spite of trees is beyond me.

    • Tom Firth

      Macau would never get the correct safety standards to host a contemporary F1 race, primarily due to track width and the number of run off areas.

      However the Macau Grand Prix is still an annual event for F3 cars and is televised, The other events which form part of the F3 Macau Grand Prix weekend currently is the season finale of the FIA World Touring Car Championship, motorcycle road racing and a few one make series, recently the Audi R8 Cup.