Journalist, photographer, writer and illustration artist

Katya KnyazevaKatya Knyazeva is a journalist and photographer from Siberia. She has been living in Shanghai since 2006 where she worked variously as an illustration artist, writer, photojournalist and historian. She has published articles on Chinese cuisine, arts and theater, urban form and Shanghai history.

Katya guides Shanghai Flaneur’s guests through the secret lanes of the Old City and the leafy avenues of the former French Concession. She has been a speaker at Explore Shanghai Heritage, the Royal Asiatic Society, Shanghai Expat Association and World Art Deco Congress. She is the author of “Shanghai Old Town: Topography of a Phantom City” (2015), a photographic atlas, a street guide and an oral history of the oldest and most obscure quarter in Shanghai. Katya has been walking with SHANGHAI FLANEUR since March 2011.


  • Forgotten Shanghai: Past & Present
  • “Boulevard Moscow”: Scandalous Russians in Old Shanghai


  • Talk: Shanghai Old Town: Discovering History in the Vanishing Streets


  • English
  • Russian
  • Chinese

I enjoyed every minute of the walk with Katya. Rich and full of insights to the sights and culture of old Shanghai. And I felt it most accredited to Katya’s passion for the inside scoops from residents and research. She was totally immersed in the walk and knew the exact highlights to mention, which ignited all our imaginations.
Katya was patient, and so knowledgeable, I can tell she has been doing this for years. Her choice of words simple yet enriching enough to paint a fuller picture to appreciate what is around me.

Theresa Ong, Snr Creative Director of J. Walter Thompson Shanghai

The walk is really well planned: enough time to learn and think about topics, but moved at a pace so as not to become too bored on any one item.
The fact that our two children (15 and 12 years) enjoyed it, were engaged the entire time and were able to convey their impressions afterward as we had lunch meant a lot about the engaging subject matter and the appreciation they now have for it as we are living here in our fourth year.
Although the group size was slightly large, Katya's ability and willingness to answer a few questions, and the speaker system was excellent. Did not feel like we missed anything with the size.

Kate Zak, Independent Design Professional

Visiting the old house at the start of the trip gave good added value because it is not something easy to arrange by oneself. When I posted pictures on Wechat there was a lot of interest. The performance of Katya is very good and it was also a great idea to use headphones and a transmitter. It gives the participants much greater freedom not having to congregate around the speaker.

Barrie Lancaster, R&D Project Planning & Management China, GSK

Even after 5 years in Shanghai and many personal walks in that area it was really interesting and full of new insights on the walk. We could feel the topic is close to Katya's heart

Alex Uphoff, Manager Testing at ZF Lenksysteme

The chosen locations were great! Very surprising even for someone who has lived in Shanghai for quite a while.
You could really feel her passion for what she was talking about. She was very resourceful and knew a lot about the places and Shanghai in general. Her performance of a guide was great, too. She was at all time open to questions, private discussion and is in general a very approachable person.

Moritz Sanner

The guide was excellent, Katya is a gold mine of information and I have thoroughly enjoyed her comments. Her stories allowed me to see Shanghai from another point of view namely the Russian perspective.

Carla Bellemans

We really enjoyed the topic of the walk. It was interesting to see how foreigners made a living in Shanghai decades ago. Katya was great! During the walk you can really see how passionate she feels about the subject.

Anna-Lena Marx