• Kevin

A Unique Location in Shanghai

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Guangfulin : Ancient Relics Site.
Semi-submerged museums at Guangfulin at sunset. Gorgeous sunset. Beautifully lit museums at dusk.
Beautifully lit , semi-submerged museums at Guangfulin at sunset.
Introduction

The archeological site, where Shanghai's earliest-known residents lived some 4,000 years ago, was discovered in 1959. One of the highlights of the park is the main exhibition hall, featuring three museums partially submerged below water (see above).

Reconstructed traditional Hui architecture at Guangfulin. Canal, water, Sakurta, cherry trees, pagoda,
Reconstructed traditional Hui architecture at Guangfulin

This enormous archaeological park is built around the ancient relics of Songjiang and covers an area of 40 square kms. I've spent many days here but for day-trippers note that even one day is unlikely to do it full justice ... but at least it's a start !

The park has a wonderful 'juxta-architecture' of ancient-traditional and the ultra-modern and includes both original and re-created paifang archways, bridges, pagodas, and courtyards plus several museums. Some of the features/attractions : Guangfulin Archeological Site Exhibition Hall, a woodcraft exhibition hall, an ancient pottery art museum, a memorial hall dedicated to the Songjiang (the name of this region) poet Chen Zilong (1608-1647), Fulin Pagoda, Zhiye Temple, City God Temple, Guandi Temple, Sanyuan Palace and Duoyun Books.

Traditional Hui architecture at Guangfulin. Some is original and some reconstructed. Archway, Rapeseed, Canola, Willow trees
Traditional Hui architecture at Guangfulin. Some is original and some reconstructed.
Book Project

Probably on my very first visit to the park I decided I wanted to include Guangfulin as one of the books in my series of A4 books on Shanghai (or, to clarify, they are 'zines', basically soft sided A4 sized magazine styled books of around 70-90 pages). The Guangfulin book will be going on sale for around 100 rmb / US$15.00 each once completed by June 2022 (which will complete a full 4 seasons cycle since I started regularly visiting the park last year). More details of this book will follow and I'll update this post as the project nears completion. The book will feature day & night wide angle feature shots, day & night drone shots from overhead, day & night telephoto shots of particular park features and lots of portraits of the park denizens (Chinese people of all ages love to hire historical costumes and pose around the park, both for themselves/family and for professional photographers, they make wonderful subjects ! Of few of the many more photographs that will be going into the 70 to 90 page book can be found here : https://www.thedragonsfather.com/shanghai-guangfulin

Latest Update 13th December 2021

Guangfulin, Child, Period Costume, Spring, Flowers, Bokeh, Sword,
Parents love to dress their children in period costumes to create unique photographs that will last a lifetime.

To date I've experienced 3 seasons of the park (Spring, Summer & Autumn) with Winter to come (I'm praying for snow!). Unequivocally Spring is the best season with Cherry & Plum blossoms in glorious bloom and with bright yellow Rapeseed (Canola) flowers a dash of awesomeness across the landscape. It is also the time when local people flock to the park to take millions of photographs (who can blame them) so time your visit carefully, to avoid the worst of the crowds, but still find some gems, young and old, dressed in traditional period costumes, who are often willing to pose for you to take their portrait (should you so desire).

Guangfulin, Old lady, Period Costume, Spring, Flowers, Bokeh, Sword,
Age & beauty lost are no barriers to timeless elegance.

Gorgeous Cherry & Plum trees in full bloom during 'Sakura' season. Drone shot.
Gorgeous Cherry & Plum trees in full bloom during 'Sakura' season.

Architecturally the park is a fascinating mixture of traditional Chinese and the ultra-Modern, so typical of Shanghai in fact. However to enjoy the buildings at their best be sure to remain after the park has officially 'closed'. At which time you can wander around the main buildings taking photographs after sunset that are unattainable at any other ... the security won't bother you at all and I assure you that you won't be the only one !

Fascinating architecture is a by-word at the Guangfulin Ancient Relics Park. Evening. Night time photography
Fascinating architecture is a by-word at the Guangfulin Ancient Relics Park

Some of the best photographs / views of the buildings can be taken after the park has closed. Either by lingering inside or by going around on the exterior of the park to the other side of the lake fronting the museums. You'll need a long telephoto lens (70-200 should be enough for most people although a 100-400 would also work well) or/and a drone.

Zhiye Temple, from the Tang Dynasty, during the Blue Hour. Balloons. Illuminated temple. Reflections. Pool of water.
Zhiye Temple, from the Tang Dynasty, during the Blue Hour.

Above - taken from inside the park. Below - taken from outside the park.

Zhiye Temple - photograph taken from outside the park and across the water after the park has closed (the lights stay on for a few hours after closing). Nighttime photo of Zhiye temple
Zhiye Temple - photograph taken from outside the park and across the water after the park has closed (the lights stay on for a few hours after closing).

Guangfulin Museum - photo taken at night from across the other side of the lake .
Guangfulin Museum - photo taken at night from across the other side of the lake .

Black & White. These are the typical lanes at Guangfulin. There are food outlets and amenities here. Lanes. Tree. Cobbled stones.
These are the typical lanes at Guangfulin. There are food outlets and amenities to be found within these lanes.

More photos of Guangfulin can be found in the dedicated gallery. There is a link to order prints or books on the page : https://www.thedragonsfather.com/shanghai-guangfulin


For more information about the park check out their website: http://www.gflpark.com/



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