Shanghai is the biggest city in the biggest country in the world. China's capital of commerce, industry, and finance, Shanghai has become one of the world's great modern capitals, showcasing China's commercial momentum at the dawn of the 21st century.
Shanghai has a colonial past more intense than that of any other city in China except Hong Kong, meaning that cathedrals and European-style buildings can be found alongside traditional Chinese temples and architecture. There is even a synagogue in Shanghai, dating from the days of an unparalleled Jewish immigration to China. These are not the typical monuments of China, but they are typical of Shanghai.
Although Shanghai is not famed for its temples, it does have some interesting ones. The most popular Buddhist shrine with visitors is the Jade Buddha Temple; the Longhua Temple is known for its 10th-century pagoda. Shanghai also has active Christian cathedrals, a mosque, and the reopened Ohel Moshe Synagogue, now a Jewish museum and study center.
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Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Shanghai
Jade Buddha Temple (Yufo Si)This is an active Chan (Zen) Buddhist monastery but the real emphasis is squarely on tourism. What the busloads come for are the temple's two gorgeous white jade Buddhas.
Jewish ShanghaiShanghai experienced several waves of Jewish immigration and there was once a large Jewish community here. You can visit the main synagogue, now a museum, and take a tour of Jewish Shanghai.
Longhua TempleThe largest and busiest Buddhist temple in Shanghai, Longhua is famed for its 10th-century pagoda and peach blossoms. Also notable is a gilded Buddha statue under a carved dome.
St. Ignatius (Xujiahui) CathedralThis Catholic cathedral founded by the Jesuits dates from 1910. The brick Gothic structure, which was once a part of a major missionary complex, seats 2,500 people.
Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao)This Taoist temple was founded in 1403 but the current temple dates from the early 1990s. It is dedicated to a local hero and is part of a large marketplace.
Confucian Temple (Wen Miao)These temple grounds offer quiet refuge from the crowded streets of Old Shanghai. Students pray for academic success at the three-story, 66-foot pagoda dedicated to the philosopher.