The windows are being boarded up and the roads blocked. The cricket market has closed and the booksellers that once set up shop in the Confucius Temple have been moved elsewhere. If you want to see some of the very oldest living parts of Shanghai before they’re either gone for good or ‘Yu Garden-ified’ then we have but one suggestion: go rightnow! Many parts of the former walled city that pre-date the Bund and former French Concession by centuries are about to change forever.
We started our tours of this slightly chaotic but incredibly charismatic area a few years back, inspired (and often led) by expert Katya Knyazeva who has written two excellent books on the old city. On Tuesday, August 11th, Katya will host an online talk on the area’s history as part of the Bespoke Speaker Series. In the meantime, here are a few of our favorite little corners in which you can still get a real feel – and a taste! – of the area’s heritage.