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These Before and After Photos of Shanghai Show Just How Far the City Has Come Since the '80s

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"Some days you look at it and you still don't believe your eyes."

The people of Shanghai on Saturday celebrated the completion of the Shanghai Tower, the world’s second-largest building.

At 2,073 feet, Shanghai’s "vertical city” is an impressive feat, one that reminds us of just how far the city has come since the 1980s.

And although the newly unveiled tower is a fine testament to the area’s economic progress, nothing underscores this fact quite like a couple of before and after photos.

The following photos are of Pudong, the area to the east of its Huangpu river, and the Bund:

View of the Bund, 1986. (Image source: shanghaiist.com)

View of the Bund today. (Image source: Google Maps)

View from the Bund, early 1990s. (Image source: Skyscrapercity.com)

View from the Bund, 2010. (Image source: Skyscrapercity.com)

Shanghai Tower, 2013. (Getty Images)

Shanghai's population in 1987 was just 11 million, The Guardian notes, when "[D]rab warehouses and factories [dotted] the Huangpu's eastern bank across from the city's historic Bund."

Today, that same area is nearly unrecognizable.

Shanghai’s rise to economic prominence began in the 1980s when China first decided to become a serious player in the global economy.

“In 1990, Communist Party leaders in Beijing unveiled plans to develop the area to the east of the Huangpu into a ‘Special Economic Zone’ and three years later ‘Pudong New Area’ was officially founded,” The Guardian reported. "At the heart of its blueprint was the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Area, a 12.27-square mile Chinese answer to Lower Manhattan."

"Pudong, which just a few decades ago was little more than a patchwork of paddy fields, is now home to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the city's international airport and the unmistakable, futuristic Oriental Pearl Tower," it continued.

Architect Jun Xia, the man behind Shanghai Tower, can hardly believe how far the city has come in just a few decades, referring to its economic growth as “a dream.”

"Some days you look at it and you still don't believe your eyes. It's incredible. It's a miracle," he said.

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Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

(H/T: Gizmodo, Reuters). Featured image Getty Images.

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