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Ancient Jiading drives into the future

( Shanghai Star ) 2014-09-19

With its winding canals, stone bridges, Confucius temple and centuries-old Fahua Pagoda, it is no surprise to learn that Jiading was a flourishing town as early as the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

Today, the town located in northwestern Shanghai, draws visitors not only with its picturesque views and cultural heritage, but also its distinctive role as an automobile industrial hub.

From Sept 19 to Nov 2, Jiading will see a series of automobile themed races, exhibitions and festivals. The World Touring Car Championship, Sports Car Champions Festival, the 2014 China Auto Salon Modified Cars Show, a triathlon competition and a beer festival, are just some of the events that will be held in the town.

Car fans may be drawn to Jiading by the top sporting events, but there is much more to explore in this ancient town.

Do you dream of being behind the wheel of a Grand Prix racer? Then do the next best thing and get behind the wheel of a kart at SIC Kart World. The facility boasts the country’s longest track at 1,234 meters and 18 corners with different speeds. Kart World is regarded one of the best in Asia Pacific. You can drive at a top speed of 120 km per hour and the safety facilities are also world class.

If that’s not exciting enough, then what about flying? The vertical wind tunnel near the Shanghai Circuit offers you the chance to experience the feeling of flying without the fear of falling from the sky.

Wear a helmet, protective goggles and a specially designed flying costume, then spread your arms in the flight cabinet, the air blower produces strong airflow and your body will gradually float off the ground.

Auto fans will be interested in visiting the Shanghai Auto Museum that exhibits nearly 70 classic and antique cars and tells the story of automobile technology.

But for those who have had enough excitement and prefer to soak in the atmosphere of the ancient water town, Zhouqiao Old Street, Nanxiang Old Street and Guyi Garden are the best destinations.

At the center of Jiading district lies Zhouqiao Old Street. It is not long, but it features centuries-old pagodas, temples and gardens.

The Confucius Temple on the street is also the only Imperial Examination Museum in China.It has fantastic displays detailing the paper, procedures and history of the examinations. Interestingly, it also shows cheating tools used in the exams.

If you are planning to visit the street in September, you will have the chance to attend various cultural activities, such as a traditional Chinese style wedding ceremony and lectures on the Analects of Confucius.

Dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Guyi garden is one of the oldest gardens in Shanghai. It covers an area of nearly 10 hectares and features ancient pagodas, marbled paths, winding brooks and scrolls covered with couplets.

The garden charms visitors throughout the year with different flower exhibitions. A bamboo forest with more than 70 varieties is particularly interesting.

About 10 minutes’ walk from Guyi garden is Nanxiang Old Street. With flagstone paving, an arch bridge, snack stalls and souvenir shops, it is similar to many water towns in the Southern Yangtze River region.

What makes it distinct, however, are the 1,500-year-old Twin Towers built for the God of Longevity, and the famous Nanxiangxiaolongbao, known as a steamed bun in English. In fact, many visitors come just for a bite of the tender meat and tasty soup encased in a paper-thin wrap.

Fans ofxiaolongbaoshould not miss this year’s Nanxiang Xiaolongbao Culture Exhibition, which will be held in Nanxiang Old Street and the Guyi garden from Sept 28 to Oct 28.

The festival will featurexiaolongbaocooking classes and axiaolongbaodining gala. Tickets for the feast can be booked at dianping.com, meituan.com, ly.com and ctrip.com.

Jiading’s fruits and vegetables are harvested in the fall months. At the Huating Modern Agriculture Park, you can experience rural lifestyles and enjoy pastoral life by picking fruits, appreciating flowers, fishing and drinking tea.

Jiading truly has something for everyone. You can design your own tour route to suit your interests. For more information about Jiading tour packages, consult http://jdly.jiading.gov.cn, or call 021-5991-2999/5991-8114

MAIL TO DISTRICT CHIEFzxi@jiading.gov.cn

ATTRACTIONS

Jiading Fahua Pagoda

The Fahua Pagoda, 40.8 meters tall, is a square, brick-wood structure with seven stories, accessible by ladders.