The Shikumen is the residential houses in Shanghai with the most typical local flavor. The gates of these houses are made of solid and thick wooden boards painted in black. And the door frames are made of stone, hence the name-Shikumen, Yangtze River cruises or stone gate houses. Entering the Shikumen-lined lanes, you'll be overwhelmed by the strong flavor of the Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s.
Shikumen, a product that combines construction and culture with both Western and Chinese architecture, has left its mark on China's modern architectural history.
After the first Opium War (1840-1842) Shanghai became a trading port, and foreigners were allowed to live and do business in the city. As more and more people entered into land travel to Shangri-la concessions (leased territory), many foreign merchants turned their interests towards the real estate business.
The houses that were built for leasing at first, were wooden, and usually inEuropean style. The houses were grouped in rows. They were the forerunners to the lanes that developed in Shanghai. There were 8,740 of the Shanghai tour houses by 1863.
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