In Shanghai, a famous historical and cultural city, architectural styles of different countries have been preserved. Among them, the Shanghai Exhibition Center (originally called the Sino-Soviet Friendship Building) looks quite ravishing. Designed by Soviet Union architects, this classic Russian style building is also a major landmark in central Shanghai.
The land where Shanghai Exhibition Center (SEC) is situated was once the site of Aili Garden, also known as Hardoon Garden. Built in 1910, the Hardoon Garden was the largest and most luxurious private garden in Shanghai then. It was a pity that the Hardoons, the wealthy Jewish owners of the garden, died without heirs, leaving the huge garden soon abandoned and almost in ruins. After 1949, Shanghai government planned to hold a large-scale exhibition in Shanghai and build a proper exhibition center for it. The site was finally decided on the site of Hardoon Garden.
The construction of the building was started in 1953, and completed in 1955. Its main body is topped with a turret and a sumptuous gold gilded top. The top, with a red star erected on, is about 106 meters from the ground.
SEC covers an area of 93,000 square meters, with a floor space of 80,000 square meters. According to their functionalities, SEC is divided into two parts, the northern part and the southern part. With Introductory Hall, Central Hall, No.1 East Hall, No.1 West Hall, No.2 West Hall, the southern part forms an exhibition area; the Friendship Hall together with No.2 East Hall in the north is designated as the conference area.
SEC was awarded the title of one of the “Shanghai Ten Best Buildings in the period of 1949-1989” and was ranked among “Shanghai Ten Classic Architectural Structures with Gold Medals during the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the PRC”. On the arrival of the new century, the building underwent an overall renovation. Now, it has become one of the largest venues for conferences and exhibitions. The whole year round, almost every two weeks there will be a large scale exhibition or fair in SEC.
Address: No. 1000, Middle Yan’an Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai.
Restaurants and coffee shops are available in SEC.
Coming out of the gate on Middle Yan’an Road, and passing Weihai Road, you will reach North Shaanxi Road, which has a history of nearly 100 years. Within about 1,000-meter-long road, there are over 20 former residences of celebrities, including the former residence of Rong Zongjing, Song’s House, Grace Church, and Ohel Rachel Synagogue, etc.
Nanyang Road and Fengxian Road nearby are also worthwhile to visit. The Pei Mansion Hotel, located at No.170 Nanyang Road, is a boutique hotel of historical and cultural heritage. Its owner was Bei Zuyi, the father of the world-famous architect – Bei Yuming. Small restaurants and stores stand side by side on Fengxian Road, among which Zaozishu Vegan Restaurant enjoys the most popularity.