The Bund

After going to the Bund and hearing a little bit about the History behind it, I wanted to find out more about the place that served as one of the city’s biggest attractions. Being a waterfront area the Bund boasts an attractive aesthetic, especially in the night time. Some of the Bund’s most famous buildings include the pearl tower, the Shanghai Financial Center, and the newly finished Shanghai tower (which now serves as the tallest building in China). Besides their height, these buildings give the Bund much of its character as they stand out among all of the architecture. And that is notable, given that the architecture is so varied that it is hard to do keep up with the sheer amount of interesting buildings. I learned from one of my native friends at Fudan a little bit about these buildings because I was intrigued by the history behind them–these traces of  other cultures, and conflict, that now are now such a fixed part of the city’s identity. I learned that the rich variety of architecture existed because there used to be several countries with financial operations in China and many of them were set up at the Bund. My friend named Germany, France, and the U.K. as a few countries that were  involved financially in China. However these buildings as beautiful as they were, also hold a complicated history. Many of these buildings were established as a result of colonialism, and though they are a significant part of city’s unique look, they still represent what was. This became clear to me when I learned about the statues of foreign colonial leaders that were removed from the Bund after the PRC of founded. That contextualized those buildings so well for me. Surely, like the statues, some of these buildings represented, and maybe for some Chinese still represent, and unwanted presence. For me, while the buildings still remained beautiful, they became something to think about, as much as look at.

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