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April 29, 2024

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Ancient town of Jiading boasts old and new landmarks

Cultural landmarks define a place, and Jiading, with its 800-year history, offers a mix of historic and contemporary must-see sites that capture its cultural and artistic essence. Wang Jie and Ye Fengting report.

Fahua Pagoda

Fahua Pagoda was built during the Kaixi period (1205-1207) of the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279). With its striking resemblance to an enormous, upright writing brush, it has earned the poetic nicknames “wenfeng” or “wenbi” pagoda, symbolic of the pinnacle of literary accomplishment.

Since its construction, Jiading has been a cradle of talent, with numerous celebrities hailing from this region. During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, 192 civil and military scholars were recorded.

Hours: 8:30am–5pm (closed on Mondays)

Address: 349 Nandajie Street


Yongan Pagoda

Yongan Pagoda has a history of 1,800 years. It was built in the Three Kingdom period (AD 220-280) and was destroyed in fire during the war against Japanese invasion. The new tower was built in August 2003, to a height of 52.88 meters. The 10.8-meter-high decoration on the tower top is made of gold-plated brass, and the eaves of the outer corridor are carved with fine wood.

During the first month of the lunar new year, large crowds of locals and tourists visit to pray for blessings under the pagoda. Anting Old Street, where the Yongan Pagoda is located, features architectural styles in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Hours: Daily 
Address: Anting Street

安亭街 (近新源路)

Guyi Garden

Guyi Garden was built during the Jiajing period (1522-1566) of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Designed by renowned Jiading bamboo-carving master Zhu Sansong, the ancient garden has gone through several renovations and expansions after the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

After another round of renovations and expansion in 2009, it now comprises four scenic sections based on different landscape scenes, each of which has a unique and exquisite artistic plan, exuding the unique ancient simplicity, elegance and refinement. A cluster of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) jingchuang, or Buddhist stone pillars, Putong Tower of the Song Dynasty, as well as some other cultural and historical relics, all prove attractive to visitors.


Jiading Museum

Covering a site area of 6,705 square meters, Jiading Museum has two permanent shows featuring the history of the district and its own collection of cultural relics. The museum also hosts a variety of events throughout the year such as lectures and interactive activities on a regular basis.

Hours: 8:30am–5pm (closed on Mondays)

Address: 215 Bole Rd


Nanxiang Twin Pagodas

Made of bricks, Nanxiang Twin Pagodas were built between the 10th and 12th century. They are currently the oldest cultural heritage in Nanxiang Town. The seven-storey, 11-meter pagodas were finely crafted and imitated the famed wooden-structure towers that are typical in South China. They are of high artistic value and offer an insight into academic studies on ancient Chinese architecture, religion and local history.


The Loutang Pancakes Museum of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Featuring functional spaces including the show areas, experience spaces, service parlours, food processing rooms, storage rooms and a courtyard, the museum offers an on-site experience for visitors to learn about the production of traditional Loutang pancakes. Visitors can also make the pancakes themselves at the museum.

Hours: 9am–4:30pm (closed on Sundays)

Address: 56 Zhongdajie Street


Yuanxiang Cultural Posthouse

Situated on the north bank of the lake, the Yuanxiang Cultural Posthouse is a new addition to the Culture Loop of Yuanxiang Lake. This innovative space blends exhibition areas, leisure zones and immersive cultural experiences, inviting visitors to engage with the arts and local heritage in a multifaceted setting.

Visitors to the posthouse can experience a virtual reality exhibition of traditional Chinese opera. The cultural corridor features a 26-meter-long, 3-meter-high mural that captures the ancient essence of Jiading, highlighting its renowned landmarks like the Confucian Temple, Fahua Pagoda and Qiuxiapu Park.


Jiangnan Bookstore • Eye of Liucheng

The Eye of Liucheng, a branch of the Jiangnan Bookstore project in Jiading New City, is designed based on the image of an eye’s iris. Situated by Yuanxiang Lake, this new landmark offers a cultural space with a picturesque view.

The bookstore showcases creative local artworks, such as Jiading bamboo carving and weaving, Jiangnan boudoir embroidery, and Su and Gu embroideries. It also displays books related to the notable figures of Jiading, as well as the greater Jiangnan region, promoting the area’s distinctive culture and heritage.


Shanghai Poly Grand Theater

Shanghai Poly Grand Theater, designed by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, stands as an iconic cultural landmark in Jiading New City. The venue hosts many types of performance, including symphony concerts, opera, dance dramas, and plays.

Every second Sunday of the month is the Public Open Day of the theater, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy the unique cultural space where nature, architecture and art interact.


Jiading Library

The Jiading Library has emerged as a beloved destination, blending traditional architectural charm with a contemporary flair. A bird’s-eye view reveals a striking design where the library’s rooftops resemble open books.

The library boasts a collection of 300,000 books on open shelves and offers 1,500 reading seats. There are areas for different reading needs, including a general literature area, a multimedia document area, a 24-hour self-service reading room, a children’s reading room, a reading room for the visually impaired, and an audio-visual hall.

Its spacious lobby offers a comfortable reading environment.


Jiayuanhai Art Museum

Located in Dayu Village and surrounded by rice fields, the Jiayuanhai Art Museum integrates functions such as exhibitions, reading and leisure.

Currently, two exhibitions are open for free. The “Inkstone Grand View” celebrates the 20th Century Shanghai-style painting and calligraphy and “Tadao Ando: Light, Shadow and Nature” is an exploration of the renowned architect’s harmonious integration of natural elements in his designs.

There is also a reading room, a cafe, and a cultural and creative store that offers interactive activities and goods such as postcards, fridge magnets and handbags.


Eight Tenths Garden

The Eight Tenths Garden is a poetic cultural complex, combining the elements of urban gardening, enamel exhibitions and hands-on crafting experiences.

The garden features a tranquil setting with a pool, small rockeries and stone bridges, offering a place to relax amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.

The exhibition hall on the second floor showcases over 2,600 enamel products and more than 400 enamel paintings, spanning from the Republican period (1912-1949) to the present.



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