Situated in Shanghai’s Minhang District, Qibao Ancient Town is a historic landmark that takes visitors back to the time of riverside townships. Although small in size, measuring about two hundred hectares in area, Qibao is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Shanghai. The township consists of traditional restaurants, houses and shops. The construction of the historic town can be traced to the Northern Song Dynasty although most historians agree that the town only started to flourish under the Qing, and later, the Ming Dynasties.
The origin of the town’s name is less clear. Qibao means ‘Seven Treasures’ and while many believe that the town was named after the Qibao Temple (which no longer exists) some maintain that the name actually refers to seven treasures hidden within the town. The seven treasures consist of a pair of chopsticks made of jade, a statue of a golden cockerel, a catalpa tree that is over a thousand years old, a Gold Script Lotus Sutra, a bell from the Ming Dynasty made of bronze and a statue of the Buddha made of iron. Of all the seven treasures only four are known to have definitely existed while only two, the bell and the script, are still in existence today.
As it is quite small visitors can easily cover all the main attractions in one afternoon. Tourists visiting Qibao should make sure to catch a cricket fight at the local museum, take in a Shadow Play, and enjoy a plethora of traditional Qibao snacks such as qibaogao, kaohongshu, and hebao doufugan.
Over the past few years Shanghai has become something of a tourist hub in China attracting large crowds of foreigners eager to enjoy the city’s many attractions. As the most developed city in China there are many advantages to visiting Shanghai. The city boasts a top notch public transport system, there are plenty of restaurants and accommodation is also easy to come by. For tourists looking for a place to stay the Peninsula Shanghai is a good Shanghai hotel to try. Ranked among the best five star hotels Shanghai, the hotel enjoys a convenient location and is ideal for both business and leisure travellers.
Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.