For the traveler on a time-budget, the Bund is the city’s definitive locale, Shanghai-writ-small, a promenade where you can tap into the core of the city's spirit, both historically and currently. The word "bund" comes from Urdu, meaning embankment, and describes the elbow of land pushed away by the curve of the Huangpu River, the transport vein bisecting Shanghai. The Bund is on the west side of the river, holding on its shoulders one of the most cosmopolitan street blocks in history. During Shanghai’s heyday in the 1930’s and 40’s, every international trading house and bank lined up along the Bund. The area was initially a British settlement, which lay just to the north of the ancient, walled city of Shanghai. West and south lay the French Concession. Other nations, like the Americans, Russians, Germans, Japanese, and Belgians freckled other districts of the city. But the Bund is where they all came together for business and pleasure—which is why today it encompasses both Shanghai’s historic past and its continuing cosmopolitan present and future. The Bund boasts 52 buildings in various architectural styles, from Romanesque to Art Deco, wherein the big hitters from the 30s to the present still operate. Don’t forget to check out the Customs House, which was built in 1927 with a clock and bell in imitation of London’s Big Ben. The Sassoon House was and still is famous for its jazz band. If you can, tour the buildings during sunset and then later enjoy the night-scape of the Bund on the raised levee over the river. The lights of the city disco-balling on the black water and a view of the Pearl Tower to the East are unforgettable. Visitors might enjoy a guided tour of the area.