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Duolun Road Cultural Street

This picturesque street was once the home of many of China's most famous writers.

TravelCurious Tip

Head to the Old Film Café for a coffee and admire the peculiar Charlie Chaplin statue outside

Built in 1911, this historic street was once home to a number of famous Chinese writers. The writers have moved on, but the architecture and the atmosphere remain. Nowadays, the street is lined with art stores, antique shops, galleries and teahouses. It’s a pedestrian street, and not one that is always overwhelmed with tourists, so head along for a peaceful amble.


The golden age of this street was in the 20s and 30s. Then it was known as Darroch Road, and it was studded with writers and celebrities. Among them were various influential League of Left-Wing Writers, including the founder Lu Xun, whose former residence is now an authentically preserved museum. He even got the nearby park renamed after him by the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China. He was never a member, but they have a slightly selective memory.


The architecture along Duolun Road makes for a rather good style timeline of 20th century Shanghai. Chinese styles were fused with foreign ones, so its interesting to see elements of Islamic, Jewish and French styles alongside one another. Highlights include the Hongde Temple, a Christian church built in a Chinese style, and the political museum where the League of Left-Wing Writers was founded. The Shanghai Doulun Museum of Modern Art also warrants a visit, not just for the art, but also for its charming terrace.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Shanghai
Lu Xun Park
Formerly known as Hongkou Park, this is one of the city's most pleasant green spaces.
Lu Xun Museum
This former residence charts the life of one of China's most celebrated literary figures.
Hongde Temple
This church is built in a Chinese style and features a grey-brick interior and high wooden ceilings.
Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art
Expand your knowledge at this lesser known art museum focusing on experimental contemporary art.
Egg Pancake
Experience the joy of tasting Jianbing (egg pancake), one of China's best-kept culinary secrets.
Scallion Pancake
A cong you bing, also known as a scallion pancake, is a Chinese, savoury, unleavened flatbread folded with oil and minced scallions.

Related Tours

Hongkou District: Private Tour of Shanghai’s Cultural Hub with Tickets
Explore the fascinating Hongkou district, former home to leftwing writers, Jewish refugees and Anglo-American colonizers on this private full-day walking tour with tickets to the Lu Xun, Modern Art and Jewish Refugees Museums, and the Hongde Temple. On your private tour you will: 

  • Take a step back from the tourist trail and enjoy the personalised attention of your private tour guide through Hongkou.
  • Commence your tour at the Lu Xun Museum, with skip-the-line access. Dedicated to the life and work of Lu Xun – the writer considered the founder of modern Chinese literature and leader of the Chinese League of Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai in the turbulent 1920s and 30s. 
  • Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Lu Xun Park.
  • Walk down Duolun Road cultural street.
  • Pass by the Hongde Temple – a unique Christian church built in the Chinese temple style.
  • See the old Lilong alleys where the Chinese lived in squalid housing during the war.  
  • Wander through the Museum of Modern Art – admiring the birthplace of Shanghai’s style. 
  • Visit the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue - now the Jewish Refugees Museum and learn about the Jewish community here, who called it ‘Little Vienna’ during WW2. 
In the northeast corner of downtown Shanghai, you’ll find the captivating, off the beaten path district of Hongkou, a living, breathing museum to Shanghai’s complex political and cultural history. You’ll find relics of its colonial past, its left-wing art and culture scene, the Memorial Site of the 4th National Congress of the CPC, museums to modern art, the Jewish community and refugees of many backgrounds, through many wars, as well as the plethora of homages to Lu Xun, the author, essayist and translator. Famous for writing in the vernacular of the common Chinese man, he is considered by many to be the founder of modern Chinese literature.  Both the park and the Museum (his former home) are named for him. Your guide will also point out the many houses of renowned left-wing rebel intellectuals from the early twentieth century. 

Hongkou is situated at the confluence of the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek and was part of the American and British settlement, the so-called ‘Shanghailanders’ in the mid-nineteenth century, who refused to pay taxes to the Quing government of the day. During the First World War Japanese troops and civilians moved in and it became known as ‘Little Tokyo’, and by the beginning of the Second World War, it officially fell to Japan. The remaining Brits and Americans were put into the internment camp at Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre alongside the Chinese prisoners.

The Chinese who were allowed to stay in Hongkou lived in squalor, in Lilong – narrow, claustrophobic alleys, the remnants of which your guide will show you.

With its focus on experimental contemporary art, you will get a taste of Shanghai’s modern cultural scene on Duolun Cultural road where you’ll venture inside the Museum of Modern Art and see the unique Hongde Temple – a Chinese styled Christian church.

Finally, your tour guide will take you to the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue - now the Jewish Refugees Museum. If Hongkou was Little Tokyo at the beginning of the war, by the middle years, it became the Jewish Ghetto or ‘Little Vienna’ as the Jewish Community called it, and is where your tour ends. 
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