The Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Shopping Center is located in the central business district of Shanghai. Together with the Yuyuan Garden, the Chenghuang Temple (the Temple of the Town God), and Chenxiang Pavilion nearby, it creates a distinctive feature that blends commerce with culture and folk customs.
The predecessor of the Yuyuan Shopping Center--the Chenghuang Temple--was widely known in Shanghai. Most of the buildings in the Chenghuang Temple were built before 1911 in the ancient Chinese architectural style. Small shops stood in order, selling a wide array of goods. The Chenghuang Temple was known as the Kingdom of Snacks, offering various local-flavored snacks, including sweet pastries, vegetable-stuffed buns, eight-treasure rice pudding, and fermented glutinous rice balls. Time-honored shops, such as Laomiao Gold Shop, Yayi Gold Ornaments, Tonghanchuntang Drug Store, and Yuyuan Small Commodities, were assembled here. There were also shops dealing in special commodities and food, such as pear-essence candy, effective in relieving a cough, reducing phlegm, moistening the throat, and stimulating the appetite, and five-flavored beans, made using a 60-year-old recipe. The Chenghuang Temple has become a must for domestic and foreign visitors to Shanghai.
In September 1994, an extension to the Chenghuang Temple was completed, and the Yuyuan Shopping Center was opened for service. In recent years, the business area of Yuyuan has been expanded from its previous 18,000 square meters to 75,000 square meters. A group of structures modeled on the architectural styles of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911) have been built, featuring overhanging eaves, carved beams, and painted rafters. They look ancient, but are virtually modern inside. Today, the Yuyuan Shopping Center integrates shopping, food, and amusement.
(China Pictorial December 10, 2002)