Xu Guangqi Memorial Hall
China’s initial encounters with the west – and the resulting cultural inclusivity that Shanghai still enjoys today – started hundreds of years ago in Xujiahui, and Xu Guangqi Memorial Hall is a fitting place to learn about this seminal time. Xu Guangqi was a Shanghai-born scientist who became the Minister of Rites and Grand Secretary under the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Consequently, his contributions and influence were huge. In fact, the area’s original name, Zi-ka-wei, was later changed to Xujiahui, which means ‘Xu family’s property at the river junction’. Xu, who was famously converted to Catholicism by Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci, donated land to the Catholic Church. The pair worked together on cross-cultural exchanges that opened China up to Western science, technology and culture – and vice versa.