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Shanghai's Historical Structures  
  -- Buildings on the Bund


The Bund, the symbol of Shanghai, stretches about 1,700 meters or so from Waibaidu Bridge to the north to Yan'an Road to the south in the western side of Huangpu River. Acknowledged as the Wall Street in Shanghai, It has been the most extravagant and prosperous place in the city. Designed by various architects and built at different times, the buildings on the Bund are in harmony with each other and win the Bund the honor of "The International Fair of Architectures".

The buildings on the Bund have undergone three phases since it was opened as a trade port to the foreign countries. The first phase is in the middle and late periods of the 19th century (1843-1895) when the most of the buildings were two-storey constructions made of bricks and woods under the style of English or East Indian. Renaissance style was adopted when some of the buildings were reconstructed in the 60s-80s of the 19th century, among which the British Consulate is the only one kept well till today. In the second phase (1895-1919), half of the old buildings were reconstructed of reinforced concrete and most of them were of 3-7 floors. The eclecticism was applied in the construction of this period and about ten buildings set up in this phase have been preserved till today. Most of the buildings of the third phase (1920-1937) were constructed under modern style with simple elevations and nearly half of them have more than eight floors. The buildings on the Bund today, except the Shanghai Federation of Trade Unions built in 1948, are mainly constructed in the 20's and 30's of the 20th century.

At the beginning of 1994, Shanghai government decided to turn on the lights along the Bund at fixed times in the evening and in 1996 the automatic lights-controlling center was set up in order to control the lights of more than forty buildings along the Bund. Since then, as night comes and lights are lit, numerous high buildings are immersed themselves in a sea of lights, glittering and translucent like water palaces.

A new step will be made to protect and develop the old Bund. No.3 The Bund, the first one to be remade in the business center on the old Bund, has been redecorated and opens in July 2004 as one of Shanghai's most outstanding architectural landmarks.

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