13 Interesting Facts About Shanghai

With a population of over 23 million people, Shanghai forms one of the largest and most developed cities in mainland China. Filled with endless history, mystic and a cosmopolitan vibe that blends traditional and modern styles from east to west, Shanghai still hold many secrets.

  1. Shanghai was once a fishing village known as Hudu. The name was derived from a wooden fish trap once used by locals.


  1. Between 1937 and 1939 approximately 20 000 Jews traveled to Shanghai fleeing from the Nazis.


  1. The oldest mosque in Shanghai was built in 1868. It is known as Fuyou Lu Mosque.


  1. The Waibaidu Bridge which was originally built in 1856. It is also known as ‘Foreigners Crossing’. It received its name because the original bridge charged Chinese locals a toll to cross while letting foreigners cross for free.


  1. The Shanghai marriage market happens in People’s Park every weekend. Hundreds of Shanghainese parents arrive with the resumes of their unwed children in an attempt to mingle  and find the one.


  1. Shanghainese is a dialect of Wu which is an ancient branch of Chinese. It’s quite common that many Mandarin speakers from other parts of China cannot really understand other Shanghainese people.


  1. In contrast to the Peking Opera in Beijing where men play all the roles, Yueju or Shanghai opera sees women dominating the stage and taking on the roles of both male and females.


  1. The Nine Dragon’s Pillar is found in People’s Square. Here you will find a metal pillar covered with circling dragons. The ancient tales tell of workers who found the ground impossible to dig no matter how hard they tried. Finally a Buddhist priest was called in who informed them that they were trying to dig right into the middle of a dragon’s lair. They had to honor the dragon first before it would move. Thus the pillar was built.


  1. Locals say that the Lianhua Lu station on Subway Line 1 is cursed because it is located so close to the one of biggest morgues.


  1. English is taught as a mandatory course from first grade in public schools. This makes Shanghai one of China’s top cities with many fluent English speakers.


  1. Shanghai is sinking at a rate of 1.5 cm a year.


  1. It is a well known fact that Shanghai has some of China’s best dumplings.


  1. Apart from dumplings, one of Shanghai’s must try delicacies are the hairy crabs. Many consider this dish to cool down the body and it is commonly served with Shaoxing sherry wine. This is said to restore the body’s yin and yang.

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I'm Shalinee - a Geminian scientist who loves to travel, write, draw and eat chocolate. I've visited over twenty countries, published a Environmental Science encyclopaedia and somewhere along the way started a science communication company to help students and corporates translate that hard-to-read data generated in a lab. Other than that, I'm just searching for the magic still hidden in the world.

4 thoughts on “13 Interesting Facts About Shanghai

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  2. Now I want to check the dumplings to see if this fact is true!
    Great to learn more about the city 🙂

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