Exploring Shanghai People’s Square

Shanghai People’s Square

People’s Square is a large public square just off of Nanjing Rd. in the Huangpu District of Shanghai. People’s Square is the site of Shanghai’s municipal government building, and is used as the standard reference point for measurement of distance in the Shanghai municipality.

Shanghai People's Square

Prior to 1949, People’s Square was a part of the horseracing course of Shanghai. After gambling and horseracing were banned, a part of the race course became the People’s Square. Other parts of the race course still remain today. The clubhouse buildings became the Shanghai Art Museum, while part of the race track became People’s Park, a public park.

In the 1990s, major changes were made to the square. The Shanghai Municipal Government was moved here from the former HSBC Building. More additions include the Shanghai Museum, the Shanghai Grand Theatre and the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall.

Prominent landmarks on and around the square include JW Marriott, Shanghai, Shanghai City Hall, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center and People’s Park.

Major department stores on and around the square include Raffles’ City, Shanghai No.1 Department Store and Shanghai New World Department Store.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center

The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center is located on People’s Square, adjacent to the city’s municipal government building. The Exhibition Center is a 6-storey building with two basement levels, displaying Shanghai’s urban planning and development. Exhibitions include models of planned and recent developments, as well as Shanghai’s history.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a huge scale model of the city of Shanghai, showing all existing and approved buildings. You can view the model at “ground level”, or ascend a gallery running around it for views from above. The model is intended to represent the entire city, including all planned developments. However, a few stout pillars, necessitated by the building design, penetrate the scale model. This means certain areas are missing from the model, and views of the model are sometimes obscured by the columns.

Shanghai Grand Theatre

The Shanghai Grand Theatre is located at the intersection of People’s Boulevard and South Huangpi Rd. in northern part of the People’s Square in Huangpu District, Shanghai.   Covering a floor area of 11,528 m², the theatre was opened in 1998. It has 10-storey, two for underground, two for lofts and six on the ground. With its unique style and beautiful outlook, the theatre has become a representative building in Shanghai, whose existence renders the People’s Square virtually the city’s center of politics and culture. It looks like a crystal palace in the light at night as the white arc-shaped roof joins coherently with the light-sensitive glass curtain wall.

Shanghai Grand Theatre

The lobby of Shanghai Grand Theatre is approximate 2,000 square meters with the white as its main tone, which signifies elegant and pure. A large chandelier, formed by six pan-pipes shaped lamp, is suspended in the lobby. The floor is made of a rare marble called “Greece Crystal White”. The patterns shaped like piano digital, together with the pillar and the stairs, are full of rhythms. While being inside, it’s really like staying in a musical world.

Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum is a museum of ancient Chinese art, situated on the People’s Square in the Huangpu District.   Covering a total area of 39,200 m², the museum is 29.5 meters high with five floors, designed in the shape of an ancient, bronze, tripod cooking vessel called a ding. It is said that the inspiration for the design was specifically provided by the Da Ke Ding, which is now on exhibit in the museum. The building has round top and a square base, symbolizing the ancient Chinese philosophy that the sky is round and the earth is square.

Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum has a collection of over 120,000 pieces, including bronze, ceramics, calligraphy, furniture, jades, ancient coins, paintings, seals, sculptures, minority art and foreign art. And it houses several items of national importance, including one of three extant specimens of a “transparent” bronze mirror from the Han Dynasty. The museum has eleven galleries and three special temporary exhibition halls.

Nanjing Road Pedestrian Walkway

Nanjing Road, famed as “No. 1 Street in China”, is an epitome of Shanghai’s history and culture. The 1,033-meter-long Pedestrian Walkway on Nanjing Road lies between the Bund and the People’s Square. There are over 600 shops on both sides of the walkway, the 100-year old ones, famous-brand ones, specialty shops of different trades.

Nanjing Road Pedestrian Walkway

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