The Top 6 Places in China to Visit For The Literary Traveler
- On December 29, 2016
- By Shannon Ullman
- In General
For the literary traveler, this one is for you. While China has a little bit of something for everyone, it can actually be an especially appealing place for all of the literature nerds out there. Between intriguing libraries and bookshops to the monuments and homes of famous writers, there is more to see around this great country than just the Great Wall and stunning natural scenery.
If you want to dive a bit deeper into the literary scene on your next visit to China, check out these six places.
1) Zhongshuge-Hangzhou Library
Located right outside of Shanghai, this library is part of an even bigger and more interesting work of architecture, Thames Town. Named after the river in London, this town was built to reflect what a village in the UK actually looks like.
In fact, many of the buildings have been directly copied from ones that exist in England, making the town feel more authentic. The Zhongshuge-Hangzhou library is Thames Town’s best spot for book lovers and is actually quite amazing, even for those who never pick up a book.
Absolutely colossal in size, the store is split up into 9 rooms, each donning a whimsical theme. There are over 50,000 books with quite a few in foreign languages and aside from being a place to stock up on reading material, the entire library seems to be a work of art itself.
2) Alexander Pushkin Monument
For those interested in Russian literature, Shanghai has got just the monument for you. This 19th century, Russian author has been called the founder of Russian literature and one of the greatest poets ever to come out of the country.
The monument was one of the first dedicated to a foreign author in Shanghai and was erected in 1937 by the Sino-Soviet Association. It stands at the intersection of Yueyang Lu and Fenyang Lu and can be seen during any time of day and year.
3) Mix Paper
This bookshop in Shanghai is the perfect hang out for all of the book lovers out there. The shelves are full of both Chinese and English language reads and range from classic tales to more modern novels.
Aside from novels, the store has quite a mix of coffee table books, art books, and magazines to keep you preoccupied while you take in the trendy décor. Mix Paper is actually equal parts hangout and bookstore as the top floor features a projector showing foreign films and the café serves craft coffees with the ambiance of a European establishment.
4) Pearl S. Buck Monuments
American-born, this writer and novelist spent many years of her life living in China with her missionary family. Aside from writing many books about her time living in the country, she later went on to start the Pearl S. Buck Foundation which helped with the adoption of many children in need from China.
She was a Pulitzer Prize winner as well as the Nobel Prize winner in literature, making her the first woman to win that award in America. Travelers can visit her former residence in China located in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province as well as a memorial hall dedicated to her. In Jiangxi Province, travelers can visit her family villa on Lushan Mountain as well.
5) The Residence of Wu Cheng’en
Writing one of China’s most famous novels, Journey to The West, this author is well known and loved around the country. Both a well-known novelist and poet during the Ming Dynasty, Wu wrote his infamous fiction story that is now often required reading for Chinese students all over the country.
The story depicts a journey of a Buddhist monk who travels to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures and Buddhism as a religion itself to China. The story was so loved that it is now considered one of China’s four greatest works of literature.
As this author was born in Huaian, local officials have turned his former residence into a museum for others to get a glimpse at where he came from and the way that he lived.
6) Lu Xun Park
This poet, essayist, short story writer and critic of literature led the way for Chinese writing during his time in the 1920s and early 1930s. After going to medical school in Japan, he returned to China and later took a position at the Ministry of Education which led the way for him to start his own writing as well as influence the writing of others.
It was even well known that Mao Zedong himself was a fan of Lu Xun’s work. Now, an entire park is dedicated to this man and his influence over literature in the Hongkou District of Shanghai.
Towards the end of his life, he lived quite close by to where the park now stands and has even been buried on its grounds. There is a monument dedicated to the author in the park and his close by former residence is open to the public who want to see what he saw during his final years.
Also check out this video for 5 things to do in Shanghai!
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