By Aleks Zhelyazkov
For at least two millennia Seoul has been a capital of different Korean kingdoms. The city becomes a capital for the first time during the Baekje era (18 BC – 660 AC) and later again in the Choson dynasty in 1394. Since then it is the capital and largest city. Today Seoul is the center of Korean politics, finance, business, society, theatre, sport and arts. Seoul is a city, where the past and the present come together, a place with breathtaking views and a source of youth and energy. It is full of stories and adventures.
Jongno-gu – nature in the city
Jongno-gu is surrounded by mountains from three sides. There is a stream running through its center. It is located near the castle wall of Seoul, built along the mountains’ ridges (Bugaksan, Naksan, Namsan and Inwangsan). In this region the past and present come together, nature and civilization exist together.
History and development of Seoul, marked in its cultural heritage
Seoul, the heart of the country, is home to the main cultural cites of South Korea, many of which are palaces. The five most important Choson palaces are Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung and Gyeonghuigung, who connect past with present. Stepping into these magnificent royal palaces, visitors feel like they travel back in time. Just as it served as a starting point to the current Korean country, Seoul is also the heart of the colorful modern culture. The city strives not only to develop the modern aspects of its lifestyle, but also gives new meaning to its ancient culture from time’s perspective.
The city streets and diverse areas
Traveled streets leave long-lasting memories. On these streets we meet new people. In Seoul you can see antiques, together with arts and crafts in Insadong-gu, walk around the century-old houses in the Bukchon Hanok village, watch lively theatrical and musical scenes in Daehangno. The labyrinth-like narrow streets could also be as enchanting. Every little alley is full of stories about Seoul.
Hongdae – live out your youth and enjoy the music
Hongdae is a place of artistic spirit and creative talent, the center of independent artistry and music scene in Seoul. Here you can feel the individualism and creativity of the painters, comic book illustrators and hopes of the newly created rock bands, as well as visit the underground street scene. The wide variety of attractions includes markets, street arts, galleries and night dance clubs.
Though it may seem very cliché to pick a country’s capital as the place to visit, I’d say that in the case of South Korea you absolutely can enjoy as much as you want from everything and gain as many new experiences as you like. From ancient cultural sites, palaces and structures, through the breathtaking places of nature, to the modern and vibrant, ever-changing scene of Seoul – you have it all. The city is always open for tourists, full of all kinds of useful information, all at your disposal, and one the friendliest and most-welcoming citizens, ready to help you, Seoul is always ready to provide you the perfect vacation from your dreams!