Notes on the Geography of China: Shanghai: the New Chinese City: Photo 1
Because the Communist government declined for many years to invest in a city as accessible to invaders as Shanghai, the city has few Socialist-era architectural monuments. Here's one, on the right: now the Shanghai Exhibition Centre but built as the Hall of Sino-Soviet Friendship to mark the tenth anniversary of China's Communist revolution. The architect was a Russian, Sergei Andreyev.
The building sits along Nanjing Xilu, formerly Nanking Road, sometimes called Shanghai's Fifth Avenue. There's a reason it's here. A Baghdad Jew named Salih Harun came to Shanghai and went to work as Silas Hardoon in the real-estate business. Soon Hardoon became an independent operator, specializing in land along Nanking Road. It made him fabulously rich, and in 1909 he built a mansion and Shanghai's most extensive private garden, Aili Garden. Hardoon died in 1931, and a fired destroyed the place a few years later. Japanese troops used the site as a camp until they were driven from China. The land sat vacant until chosen for this building.
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