The constantly-changing yet always iconic Pudong skyline, as of March 2011

What's Shanghai all about?

Shanghai (上海 - Shànghǎi, "on the sea") is the biggest city in China by population and the largest city proper in the world, with over 23 million people, around 18 million of those living in the core districts.

The city itself is split in two parts by the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze. Puxi (浦西 - Pǔxi, "west bank" or "west of the Huangpu") is the historical side of the city, whereas the newly-developed Pudong (浦东 - Pǔdōng, "east bank" or "east of the Huangpu") side contains the business and financial districts of the city. Puxi is generally seen as having more of the 'character' of the city, with areas such as the Former French Concession, People's Square and Jing'An. Pudong is more modern and recently-developed, and arguably much more sterile and business-oriented, with areas such as Lujiazui, the main financial district.

Shanghai's iconic view of the Pudong skyline is dominated by the Oriental Pearl TV Tower (东方明珠塔 - dōngfāng míngzhūtǎ), the Shanghai World Financial Centre (aka 'SWFC' or 'the bottle opener'; 上海环球金融中心 - Shànghǎi huánqiú jīnróng zhōngxīn), the Jinmao Tower (金茂大厦 - jīnmào dàshà), and the colossal Shanghai Tower. While the SWFC was for a short while the tallest building in Shanghai at 494 metres tall, the Shanghai Tower truly dominates the skyline, measuring in at a mighty 632 metres.

Would you like to know more?

Check out our articles on getting started in Shanghai and getting around the city.