Shanghai stampede: 5 things you may not know about the Bund

An overhead view showing emergency vehicles (centre) amongst the crowd after a stampede by new year's revellers in Shanghai's historic riverfront in Shanghai on Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
An overhead view showing emergency vehicles (centre) amongst the crowd after a stampede by new year's revellers in Shanghai's historic riverfront in Shanghai on Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Crowds gather at the site of a New Year's Eve stampede at the Bund in Shanghai, which left at least 36 people dead, on Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
Crowds gather at the site of a New Year's Eve stampede at the Bund in Shanghai, which left at least 36 people dead, on Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
A woman lays flowers at the site of a New Year's Eve stampede at the Bund in Shanghai, which left at least 36 people dead, on Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP
A woman lays flowers at the site of a New Year's Eve stampede at the Bund in Shanghai, which left at least 36 people dead, on Jan 1, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP

AT least 36 people died during a stampede at a New Year's eve countdown party in Shanghai's historic Bund district.

The cause of the incident has not been confirmed, but local media reported that it was caused when people make a rush for fake money thrown from a nearby building.

This year's celebrations had been moved from a previous location on the Bund, due to concerns about over-crowding. Last year, nearly 300,000 people turned up at the Bund to usher in 2014, the Shanghai Daily newspaper said.

Here are 5 facts about the Bund that you may not know.

1) The Bund is the name of the wharf area along the western bank of the Huangpu River. The term "bund" is derived from an Anglo-Indian word that meant "an embankment along a muddy waterfront". The word was used to describe the state of the area in 1846, when the first British company opened at office there.

2) In the 1930s, most of the Shanghai Bund was owned by Baghdadi Jews, the earliest Jewish immigrants to Mumbai in India. Driven by the opium trade, they started establishing a foothold in China in the 1830s.

3) At the north-west end of the Shanghai Bund are the British Public Gardens, now known as Huangpu Park. It was off-limits to Chinese during the colonial era - a sign at the entrance listed regulations which included the prohibition of Chinese and dogs from the park.

4) The architecture of the Bund is a treat to enthusiasts. The buildings are a mix of several designs, including the classical eclectic and neo-renaissance styles. But many of the grand buildings were modified or allowed to fall into disrepair after the establishment of the People's Republic of China. After China opened its economy to the West in the 1970s, efforts were made to restore the buildings.

5) The area is now a popular tourist destination lined with expensive restaurants and beautiful views, and is a popular dating spot. It is still where the Chinese enjoy doing their taiji, a form of exercise, in the mornings.

Shanghai stampede on the Bund

Sources: China Daily, www.orientalarchitecture.com, www.chinafacttours.com, www.chinatravel.com, www.china.org.cn

jalmsab@sph.com.sg