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The Bund tunnel, Shanghai, China

The Bund Tunnel, Shanghai, China

The Shanghai Bund has dozens historical buildings, lining the Huangpu River, that once housed numerous banks and trading houses from the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Italy, Russia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as the consulates Russia and Britain, a newspaper, the Shanghai Club and the Masonic Club. The Bund lies north the old, walled city Shanghai. This was initially a British settlement; later the British and American settlements were combined in the International Settlement. A building boom at the end 19th century and beginning 20th century led to the Bund becoming a major financial hub East Asia. The former French Bund, east the walled city was formerly more a working harbourside.
By the 1940s the Bund housed the headquarters many, if not most, the major financial institutions operating in China, including the "big four" national banks in the Republic China era. However, with the Communist victory in the Chinese civil war, many the financial institutions were moved out gradually in the 1950s, and the hotels and clubs closed or converted to other uses. The statues colonial figures and foreign worthies which had dotted the riverside were also removed.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the thawing economic policy in the People's Republic China, buildings on the Bund were gradually returned to their former uses. Government institutions were moved out in favour financial institutions, while hotels resumed trading as such. Also during this period, a series floods caused by typhoons motivated the municipal government to construct a tall levee along the riverfront, with the result that the embankment now stands some 10 metres higher than street level. This has dramatically changed the streetscape the Bund. In the 1990s, Zhongshan Road (named after Sun Yat-sen), the road on which the Bund is centred, was widened to ten lanes. As a result, most the parkland which had existed along the road disappeared. Also in this period, the ferry wharves connecting the Bund and Pudong, which had served the area's original purpose, were removed. A number pleasure cruises still operate from some nearby wharves.

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