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Jiao Tong University: Oldest and best preserved
By Paloma Moritz

Shanghai Daily’s series on memorable buildings and settings at the city’s college campuses resumes at Jiao Tong University.

Founded in 1896, Jiao Tong is one of the oldest and top universities in China. The university is comprehensive, internationalized and research-oriented. It also boasts a long list of notable alumni, among them is former Chinese President, Jiang Zemin, who graduated in 1947.

Jiao Tong University is known for its care in preserving the cultural heritage. The Xuhui campus boasts great scenery and perfectly embodies the deep cultural background and age-old tradition of the respected institution.

During sunset, the light brings out the elegance of the campus’ landscape.


The old library

The majestic white and red brick library is certainly one of the most noteworthy buildings on campus. Located nearby the campus entrance on Huashan Road, it immediately catches one’s eye with the beauty of its old architecture. Built in 1919, the original library has been listed in Shanghai Patriotic Promotion site since 2003.

What is appreciable is that the old library seems to have remained almost untouched over the years, with its decorative stone carvings, stained glass windows and delicate ornaments.

Once inside, climbing the impressive marble stairs, one can imagine the numerous students who rushed through those stairs with books under their arms. Nowadays, it is extremely peaceful as the library is not occupied anymore. Yet, the wooden floors still ooze a smell of old souvenirs. On the second floor, the flagstone balcony offers a view on the large grass lawn and the centennial monument. Here, the serene charm of the traditional Xuhui campus is in sharp contrast with skyscrapers and the modernity around.

Middle Hall

Built in 1899, this impressive gray and orange edifice is the oldest and most well preserved on the campus. Like most buildings on Xuhui campus, it bears an important American influence in its design. It is now the office building.

Visitors are welcomed by the bronze bust of Jiao Tong University’s first general administrator: He Sikun (1843-1901). The outstanding educator was actually the one who directed the construction of the Middle Hall. The interior layout is equally sophisticated, with marble floors and lusters on the ceiling. Behind the building is a small peaceful area with benches where visitors can rest.

New Wenzhi Hall

Built in 1949, the light grey auditorium has always been the heartbeat of Jiao Tong University’s life. The venue holds major events like movie screenings, performances, and graduation ceremonies to solemn conferences. Most famous guests are welcomed in the auditorium. This is where the world-renowned economist Paul Krugman, winner of the 2008 Nobel Economics Prize, was received this January when he visited the campus. 

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