The rustic charm of the ancient buildings of Shanghai offers a strange but somehow attractive backdrop to this modern day shopping area and tourist attraction. A trendy modern shopping strip complete with food stalls, restaurants, book stalls has been built among the renowned Shikumen houses that are an exclusive form of architecture found only in Shanghai. The dark tiled walls and narrow alleys and stone walls offers so reliving a contrast to the glamour and glee that is offered within these houses, that each era seems to have found strange companionship in each other for the best of both.
Enjoying a prominent location at the heart of Shanghai city, the Xin Tian Di is sprawled over a generous area of 60,000 sq.metres, to the south of Huai Hai Zhong area road as well as the metro station. Its two blocks, north and south, differ a little, the north seeming to have more respect for the ancient, having retained most of the inheritance of its buildings from the days of Shikumen, while the South has chosen to move away and develop a style of mix and match with the modern housing and building concepts, while keeping the Shikumen culture as a convenient back drop wherever possible. The south block holds the title of being the shopping and entertainment area and holds the glass wall building that has modernism written all over it, with restaurants from all over the world, boutiques, cinemas as well as food courts and ornament shops taking up most of the space. The North block on the other hand features high end stores and restaurants that offer a delectable spread of international cuisine for travellers to get a taste of their own food culture in this hospitable city.
Not surprisingly, the area has been award winning with ‘Innovation China 2001’ award and a few more that does seem to echo the fascination that tourists find in this vibrant shopping area full of incredible contrasts. Indeed someone strolling along the Xin Tian Di can pause and reflect on days bygone or move forward to keep pace with the modern day, as their nature and instinct directs them. Meeting yesterday and Tomorrow in Shanghai Today, seems more than appropriate statement for this famous tourist strip in Shanghai.
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