City God Temple or Chenghuang Temple is a Taoist Temple located in Huangpu area near the Yuyuan Market. The original temple, constructed during the Ming Dynasty, was destroyed and the present temple was built in 1926. After renovation, it was opened to the public in 1995.
The City God Temple not only refers to the temple complex but also the traditional commercial district around the temple. There are more than 100 shops in the area and most buildings of these shops are about a century old.
The temple is composed of several halls. The Main Hall shrines the statue of Huo Guang, a great general of the Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE). Yuanchen Hall houses the Yuanchen God who brings good luck during the whole year, “Yuanchen” in Chinese meaning auspicious time. Cihang Hall is home to three goddesses including Yanmu goddess (thought to help cure eye ailments), Cihang (goddess of safety), and Mazu (goddess of the sea). As its name suggests, Wealth Hall is a hall where people pray for fortune and happiness. Parents Hall enshrines the parents of City God.
With a history of 600 years, the City God Temple originated as the Jianshan God Temple, dedicated to the spirit of Jianshan (“Gold Mountain”). In 1403, it changed into City God Temple. From 1821 to 1850, the temple was gradually enlarged, and more construction was added. During the Daoguang era of the Qing Dynasty, the temple reached just over 8 acres (33,000 square meters) to its largest extent. During the Culture Revolution (1966 – 1976), the temple was badly damaged and the statues in the temple were destroyed. In 1994, the temple was restored to its former use.
Because of its popularity, businesses were set up nearby and the surrounding streets became a busy marketplace. Therefore, the marketplace surrounding the temple is the good place to buy Shanghai local products and small wares and to taste local famous snacks.