Shanghai, China, the nation's largest city and principal seaport, and one of the most populous cities in the world. It is on the Huangpu Jiang (Huangpu River), which empties into the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) estuary north of the city. Officially, Shanghai is a special municipality called a shihand is one of the 30 main administrative units into which China is divided. The municipality's boundaries lie far beyond the city proper and enclose suburbs, small rural communities, and farmland.
Shanghai proper lies on the west side of the Huangpu and, like the entire municipality, is situated on the flat, low floodplain of the Yangtze delta. Flowing through the city are several small streams, including the Wusong, which is crossed by many bridges and is much used by small boats. Shanghai's central business district lies near the junction of the Wusong and the Huangpu.
Extending along the west bank of the Huangpu is Zhong Shan Road, which before the Communists took over China in 1949 was known as the Bund. It was the principal center of the International Settlement, from where Western (mainly British, French, and American) interests controlled much of China's foreign commerce for about a century. Parts of the Settlement area, especially along Zhong Shan Road, have a somewhat European appearance. Nanjing Road, the principal commercial street, has a number of department stores, restaurants, and theaters. Port facilities and industrial areas line the banks of the Huangpu downstream from the business district.