Shanghai, China

Bright lights in the big city of Shanghai. Photo Creative Commons License joshDubya.

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.

St. Ignatius (Xujiahui) Cathedral
This 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.
Jewish Shanghai
Shanghai 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.
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.