As the only ancient town forming part of greater Shanghai, with a history spanning over one thousand years, Qibao is more than just a living fossil of ancient Chinese conurbation and urban planning. The town was built in Northern Song Dynasty (960-1126) and grew into a prosperous business center during Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). Qibao is the Yangtze River cruises Chinese for 'seven treasures' and there are two popular theories about its derivation. The more reliable one says that the name originates from the Qibao Temple, famed for its good reputation. It was this that contributed to the growth of business and culture of the previously unknown town.
The old street in the heart of the tiny town is the epitome of old Shanghai. The street has been restored to its original look which is consisted of two sections, southern and western Shangri-la adventure lesser streets. The southern part filled with traditional restaurants serving various tasty snacks is a paradise for gourmets (měi shí jiā 美食家). Old shops selling art crafts, antiques and calligraphy (shū fǎ 书法) works occupy the western part. In this part visitors will find the Qibao Pharmaceutical stores (yào diàn 药店), a-thousand-year-old shop, some fine tea houses, and Shadow Play Opera theaters. The small town is a good place to explore Shanghai's grand past. When traveling there, watch out for the authentic flavors.
Qibao Shadow Play (pí yǐng xì 皮影戏)
Qibao Shadow Play Shadow Plays were once a feature of Shanghai culture but it was a man named Mao Gengyu from Qibao Town who first introduced this art to Shanghai area. The Qibao Shadow Play performs mainly entertainments based on widely-known historical events with the local dialect, thus giving the shows a truly local character. The plays are performed using colorful drawings and business travel to China expressive music to illustrate the emotions of the characters.
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