Water town

Updated: 2014-11-24 10:22

(Shanghai Star)

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Water town

Romance:Waibaidu Bridge is a popular location for wedding pictures.[Photo by Gao Erqiang/Shanghai Star]

Bridge of romance

There is perhaps no other place that’s more representative of Shanghai than this bridge, which appears in quite a lot of movies about the city. Dozens of couples visit every day to pose for their pre-wedding photos on the bridge where Suzhou Creek begins and interconnects with Huangpu River. This is Waibaidu Bridge, or the Garden Bridge.

The soon-to-be-wed couples pose in splendid attire on the bridge, leaning against the railing or sitting on the wooden floor. Some even risk walking into the middle of the road to get the perfect shot.

Colorful lights illuminate the bridge throughout the night, making it a picturesque place for pre-wedding portraits and lovers to meet.

Constructed in 1873 and designed by a British company, the 106-meter-long bridge was the first-ever major bridge in Shanghai.

In 1856, the first large wooden bridge, Wells Bridge, was built over Suzhou Creek but the bridge toll led to complaints from citizens. So 17 years later, another wooden bridge, which did not require tolls, was built. People called it Waibaidu, which means “going across for free”. The bridge was renovated as a steel truss structure in 1907.

Because nearly 40 bridges have now been built over Suzhou Creek, the bridge is no longer a traffic artery but is more of an observation deck for tourists.

It is a tradition in Shanghai for a grandmother to walk across a bridge with their grandchild when he or she reaches one month. This represents that the newborn has overcome all the twists and turns and its journey will be safe and smooth throughout his or her life.

"Waibaidu Bridge is always the best option because it’s the icon of Shanghai. The picture of my daughter when she was a baby held by her grandmother was also taken here. It’s like a family tradition," says Wang Xuefen, a Shanghai native who has a newborn grandson.