Shanghai Parks and their history
There is no actual history of the city's public parks or gardens before 1868, when Huangpu Park opened, because gardens were all private and for private use. Now, however, the city has more than 150 are scattered here and there. So, let’s take a look.
1. Huangpu Park: China's first
Huangpu, formerly known as Public Park, was established in Oct 8, 1868, at the junction of the Huangpu and Wusong River, by the British colonizers and was intended for westerners working in nearby banks as a place to take a walk in or spend some leisure time and was notorious for its discrimination. Over the years, it has melded with the New Bund along the Binjiang area of Pudong.
2. Fuxing Park: the epitome of French style
This is located in the old French Concession, and was initially called “Koukaza Park” or “French Park”, and is the best representative of the French style in Shanghai, with Oriental plane trees everywhere to add to the charm. This was also where many people got to know Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and The Communist Manifesto and got their first ride on a merry-go-round.
3. Zhongshan Park: smorgasbord of Chinese, British and Japanese
This park was established in 1914 by the Municipal Council as “Jessfield Park”. Previously, it was a private garden of H. Fogg, a British property developer. It was renamed in Sun Yat-sen’s honor in 1944. it was occupied by Japanese troops during World War II, so the east rockery is in a Japanese style.
4. Xiangyang Park: A place to rest
Xiangyang Park was established in 1941 and opened to public in 1942. Its name changed several times, but it’s been Xiangyang Park since 1950. It is a peaceful retreat for people strolling along bustling Huaihai Rd. The Orthodox Church on the other side of the street appears in numerous paintings.
5. Lu Xun Park: China’s first sports park
This park, formerly Hongkou, is the work of a British garden designer, in a UK Glasgow Sports Park style It hosted two Far-East Games before the Japanese occupation in 1937. It is now dedicated to Lu Xun and contains Luxun Museum and Lu Xun's tomb which was moved here in 1956. It is a historic cultural site as well.
6. People's Park: a place with many functions
This was originally the northern part of the Shanghai Race Club, and became the main site for rallies and demonstrations in Shanghai. There are several major museums and shopping streets nearby, so it is one of the top tourist destinations. Students used to practice their English here at an “English Corner”, but more recently it has become famous as a “Blind date corner”.
7. Guilin Park: a real classic
This park was originally a private villa of Huang Jinrong (1868-1953), one of the leaders at the Green Gang (a late 19th C criminal organization). Its cozy serenity holds long pathways that can take visitors back to those legendary years.
8. Shaoxing Park: tiny Shangri-la
This park ranks among the smallest in Shanghai, but it still has all the essentials of a real park – rockery, pavilion, pond, bushes, and stray cats. It was established in 1951 and was a children’s park for a long time. It is an integral part of the memories of anyone born in 1970s and ’80s.
9. Guangqi Park: part Chinese part Western
This is in Xujiahui, where Xu Guangqi (1562-1633) was born, so it is dedicated to the outstanding Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) scientist. Several generations of the Xu family lived in the area and Xu’s tomb is here.
10. Nanyuan Park: a secret place
This park is not as famous as Fuxing or Huaihai and is not known to many people. It was not until 1957 that it was built into a park. Before that, it had housed a club house. It was turned into a comprehensive park in 2009 in preparation for the 2010 Expo.