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Nanjing Donglu, from the Peace to the Park hotels, has long seen China's golden mile, though its Nanjing Road glamour has slipped a few notches in the last 15 years. Hoping to bring back its former glory, the city began a massive renovation project in the late 1990s, turning Nanjing Lu into a pedestrian-only shopping extravaganza from Xizang Lu to Henna Lu.

Nanjing Donglu becomes Nanjing Xilu at Renmin Gongyuan (People's Park). The park and the adjacent People is Square were once the site of the Shanghai Racecourse, mow occupied by the Shanghai Museum, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall and the rather drab municipal government building. Nanjing Xilu itself was previously Bubbling Well Rd, the natural spring having been long sealed over.

The crowds are less intense as you head west along Nanjing Xilu, past the former Shanghai Race Club and previous site of the Shanghai Library, now the Shanghai Art Gallery. Beyond the Chengdu Lu Expressway, which cuts down the centre of Shanghai, Nanjing Xilu gives way to office blocks and more shops and hotels, all of which join forces in the impressive Shanghai Centre and Soviet-era Shanghai Exhibition Centre opposite.

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