From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
The Merchant's Guild describes the Shades as 'a folklorique network of old alleys and picturesque streets, wherre exitement and romans lurke arounde everry corner and much may be heard the traditional street cries of old time also the laughing visages of the denuizens as they goe about their business private.'
In other words, a commentary drily adds, you have been warned.
Others just call it "colourful".
This is the oldest part of the city of Ankh-Morpork and can be found about ten minutes slow stroll from Unseen University. It is considered dangerous even by the standards of the rest of the city, and absolutely not a place to be after dark. However, it must be realised that the entire area known as the Shades extends from Treacle Mine Road to the rimward wall and includes popular and vital parts of the city's commerce such as:
- Mrs. Palm's famous house of good repute, the Whore Pits and the whole "club" district in the angle of Treacle Mine Road and Elm Street.
- The Mortuary, located where the traffic is.
- Mrs. Cake's rooming house for the differently respectable.
- Igneous's Wholesale Pottery and Chalky's Building Supplies.
- The docks: most of the city's sea trade.
- Harga's House of Ribs: popular diner in the docks area.
- Grabpot Thundergust's cosmetic mill and the Streets of Perfume Blenders.
- The late Bjorn Hammerhock's workshop.
- The Cattle Market and the whole meat-processing industry.
These locations are obviously not avoided by citizens or visitors. The central portion, roughly from the the Troll's Head tavern to near Cockbill Street and centered on Shamlegger Street seems to be the area where even the Watch once feared to go. In recent years, the augmented Watch, especially Troll officers, have put the fear of god (or Sam Vimes) in the locals. It may now be possible to cross the area unscathed, if one is quick and careful.
Despite all this, it has produced a number of Ankh-Morpork's famous citizens. Perhaps the most notable is Samuel Vimes, now Duke of Ankh and Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Others include Lupine Wonse and the Duke's formidable butler Willikins, once a Rude Boy from the hard core, and Nobby Nobbs, who perhaps best sums up the typical qualities of someone raised within the Shades.