Small group shanghai city bike tour with American travelers in 23-may-2012

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guided Suzhou bike tour with Netherland traveler on 12-Jun-2013

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	local English speaking tour guide lead traveler to Shanghai Chongming island

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    Shikumen Architecture of Shanghai’s Past

    Shikumen, the unique architectural style, has been called a fusion of eastern and western cultures, once very popular in 1930s'.A typical shikumen building features a pair of black wooden doors framed by heavy stone,with an extravagant bronze handle on each of the doors.This provides occupants with a sense of status and security. The lintel above the doors is often decorated with stone carving in Baroque style,making this building type a symbol of east meeting west.

    Behind the door is the courtyard. and further inside is a living room with wings roons on the sides. In the back part of the living room were two flights of stairs leading to the upper floor. Behind the stairs were the kitchen and a back door.The layout of second floor is similar to the one below.The space above the kitchen was used as a loft with a flat roof.
    Shikumen -style houses formed the basis of the "Li Long"(lane) community where private spheres and public spaces over lapped. in this community,everyone knew everyone else's business.As the density of the community rose,some family activities were often moved to public spaces.
    During the time of turbulence, the common wall,courtyard and the attached house enhanced interaction among neighbors and gie the residents a sense of security and belonging.At its peak, shikumen-style neighborhood reached the number of 9000 and took up 60% of the total housing space in Shanghai.It was only when more and more of these house were replaced by skyscrapers that people began to realize such monuments of Shanghai's past deserve to be preserved.
    Shikumen houses are relic of Shanghai's history.While many of them are erased to make way for glittering skyscrapers,some of them are well preserved and converted in their purposes.
    Nowdays Modern architecture is the motif while shikumen is an accompaniment.It preserved Shikumen set a nostalgic tone, forming a splendid contrast with the modernity to the south.Some shikumen relic transformer  an entertainment environment which stuffed with modern restaurants,clubs,cafes and boutiques.The modern facilities are accessorized with old bricks, stone gates and ornately carved wooden balconies from the dense warren of old courtyard houses that previously filled those blocks.
    Also there are some famous shikumen area has transformed nightlife and entertainment in Shanghai.You will see people,all kinds of people ,from all over the world, all enjoying themselves there.

    In the New Yorker magazine shikumen is described as "a stage set of an idyllic past, created so that people in China can experience the same finely wrought balance of theme park and shopping mall that increasingly passes for upscale urban life in the United States."
    All in all as this kind of architectural embodies new life attitude and style.Shikumen ,yesterday and tomorrow meet in Shanghai today.

    If you would like to explore this kind of unique architectural of Shanghai's past you can join our Shikumen  Nongtang bike tour.


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