Lies in the southwest of Shanghai, Songjiang District covers 605 square kilometers with a registered population of 500,000. Sonjiang was formerly known as Huating(Yujian was another name for the district then)for Songjiang County was the very Huating County that was established in 751 (the 10th year under reign of Tian Bai of the Tang Dynasty). It was the political, economic and cultural center of shanghai before Shanghai was opened as a port to foreign countries and has been Songjiang District since 1998. Shanghai-Hangzhou Highway serves as the vertical axis of the New Songjiang City, which consists of two parts with the northern part built under the European style and the southern part constructed in the style of the constructions of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Songjiang Universities City is located in the district.
Situated in Litahui Town of the western Sonjiang City, Li Pagoda is of brick and wood construction with 7 storeys. It was built by Li Ming, the 13th son of Li Shimin (Emperor Tang Tai Zong of the Tang Dynasty), according to a legend and thus the pagoda is named Li Pagoda. It was repaired and reconstructed in the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties. There are about 200 Buddha statues of various sizes surrounding the body of the pagoda. The pagoda was reconstructed in 1997.
Toroni Sutra Stela
Toroni Sutra Stela, standing 9.3m high in Zhongshan Primary School of Songjiang District, is the oldest stela in Shanghai. It was built of 21 rocky blocks in 859 A. D. (the 13th year under reign of Da Zhong of the Tang Dynasty). It is grand and upright as a whole and delicate with the vivid sculptures.
The Square Pagoda was erected in the Northern Song Dynasty and had been reconstructed in the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties for several times before it was rebuilt in 1975-1977. The 9-storey pagoda stands 42.5 meters high inheriting the style of Buddhist square pagoda of the Tang Dynasty and is acknowledged as the most beautiful ancient pagoda in the region south of the Yangtze River. On the west wall of the third floor are two Buddha mural paintings of the Song Dynasty and in the lowest floor is a small jade box in which lies a 40-cm-long bronze statue of the reclining Buddha Sakymuni accompanied with a silver box and tooth relics of Buddha as well as more than 100 coins of the Song Dynasty. A legendary creature named "Tan", which has deer antlers, dragon scale, lion tail, and ox hoofs, can be seen on the brick screen wall in the front of the pagoda.
The Brick Screen Wall
To the north of the Square Pagoda is a brick screen wall that is 4.75 meters in width and 6.1 meters in length. It was erected in 1370 (the 3rd year under reign of Hong Wu of the Ming Dynasty) and is the oldest and the best-preserved engraved brick work in Shanghai. On the wall there is a legendary creature named "Tan" which has deer antlers, dragon scale, lion tail, and ox hoofs and various paintings of auspicious implications. The vivid brick sculptures on the wall are all precious art works.
Songjiang Mosque, which is also named Zhenjiao Temple and Xianhe (immortal crane) Temple, is located on Middle Zhongshan Road of Songjiang Town in Songjiang District. Built in the period of Zhi Zheng of the Yuan Dynasty, it is one of the oldest mosques in existence in China. In the western side of the temple is the rectangle-shaped Bangke Chamber. Opposite to the west wing-rooms of the Bangke Chamber stands a chapel, which is of brick-and-wood structure under the style of the Ming Dynasty. Behind the chapel is an 8-meter-high kiln hall built in the Yuan Dynasty. It is a mosque with a combination of two architectural styles: the Arabic and the Chinese traditional, which features the style of constructions of the Qing and Ming Dynasties.
Huzhu Pagoda (the Leaning Pagoda)
Huzhu Pagoda, which is an octagonal construction standing on the middle peak of the Tianma Mountain in Songjiang District, was built of brick and wood structure in 1079(the 2nd year under reign of Yuan Feng in the Northern Song Dynasty). It is also called Baoguang (precious light) Pagoda for the she li (Buddhist relics) pearl stored in the pagoda gave lights occasionally according to the legend. It is recorded that a fire caused by the firecrackers burned for the Buddhist ceremony damaged the wood structure in 1788 (the 53rd year under reign of Qian Long of the Qing Dynasty) and the pagoda leaned since then. It is now leaning toward southeast at an angle of 6©b53', which is 1©b23' more in obliquity than the world famous leaning tower Pisa of Italy.
Lies in the south of the Songjiang City, Dacang Bridge spans 50 meters long and 10 meters high over the river. It was formerly known as Yongfeng Bridge and later named Dacang Bridge for there was a storehouse to the south of the bridge. The five-arched bridge is one of the famous big stone bridges of the Ming Dynasty built in Shanghai.
No.1 Bridge in Yujian (another name of Songjiang)
Lies in the west of the city of Songjiang, the No.1 Bridge is also called Kuatang Bridge for it stretches across Putang River. It is recorded that the bridge was built with wood in the Song Dynasty and its large size won it the honor as the No. 1 bridge. It was reconstructed into a three-arched stone bridge with 10 meters in the height and 50 meters in the length in the period under reign of Cheng Hua in the Ming Dynasty. It was rebuilt in 1988.
To the east of Xita Lane, Middle Zhongshan Road in Songjiang County, stands a 40 meters high octagonal pagoda of brick and wood structure, which was formerly called Chong'en Pagoda and Yuanying Pagoda. The 7-storey pagoda is widely known as Xilin Pagoda for Xilin Temple lies beside. It was erected in the period under reign of Xian Chun of the Southern Song Dynasty (1265-1274) and was reconstructed in 1387 (the 20th year under reign of Hong Wu of the Ming Dynasty), 1613 (the 41st year under reign of Wan Li of the Ming Dynasty), 1793 (the 58th year under reign of Qian Long of the Qing Dynasty) and 1840 (the 20th year under reign of Dao Guang of the Qing Dynasty respectively. This elegant and exquisite pagoda is decorated with delicate brick statues of Buddha.
No.1 Building in Yujian (Songjiang was formerly known as Huating and Yujian)
The No.1 Building stood in the front of the site where the No. 2 Songjiang High School lies today. It is unknown when it was erected but it was acknowledged as the construction of the Yuan Dyanasty by authorities. It has been called the No. 1 Building in Yujian since the period of Tong Zhi of the Qing Dynasty for it was the largest one at that time according to the legend. Japanese soldiers damaged it in the period of the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-1945) and only the frame was left. The frame was ruined by the gale of 1951 and the base can be found only today. It is one of the two palace-like buildings of post and lintel system kept in China.
Lies in the Square Pagoda Garden, Wangxian Bridge, which was built under the style of the Song Dynasty, is considered one of the oldest stone bridges in Shanghai. Supported by wood beams, the bridge is of simple structure with the bridge floor carved out of Wukang stones.
Built in the Ming Dynasty, the 30-meter-high Baosu Hall stands to the west of Xiuye Bridge, West Zhongshan Road in Songjiang District. It was once the location of a big ancient residence but now only Baosu Hall remains there. The board "Baosu Hall" once hung in the front of the hall is not in the existence today. According to the legend it was the residence of Xu Jiade, the head of Pinghu County in the Qing Dynasty, and so it is also named the Xu's Hall. The grand hall is richly ornamented.
Lanrui Hall, which was removed into the Square Pagoda Garden in 1984, is a construction of the Ming Dynasty though the exact time when it was built is unknown. Many beams and posts of the simple and elegant hall are made of nanmu, so it is also named Nanmu Hall. The hall was the residence of Zhuchun, a grand coordinator of Jiangxi in the Qing Dynasty and so it is also known as the Zhu's Hall. The board "Lanrui Hall" hung in the hall, which was inscribed by Zhang Xianghe°™a calligrapher of the Qing Dynasty, was damaged before and is not in the existence today.
Formerly located in Sonjiang Underwear Factory at the end of Xita Lane in Songjiang Town, the Diaohua Hall was removed into the Zuibai Pond Garden in 1984. It is a construction of simple structure built in the Qing Dynasty with the beams and windows decorated with delicate woodcarvings of historic figures and stories. Most of the woodcarvings that are rare in the ancient constructions well preserved till today were damaged in the period of the so-called Cultural Revolution.
Square Pagoda Garden
Set up in 1978, the Square Pagoda Garden is located at 235 East Zhongshan Road in Songjiang District----the site of the center of the market of Huating in the period of the Tang and Song dynasties. It is a construction of 182 mus with a combination of the modern style and the features of the period of the Tang and the Song dynasties. Centers about the Square Pagoda built in the Song Dynasty, the garden has many famous constructions around such as Wangxian Bridge built in the Song Dynasty, Lanrui Hall built in the Ming Dynasty, Tianfei Palace set up in the Qing Dynasty, the brick screen wall, Chen Huacheng Temple and the ancient granite track road, Helou Xuan(a small room or veranda with windows) and son on. Helou Xuan won the third prize of Shanghai Classic Architectures at the 50th anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China.
Zuibai Pond Garden
Located on South People Road in the city of Songjiang, Zuibai Pond Garden with an area of 76 mus is the oldest one of the five ancient gardens in Shanghai (the other four are Yuyuan Garden, Guyi Garden, Qiuxia Pu Garden and Qushui Garden). The predecessor of the garden was Guyang Garden ----the residence of Zhu Zhichun, a jinshi (a successful candidate in the highest imperial examinations) of Songjiang in the Song Dynasty. Dong Qichang, who was the minister of the Ministry of Rites and also a famous calligrapher and painter from Songjiang, built Simian (four sides) Hall and Yi Fang (a boat-shaped building) in the garden at the end of the Ming Dynasty. During the period under reign of Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty, it was a private villa of Gu Dashen, a famous painter who built the Zuibai Pond based on a quadrate water lily pond of 700 square meters. Embraced by pavilions and winding corridors, the garden has many historical sites such as Letian Xuan (a small room or veranda with windows) and Xuehai Hall. There are ginkgoes and camphor trees of over 300 years old and tree peonies of more than 100 years old in the garden, which is well known in the region south of the Yangtze River.
The Luo's Yiyuan Garden
The Luo's Yiyuan Garden is one of the famous private gardens of the Ming Dynasty standing to the west of Xiunan Bridge in Songjiang Town. Built at the end of the Ming Dynasty, it was a private garden of the Zhaos and named Yinjiao Garden with an area of 5 mus. when the Zhaos were down, it was sold to the Luos and renamed the Luo's Garden, which was sold to Xuwei, head of Guian County in Zhejiang and renamed Yiyuan Garden. Yiyuan Garden was named the Gao's Garden when it was the property of the Gaos in the period of the Republic of China (1912-1949). The small garden covers only 2 mus today for many constructions were damaged after ages without being repaired and reconstructed. In the south of the garden stand palace-like pavilions and stages that are typical constructions of the Ming Dynasty. The stage is of great value.