Shanghai is also known as Hu (沪), the official abbreviation. It is this chinese character 沪 that one sees on motor vehicle licence plates registered in Shanghai.
It is a port city on Huangpu River, and is situated on the estuary of Yangtze River. Huangpu River splits the city into the east and west – Pudong (浦东) and Puxi (浦西).
Its climate is described as humid subtropical, often hitting above 35°C in summer, and below 0°C in winter.
Two airports serve this city – Pudong International Airport (上海浦东国际机场) for international flights, and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (上海虹桥国际机场) for domestic flights.
With a population of over 23 million (out of which almost 40% are migrants), it is purported to be the biggest and most developed city in China.
Although Shanghainese is the native language of the locals, the fact that as much as 40% of the population do not originate from Shanghai (and thus do not speak this language), Mandarin Chinese has long since become the de facto working language.
While it has a long history as a village, Shanghai only rose to prominence after the First Opium War (1839-1842) when it became of the five cities opened to trade as treaty ports. A total of eight nations were granted concessions in Shanghai, namely Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. These concessions were located north of Shanghai and are today considered parts of downtown Shanghai.
This particular era of Shanghai’s history shaped its landscape significantly. The Bund, comprising 26 major buildings of various heights feature largely British-style buildings while French-style buildings can still be seen standing in the former French Concession today.
Shanghai’s tap water is non-potable and should not be drank directly unless boiled or gone through other means of purification.
Shanghai has one of the best education systems in China, it being the first to mandate a compulsory 9-year education.
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