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Traveling in Shanghai, many tourists may be curious about an interesting phenomenon that why the most well known road of downtown Shanghai is Nanjing Road rather than Beijing Road or Yanan Road. Frankly, Shanghai is particularly different from any other cities which generally center on Beijing Road, Yanan Road(延安路)or Jiefang Road(解放路). Usually, these politics-oriented roads are the real centers of majority of Chinese cities such as Beijing Road of Lhasa and Hangzhou Yanan Road. This is the characteristics of socialistic China. But Shanghai is different which obviously follows the tradition of reign of Kuomintang, when the national capital of China was Nanjing or Nankin. This is the unique historic legacy of Shanghai though it has a short history as an internationally famous business city in the world. Regarding to Nanjing Road, or Nan Jing Lu, it is quite necessary to attach more importance to its introduction. Today, Nanjing Road is the landmark tourist attraction of Shanghai, and most of inbound tourists may take Nanjing Road as its first tourist destination in Shanghai, furthermore, many professional travel experts also strongly recommend Nanjing Road as a calling card to the Shanghai travelers. To a most degree, Shanghai will be not deserved traveling if Nanjing Road is not visited.
Originally, Nanjing Road was a Park Lane from The Bund of Shanghai to Ball-Throwing Court of Henan Road. In 1854, the road extended to Zhejiang Road, and in 1862, further extended westwards to Tibet Road. In 1865, the local authority officially named it Nanjing Road. During the period from 1905 to 1911, Silas Aaron Hardoon (1851-1931), a Jewish tycoon of real estate property, begun paved the road with hardwood, and the properties of the both sides belonged to him. 1908, the trolley car was available. In 1945, the concession policy was abolished. The Municipal Government of Shanghai in The Republic of China unified the Nanjing Road, and named it officially the East Nanjing Road, and the original Jingansi Road was renamed as West Nanjing Road. And both of them were called Nanjing Road together. In 1953, East Nanjing Road was paved with concrete. In early period of the 20th century, there were a lot of internationally famous companies such as Messrs.Hall and Holtz, Whiteaway laidlaw, Weeks and Company and Lane Crawford, where were famous as four old companies of Nanjing Road, and the national famous companies such as Hengyuanxiang, Zhangxiaoquan, Laojiefu and Xiedaxiang were four most famous characteristic shops on Nanjing Road. Nanjing Road was the most prosperous road at the time.
The famous old buildings are also widely known, and they are represented by Palace Hotel (today’s south part of Peace Hotel), Sassoon House (today’s north building of Peace Hotel), Jialing Tower, Hardoon Tower, Meilun Tower and Electric Power Tower.
The east road of Nanjing Road starts from East No.1 Zhongshan Road to Middle Tibet Road. With the total length is 1599 meters, East Nanjing Road goes across the Middle Henan Road. Starting from the west part of the Middle Henan Road, the whole road gradually becomes the Pedestrian Street. Compared to West Nanjing Road, East Nanjing Road boasts the Shopping Paradise. Diversities of the time-honored shops are located on the both sides of East Nanjing Road. The pedestrian street with a length of 1033 meters starts from the Middle Henan Road to the Middle Tibet Road, and occupies the 2/3 length of East Nanjing Road. Pedestrian Street of Nanjing Road is featured of the shopping, traveling, business and culture. The whole street is an international showcase themed with the Sino-west culture. The colorful street, standardized booths, the fashion shops, the lovely sightseeing trainset, wax effigy display, the unique city statues, and so on, together shape the modern city sight of Shanghai. On the both sides, the chairs, parterre and telephone booth are easily found. There are three city statues respectively named Three-Member Family, Young Lady as well as Mother and Daughter, standing on the Middle Henan Road, Middle Zhejiang Road and Middle Tibet Road. The street stele inscribed by Jiang Zemin, the former president of China, is quite eye-catching. West Nanjing Road is the top-class business street, and the most slap-up shopping center in Shanghai. It is the luxurious shopping center of the rich.