Shanghai is a gigantic city that is a meeting point of both east and west. The shoreline is without a doubt the city's main focal point. The city is a combination of the past, present and future and contains the historic monuments and eye-catching buildings of a great metropolis. It was once referred to as 'The Whore of Asia', 'Capital of Crime', 'the Paris of the East' and 'The Centre of Maoism'. But today, the city is ruled by modern-thinking communists and the Yangzi Delta is not only China's largest port but also its new shining star of capitalism.
The Oriental Pearl Tower is a mighty 468 metre high television tower that contains an entertainment centre, futuristic luxury hotel, fine restaurant and offers the most superb views across the city.
In the centre of the city's labyrinth-like shopping alleys a zigzag bridge extends across a small pond to a famous tea house. The bridge was designed in order to fend off evil spirits who, it was believed, could walk only in a straight line!
Located in the countryside, Suzhou is above all famous for its gardens. The 'Garden of the Policy of the Common People' is one of China's four most famous gardens. The complex was built between 1522 and 1566 at the command of an important mandarin and designed according to his wishes.
South of Suzhou is Zhou Zhuang, that is said to have been the first water village inChina. A journey on its canals is certainly worthwhile, as the surrounding area is covered with thousands of canals and rivers and where many villages in the area are only accessible by boat.
Shanghai and its surrounding area has now freed itself from its early growing pains and from the restrictions imposed by Chairman Mao and today enjoys the rich rewards of capitalism.