Warmly welcome to Wukang Rd of XuHui District to have a trip of architecture、history and culture.
We are now in the south west of Shanghai----The XuHui District, where also the intersection of Middle Huaihai Rd.、Yuqin Street、Tianping Street.、West Huaihai Street、Xingguo Street and Wukang Rd is located, the place where “Six roads join”. This kind of phenomenon is a rare view to be seen in the anfractuous allocation of roads in Shanghai. It was formed during the time of the illegal expansion of the French concession when the roads were built disorderly. This structure of roads which was formed before liberation has been basically inherited and kept after liberation.
Among these six roads which join to each other, the overall length of Wukang Rd is 1.17km. Its original name isFerguson Road , which was built in 1907 and hadn’t changed its name into Wukang Rd until 1943.
Wukang Rd is a familiar peaceful and secluded road in the south-west of Shanghai. At the same time, it is also one of the best-preserved continental blocks nowadays. Within the whole historical protection zone of “Henshan Rd to Fuxing Rd”, it is a hundred-year street of many modern excellent architectures and has a rich and colourful history. At present, there are 14 excellent historical architectures, 37 preserved historical architectures and some other old houses which are worth being preserved from now on along the Wukang Rd.
Traditionally, the Wukang Rd is regarded as one of the most famous residential areas in Shanghai, where once a lot of Chinese political leaders, Chinese leading cadres after liberation, elites and plutocrats in commercial and financial sectors and culture celebrities lived. We’ve got Huangxing apartment, former residence of Tang Shaoyi, apartment of Chen Guofu and Chen Lifu, apartment of Mo Shangqing who is called the silk czar and the most famous one----- the former residence of Bajin who is a master in literature.
What shall we visit on Wukang Rd? It is known that there are “Three Sights”: one for architecture, another one for history, the last one for culture. The sight for architecture on the Wukang Rd is to enjoy these western-style houses and small apartments and houses in lanes which are under the shades of platanus and surrounded by flowering trees and shrubs. Here you can see any style of architecture from different countries like the UK、France、Italy、Spain. In one word, we have everything that you expect to see as architectural styles of classic、Renaissance、Baroque、eclecticist tendency and modernism, just like an “Exhibition Hall” of western countries’ architecture.
The sight of history on the Wukang Rd is also an interesting one: Sun Yat-sen who is the leading spirit of China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution, had been to Wukang Rd two times for planning revolutionary affairs with his major assistant Huangxing. Another historic event that happened here was the murder of the first prime minister of the republic of China Tang Shaoyi, which is believed to be homicide. Among these two, other major events and activities in modern Chinese history all happened along this street. There are a lot of luxury villas showing the history of western adventurers who seek their fortunes here. These properties were taken away by force or trickery in Shanghai、recording the hard entrepreneurial process that Chinese national capitalists made during the time in Shanghai. It can be inferred that the WuKang Rd has been regarded as a “Shanghai Urban Memoirs” of modern Chinese history.
The culture on the WuKang Rd is shown by the old residence of one of the masters in Chinese modern literature BaJin, as well as his statue, showing a writing BaJin. Along Wukang Rd, lots of legends and amusing news about many writers and film actors who have once lived on this special Rd in Shanghai can be heard. We can say that the WuKang Rd looks like a “Culture Salon” gathering of cultural celebrities、human exploration、creation and recalling of European-style.
Now let’s go along this hundred-year street under the platanus, closing in on each old house of its own unique features, opening “Memoirs” found in archives page after page, listening to the thrilling or moving stories and anecdotes from history one after another.