Temple of the City God

The Taoist Temple of the City God (Lǎo Chénghuángmiào, 老城隍庙), tucked away within the Old City alongside the Yu Gardens and Yuyuan Bazaar, is the home of the local deities (there are actually three, all derived from actual historical personages) responsible for the well being and wealth of Shanghai residents. Going by Shanghai’s booming economy, they’ve done quite a good job in recent years, and you can see citizens making offerings of incense, candies, fruit and other goodies fit for a City God in order to keep the good times rolling.
The temple and city haven’t always been so lucky. Since its founding during the Ming Dynasty in 1403, the City God’s Temple has been destroyed several times; the current temple was built in 1926. During the Japanese occupation of Shanghai during World War II, local merchants, cut off from the original temple, were forced to build a secondary temple in the International Concession (the site is now, to no one’s surprise, occupied by a high rise). During the Cultural Revolution, the temple was used as a factory. Despite the tough times, the red-faced City God today presides in fine style over his temple along with a cast of Taoist and Buddhist deities.


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