The Bund is a famous waterfront and regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years. It is on the west bank of Huangpu River from the Waibaidu Bridge to Nanpu Bridge and winds 1500 meters (0.93 mile) in length. The most famous and attractive sight which is at the west side of the Bund are the 26 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance. The 1,700-meters (1,859 yards) long flood-control wall, known as 'the lovers' wall', located on the side of Huangpu River from Huangpu Park to Xinkai River and once was the most romantic corner in Shanghai in the last century. After renovation, the monotone concrete buildings that lovers leaned against in the past have been improved into hollowed-out railings full of romantic atmosphere. Standing by the railings, visitors can have a 'snap-shot' view of the scenery of Pudong Area and Huangpu River.
Before the 1840s, the Bund was a muddy narrow lane with tall reeds. It initially became a British settlement. After Shanghai was established as the trading port in 1846, a street was paved there and the riversides were reinforced. Then, rows of commercial buildings were constructed. As the UK Concession, a building boom at the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century led to the Bund becoming a major financial hub of East Asia. It was the centre of the city's politics, economy and culture more than a hundred years ago, consulates of most countries and many banks, businesses and newspaper offices were settled there, and that's why we have these art-like buildings.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the thawing of economic policy in the People's Republic of China, buildings on the Bund were gradually returned to their former uses. Government institutions were moved out in favor of financial institutions, while hotels resumed trading as such.
In the 1990s the Shanghai government attempted to promote an extended concept of the Bund to boost tourism and land values in nearby areas. From 2008, a major reconfiguration of traffic flow along the Bund was carried out. After a 33-month upgrade, the Bund was reopened to visitors on March 28, 2010. The veil on the new Bund was finally lifted.
After the reconstruction, most transit vehicles which originally got through the ground level roads began to make their way through the new underground tunnel. The original eleven driveways on the Bund ground were compressed into four two-way lanes. Thus more space was left for expending the four major squares: Huangpu Park, Chen Yi Square, the Bund Financial Square, and the Observatory Plaza. After being reconstructed, the new Bund waterfront is neat and atmospheric. The public activity space is expansive embracing more visitors.