new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
View allAll Photos Tagged Mugunghwa

Les genres Hibiscus et Althaea sont très proches, d'où la confusion fréquente et le nom vernaculaire Althéa souvent donné à cette espèce. Il est aussi appelé Hibiscus commun des jardins, Guimauve en arbre, Mauve en arbre, Ketmie des jardins, Mugunghwa en Corée (ou Rose of Althea ou Rose of Sharon en anglais).

Bumblebee collecting pollen from a pure white Rose of Sharon.

The only post production was to crop my original photo.

View On Black

Larger: View On Black

I tried BigHugeLabs Scout today to see if I had anything new on Explore and I got this, all my photos on it! Of course it's a gag, a Christmas present from BigHugeLabs, but entertaining nonetheless... Here are my top 72 photos...

 

1. Sunny side up, 2. Colorful spider, 3. Red and Green, 4. 작은 바위에 식물 "chakeun bawie shikmul", 5. take me home, 6. speed of light, 7. Grey Heron in Flight, 8. Waters of autumn,

 

9. hold me, 10. bridge to darkness, 11. refuse/recycle/reuse, 12. A Great Tit, 13. Naejangsan Bridge, 14. Autumn in Naejangsan, 15. stack, 16. Curiosity,

 

17. This photo makes me hungry!, 18. Korean roof in autumn, 19. Naejangsan rocks, 20. 수 "soo", 21. electric, 22. taking flight, 23. Amber dreams, 24. Just hanging,

 

25. Pugface, 26. 남대문 "namdaemoon", 27. Korean Grey Heron, 28. DOF, 29. Reflection, 30. Gratitude, 31. Caved-in lava roof, 32. ajumma symmetry,

 

33. deep blue, 34. velas rubras, 35. alone on the beach, 36. double self portrait with two drunk guys on the Korean mugunghwa train from Seoul to Pyeongtaek, 37. Infrared, 38. reflections, 39. broken 50mm, 40. "The Stare",

 

41. Deep Purple, 42. Haebyongdae, 43. Self Portrait, 44. bumpy, 45. reflesso, 46. lights and smoke, 47. yukshipsam, 48. drive all night,

 

49. This lady's got crabs!!, 50. David, 51. Youngdoo, 52. Bangpo shiktang, 53. John Mursch and Ricardo Parris, 54. lick me baby, 55. SUBURBIA, 56. plataforma 2,

 

57. Jeju roof, 58. Grate, 59. Firefighter, 60. Youngdoo, 61. Boarding the #70 bus, 62. Tudari, 63. Joon, 64. let me see it again,

 

65. Seoul Tower, 66. S, 67. there's a Nikon on the dinner table..., 68. velas, 69. Ugly Fella, 70. me at thirty three, 71. Blue Water, 72. wait behind the yellow line

 

-----

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU TOO!

I use 4 ways of transportations.

 

By vehicle, bus, train, and subway.

  

I use train when i go business.

 

Mugunghwa train is humane.

 

I also realized that still, in this society, many people are warm-hearted enough to share their food and room to strangers, and this changed my perspective on the society.

   

insidekorea.wordpress.com/tag/korail/

  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mugunghwa-ho

  

www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9YsRcVgFIA

  

Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem. The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa (Hangul: 무궁화; Hanja: 無窮花). The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, which means "eternity". Form Wikipedia

Para todas las mujeres

 

Escucha: Pedro Guerra

 

youtu.be/J3-L1yIMZkA

   

Quizá te busquen

porque naciste,

quizá te midan por mujer,

quizá te acosen

porque creciste,

quizá te odien por mujer,

 

pero no dejes

de ser la niña

que abraza

todo lo que hay en si,

pero no dejes de ver el mundo

como un espacio por compartir.

 

Quizá te insulten,

quizá no nazcas,

quizá te anulen por mujer,

 

quizá no llegues

a ser tú misma,

quizá te empujen por mujer,

 

pero no dejes

de ser la niña

que abraza

todo lo que hay en si,

pero no dejes de ver el mundo

como un espacio por compartir.

Flowering of a Rose of Sharon or Shrub Althea - Hibiscus syriacus

 

Der Straucheibisch (Hibiscus syriacus),

auch Sharonrose,

Syrischer Eibisch,

Garteneibisch oder Festblume genannt,

-->

gehört zur Gattung Hibiskus (Hibiscus) in der Familie der Malvengewächse (Malvaceae).

-

Der koreanische Name ist Mugunghwa = „die unvergängliche Blume“. [1]

 

Es ist die Nationalblume Südkoreas.

 

(1) inoffiziell

----

tags

Straucheibisch, Hibiscus syriacus, Sharonrose, Syrischer Eibisch, Garteneibisch, Rose of Sharon, Shrub Althea, Wilder Hibiscus Strauch, Hibiscus,

 

de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockrose

 

Did you know ... Hibiscus syriacus (Mugunghwa or "Rose of Sharon") is the national flower of South Korea, while Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Bunga Raya or "Chinese hibiscus") is the national flower of Malaysia? The ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is the state flower of Hawaii

— Wikipedia

Hibiscus syriacus , the common garden Hibiscus, is called Rose of Sharon in North America, a name also applied to other plants. It is a flowering shrub in the plant family Malvaceae native to much of Asia. It is vase-shaped, reaching 2-4 m in height. It is also known as "Rose of Althea" and is widely planted in areas with hot summers for its very attractive white, pink, red, lavender, or purple edible flowers. It is very strong.; if cut and put in a vase, it will survive for a longer period of time than many other plants.

Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem.The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa . The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning "immortality".

 

Le specie più utilizzate come piante ornamentali sono le numerose varietà di Hibiscus syriacus, rustiche e resistenti al freddo, a foglie decidue, fioritura estiva con fiori colorati di bianco, rosa, viola e lilla, coltivate anche ad alberello molto comuni lungo le strade cittadine e nei parchi pubblici.

 

Font : Wikipedia

Seoul – officially the Seoul Special City – is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea), forming the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, the world's 16th largest city. It is home to over half of all South Koreans along with 678,102 international residents.

 

Situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than two thousand years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty. The Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, the world's most visited national park per square foot. Modern landmarks include the iconic N Seoul Tower, the gold-clad 63 Building, the neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, the world's second largest indoor theme park, Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world's longest bridge fountain and the Sevit Floating Islands. The birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received over 10 million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.

 

Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it to the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. In 2015, it was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis. A world leading technology hub centered on Gangnam and Digital Media City, the Seoul Capital Area boasts 15 Fortune Global 500 companies such as Samsung, the world's largest technology company, as well as LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2014, the city's GDP per capita (PPP) of $39,786 was comparable to that of France and Finland. Ranked sixth in the Global Power City Index and Global Financial Centres Index, the metropolis exerts a major influence in global affairs as one of the five leading hosts of global conferences.

 

Seoul is the world's most wired city and ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report. It is served by the KTX high-speed rail and the Seoul Subway, providing 4G LTE, WiFi and DMB inside subway cars. Seoul is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated the world's best airport nine years in a row (2005–2013) by Airports Council International. Lotte World Tower, a 556-metre supertall skyscraper with 123 floors, has been built in Seoul and become the OECD's tallest in 2016, with the world's tallest art gallery. Its Lotte Cinema houses the world's largest cinema screen. Seoul's COEX Mall is the world's largest underground shopping mall.

 

Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, the Miss Universe 1980 pageant, and the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. A UNESCO City of Design, Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The city has been known in the past by the names Wirye-seong (Hangul: 위례성; Hanja: 慰禮城, during the Baekje era), Hanju (Hangul: 한주; Hanja: 漢州, during the Silla era), Namgyeong (Hangul: 남경; Hanja: 南京, during the Goryeo era), Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城, during both the Baekje and Joseon eras), Hanyang (Hangul: 한양; Hanja: 漢陽, during the Joseon era), Gyeongseong (京城, during the colonial era).

 

During Japan's annexation in Korea, "Hanseong" (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城) was renamed to "Keijō" (京城, or Template:Korean 한국, Gyeongseong) by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja '漢', as it also refers to the Han Chinese. In reality, the ancient name of Seoul, Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城), originally had the meaning of "big" or "vast".

 

Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city," which is believed to be derived from the word Seorabeol (Hangul: 서라벌; Hanja: 徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla.

 

Unlike most place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding hanja (Chinese characters used in the Korean language). On January 18, 2005, Seoul government officially changed its official Chinese language name to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr) from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng), of which use is becoming less common.

 

HISTOY

Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, began around 4000 BC.

 

Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BC) in the northeastern Seoul area. There are several city walls remaining in the area that date from this time. Pungnaptoseong, an earthen wall just outside Seoul, is widely believed to have been at the main Wiryeseong site. As the Three Kingdoms competed for this strategic region, control passed from Baekje to Goguryeo in the 5th century, and from Goguryeo to Silla in the 6th century.

 

In the 11th century Goryeo, which succeeded Unified Silla, built a summer palace in Seoul, which was referred to as the "Southern Capital". It was only from this period that Seoul became a larger settlement. When Joseon replaced Goryeo, the capital was moved to Seoul (also known as Hanyang and later as Hanseong), where it remained until the fall of the dynasty. The Gyeongbok Palace, built in the 14th century, served as the royal residence until 1592. The other large palace, Changdeokgung, constructed in 1405, served as the main royal palace from 1611 to 1872.

 

Originally, the city was entirely surrounded by a massive circular stone wall to provide its citizens security from wild animals, thieves and attacks. The city has grown beyond those walls and although the wall no longer stands (except along Bugaksan Mountain (Hangul: 북악산; Hanja: 北岳山), north of the downtown area), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Heunginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun). During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells at the Bosingak belfry. In the late 19th century, after hundreds of years of isolation, Seoul opened its gates to foreigners and began to modernize. Seoul became the first city in East Asia to introduce electricity in the royal palace, built by the Edison Illuminating Company and a decade later Seoul also implemented electrical street lights.

 

Much of the development was due to trade with foreign countries like France and United States. For example, the Seoul Electric Company, Seoul Electric Trolley Company, and Seoul Fresh Spring Water Company were all joint Korean–American owned enterprises. In 1904, an American by the name of Angus Hamilton visited the city and said, "The streets of Seoul are magnificent, spacious, clean, admirably made and well-drained. The narrow, dirty lanes have been widened, gutters have been covered, roadways broadened. Seoul is within measurable distance of becoming the highest, most interesting and cleanest city in the East.

"After the annexation treaty in 1910, the Empire of Japan annexed Korea and renamed the city Gyeongseong ("Kyongsong" in Korean and "Keijo" in Japanese). Japanese technology was imported, the city walls were removed, some of the gates demolished. Roads became paved and Western-style buildings were constructed. The city was liberated at the end of World War II.

 

In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul, and was designated as a special city in 1949.

 

During the Korean War, Seoul changed hands between the Russian/Chinese-backed North Korean forces and the American-backed South Korean forces several times, leaving the city heavily damaged after the war. The capital was temporarily relocated to Busan. One estimate of the extensive damage states that after the war, at least 191,000 buildings, 55,000 houses, and 1,000 factories lay in ruins. In addition, a flood of refugees had entered Seoul during the war, swelling the population of the city and its metropolitan area to an estimated 1.5 million by 1955.

 

Following the war, Seoul began to focus on reconstruction and modernization. As Korea's economy started to grow rapidly from the 1960s, urbanization also accelerated and workers began to move to Seoul and other larger cities. From the 1970s, the size of Seoul administrative area greatly expanded as it annexed a number of towns and villages from several surrounding counties.

 

According to 2012 census data, the population of the Seoul area makes up around 20% of the total population of South Korea, Seoul has become the economic, political and cultural hub of the country, with several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, SK Holdings, Hyundai, POSCO and LG Group headquartered there.

 

Seoul was the host city of the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics as well as one of the venues of the Football World Cup 2002.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Seoul is in the northwest of South Korea. Seoul proper comprises 605.25 km2, with a radius of approximately 15 km, roughly bisected into northern and southern halves by the Han River. The Han River and its surrounding area played an important role in Korean history. The Three Kingdoms of Korea strove to take control of this land, where the river was used as a trade route to China (via the Yellow Sea). The river is no longer actively used for navigation, because its estuary is located at the borders of the two Koreas, with civilian entry barred. Historically, the city was during the Joseon Dynasty bounded by the Seoul Fortress Wall, which stretched between the four main mountains in central Seoul: Namsan, Naksan, Bukaksan and Inwangsan. The city is bordered by eight mountains, as well as the more level lands of the Han River plain and western areas. Due to its geography and to economic development policies, Seoul is a very polycentric city. The area that was the old capital in the Joseon Dynasty, and mostly comprises Jongno District and Jung District, constitutes the historical and political center of the city. However, for example, the city's financial capital is widely considered to be in Yeouido, while its economic capital is Gangnam District.

 

CLIMATE

Seoul is either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), using the −3 °C isotherm of the original Köppen scheme, or a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), using the 0 °C isotherm preferred by some climatologists. Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until September. August, the warmest month, has average high and low temperatures of 29.6 and 22.4 °C with higher temperatures possible. Winters are often cold to freezing with average January high and low temperatures of 1.5 and −5.9 °C and are generally much drier than summers, with an average of 28 days of snow annually. Sometimes, temperatures do drop dramatically to below −10.0 °C, in odd occasions rarely as low as −15.0 °C in the mid winter period between January and February.

  

ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTS

Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Hangul: 구; Hanja: 區) (district). The gu vary greatly in area (from 10 to 47 km2) and population (from fewer than 140,000 to 630,000). Songpa has the most people, while Seocho has the largest area. The government of each gu handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions. Each gu is divided into "dong" (Hangul: 동; Hanja: 洞) or neighbourhoods. Some gu have only a few dong while others like Jongno District have a very large number of distinct neighbourhoods. Gu of Seoul consist of 423 administrative dongs (Hangul: 행정동) in total. Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (Hangul: 통; Hanja: 統), which are further divided into 102,796 ban in total.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Seoul proper is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York and eight times greater than Rome. Its metropolitan area was the most densely populated in the OECD in Asia in 2012, and second worldwide after that of Paris. As of December 2013, the population was 10.14 million, in 2012, it was 10,442,426. As of the end of June 2011, 10.29 million Republic of Korea citizens lived in the city. This was a 24% decrease from the end of 2010. The population of Seoul has been dropping since the early 1990s, the reasons being the high costs of living and an aging population.

 

The number of foreigners living in Seoul is 255,501 in 2010 according to Seoul officials.[58] As of June 2011, 281,780 foreigners were located in Seoul. Of them, 186,631 foreigners (66%) were Chinese citizens of Korean ancestry. This was an 8.84% increase from the end of 2010 and a 12.85% increase from June 2010. The next largest group was Chinese citizens who are not of Korean ethnicity; 29,901 of them resided in Seoul. The next highest group consisted of the 9,999 United States citizens who were not of Korean ancestry. The next highest group were the Republic of China (Taiwan) citizens, at 8,717.

 

The two major religions in Seoul are Christianity and Buddhism. Other religions include Muism (indigenous religion) and Confucianism. Seoul is home to one of the world's largest Christians congregations, Yoido Full Gospel Church , which has around 830,000 members. Seoul is home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University. Other Christian faiths like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) maintains a presence in the city.

 

ECONOMY

Seoul is the business and financial hub of South Korea. Although it accounts for only 0.6 percent of the nation's land area, 48.3 percent of South Korea's bank deposits were held in Seoul in 2003, and the city generated 23 percent of the country's GDP overall in 2012. In 2008 the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index ranked Seoul No.9. The Global Financial Centres Index in 2015 listed Seoul as the 6th financially most competitive city in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Seoul 15th in the list of "Overall 2025 City Competitiveness" regarding future competitiveness of cities.

 

MANUFACTURING

The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries; however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries. Major manufacturers are headquartered in the city, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Kia and SK. Notable food and beverage companies include Jinro, whose soju is the most sold alcoholic drink in the world, beating out Smirnoff vodka; top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery. It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Dairy, Namyang dairy and Lotte.

 

FINANCE

Seoul hosts large concentration of headquarters of International companies and banks, including 15 companies on fortune 500 list such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island), which is often called "Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s. The Seoul international finance center & SIFC MALL, Hanhwa 63 building, the Hanhwa insurance company head office. Hanhwa is one of the three largest Korean insurance companies, along with Samsung Life and Gangnam & Kyob life insurance group.

 

COMMERCE

The largest wholesale and retail market in South Korea, the Dongdaemun Market, is located in Seoul. Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul.

 

Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold. Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products. Some shops for local designers have opened in Samcheong-dong, where numerous small art galleries are located. Itaewon caters mainly to foreign tourists and American soldiers based in the city. The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul and is noted for the fashionable and upscale Apgujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong areas and the COEX Mall. Wholesale markets include Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market and Garak Market.

 

The Yongsan Electronics Market is the largest electronics market in Asia. Electronics markets are Gangbyeon station metro line 2 Techno mart, ENTER6 MALL & Shindorim station Technomart mall complex.

 

Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen.

 

KOREA WORLD TRADE CENTER COMPLEX which comprises COEX mall, congress center, 3 Inter-continental hotels, Business tower (Asem tower), Residence hotel,Casino and City airport terminal was established in 1988 Seoul Olympic . 2nd World trade trade center is planning at Seoul Olympic stadium complex as MICE HUB by Seoul city. Ex-Kepco head office building was purchased by Hyundai motor group with 9billion USD to build 115-storey Hyundai GBC & hotel complex until 2021. Now ex-kepco 25-storey building is under demolition.

 

ARCHITECTURE

The traditional heart of Seoul is the old Joseon Dynasty city, now the downtown area, where most palaces, government offices, corporate headquarters, hotels, and traditional markets are located. Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs from west to east through the valley before emptying into the Han River, was for many years covered with concrete, but was recently restored by an urban revival project in 2005. Jongno street, meaning "Bell Street," has been a principal street and one of the earliest commercial steets of the city, on which one can find Bosingak, a pavilion containing a large bell. The bell signaled the different times of the day and controlled the four major gates to the city. North of downtown is Bukhan Mountain, and to the south is the smaller Namsan. Further south are the old suburbs, Yongsan District and Mapo District. Across the Han River are the newer and wealthier areas of Gangnam District, Seocho District and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE

Seoul has many historical and cultural landmarks. In Amsa-dong Prehistoric Settlement Site, Gangdong District, neolithic remains were excavated and accidentally discovered by a flood in 1925.

 

Urban and civil planning was a key concept when Seoul was first designed to serve as a capital in the late 14th century. The Joseon Dynasty built the "Five Grand Palaces" in Seoul – Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung and Gyeonghuigung – all of which are located in the district of Jongno District and Jung District. Among them, Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as an "outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design". The main palace, Gyeongbokgung, underwent a large-scale restoration project. The palaces are considered exemplary architecture of the Joseon period. Beside the palaces, Unhyeongung is known for being the royal residence of Regent Daewongun, the father of Emperor Gojong at the end of the Joseon Dynasty.

 

Seoul has been surrounded by walls that were built to regulate visitors from other regions and protect the city in case of an invasion. Pungnap Toseong is a flat earthen wall built at the edge of the Han River which is widely believed to be the site of Wiryeseong. Mongchon Toseong (Hangul: 몽촌토성; Hanja: 蒙村土城) is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period which is now located inside the Olympic Park. The Fortress Wall of Seoul was built early in the Joseon Dynasty for protection of the city. After many centuries of destruction and rebuilding, approximately ⅔ of the wall remains, as well as six of the original eight gates. These gates include Sungnyemun and Heunginjimun, commonly known as Namdaemun (South Great Gate) and Dongdaemun (East Great Gate). Namdaemun was the oldest wooden gate until a 2008 arson attack, and was re-opened after complete restoration in 2013. Situated near the gates are the traditional markets and largest shopping center, Namdaemun Market and Dongdaemun Market.

 

There are also many buildings constructed with international styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Independence Gate was built in 1897 to inspire an independent spirit. Seoul Station was opened in 1900 as Gyeongseong Station.

 

MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Various high-rise office buildings and residential buildings, like the Gangnam Finance Center, the Tower Palace, N Seoul Tower and Jongno Tower, dominate the city's skyline. A series of new high rises are under construction, including the Lotte World Tower, scheduled to be completed by 2016. As of July 2016, and excluding the still unopened Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in the city is the 279-metre-high Three International Finance Center.

 

The World Trade Center Seoul, located in Gangnam District, hosts various expositions and conferences. Also in Gangnam District is the COEX Mall, a large indoor shopping and entertainment complex. Downstream from Gangnam District is Yeouido, an island that is home to the National Assembly, major broadcasting studios, and a number of large office buildings, as well as the Korea Finance Building and the Yoido Full Gospel Church. The Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, and Lotte World are located in Songpa District, on the south side of the Han River, upstream from Gangnam District. Two new modern landmarks of Seoul are Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the new wave-shaped Seoul City Hall, by Yoo Kerl of iArc.

 

In 2010 Seoul was designated the World Design Capital for the year.

 

CULTURE

TECHNOLOGY

Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure. It has the world's highest fibre-optic broadband penetration, resulting in the world's fastest internet connections with speeds up to 1 Gbps. Seoul provides free Wi-Fi access in outdoor spaces. This 47.7 billion won ($44 million) project will give residents and visitors Internet access at 10,430 parks, streets and other public places by 2015.

 

MUSEUMS

Seoul is home to 115 museums, including four national and nine official municipal museums. Amongst the city's national museum, The National Museum of Korea is the most representative of museums in not only Seoul but all of South Korea. Since its establishment in 1945, the museum has built a collection of 220,000 artifacts. In October 2005, the museum moved to a new building in Yongsan Family Park. The National Folk Museum is situated on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the district of Jongno District and uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate the folk history of the Korean people. The National Palace Museum of Korea is also located on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Finally, the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, whose main museum is located in Gwacheon, opened in 2013, in Sogyeok-dong.

 

Bukchon Hanok Village and Namsangol Hanok Village are old residential districts consisting of hanok Korean traditional houses, parks, and museums that allows visitors to experience traditional Korean culture.

 

The War Memorial, one of nine municipal museums in Seoul, offers visitors an educational and emotional experience of various wars in which Korea was involved, including Korean War themes. The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is currently used as a historic museum.The Seoul Museum of Art and Ilmin Museum of Art have preserved the appearance of the old building that is visually unique from the neighboring tall, modern buildings. The former is operated by Seoul City Council and sits adjacent to Gyeonghuigung Palace, a Joseon dynasty royal palace. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, is widely regarded as one of Seoul's largest private museum. For many Korean film lovers from all over the world, the Korean Film Archive is running the Korean Film Museum and Cinematheque KOFA in its main center located in Digital Media City (DMC), Sangam-dong. The Tteok & Kitchen Utensil Museum and Kimchi Field Museum provide information regarding Korean culinary history.

 

RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS

There are also religious buildings that take important roles in Korean society and politics. The Wongudan altar was a sacrificial place where Korean rulers held heavenly rituals since the Three Kingdoms period. Since the Joseon Dynasty adopted Confucianism as its national ideology in the 14th century, the state built many Confucian shrines. The descendants of the Joseon royal family still continue to hold ceremonies to commemorate ancestors at Jongmyo. It is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. Munmyo and Dongmyo were built during the same period. Although Buddhism was suppressed by the Joseon state, it has continued its existence. Jogyesa is the headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Hwagyesa and Bongeunsa are also major Buddhist temples in Seoul.

 

The Myeongdong Cathedral is a landmark of the Myeongdong, Jung District and the biggest Catholic church established in 1883. It is a symbol of Catholicism in Korea. It was also a focus for political dissent in the 1980s. In this way the Roman Catholic Church has a very strong influence in Korean society.

 

There are many Protestant churches in Seoul. The most numerous are Presbyterian, but there are also many Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran churches. Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church affiliated with the Assemblies of God on Yeouido in Seoul. With approximately 830,000 members (2007), it is the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in the world, which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

FESTIVALS

In October 2012 KBS Hall in Seoul hosted major international music festivals – First ABU TV and Radio Song Festivals within frameworks of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union 49th General Assembly. Hi! Seoul Festival is a seasonal cultural festival held four times a year every spring, summer, autumn, and winter in Seoul, South Korea since 2003. It is based on the "Seoul Citizens' Day" held on every October since 1994 to commemorate the 600 years history of Seoul as the capital of the country. The festival is arranged under the Seoul Metropolitan Government. As of 2012, Seoul has hosted Ultra Music Festival Korea, an annual dance music festival that takes place on the 2nd weekend of June.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Seoul features one of the world's most advanced transportation infrastructures that is constantly under expansion. Its system dates back to the era of the Korean Empire, when the first streetcar lines were laid and a railroad linking Seoul and Incheon was completed. Seoul's most important streetcar line ran along Jongno until it was replaced by Line 1 of the subway system in the early 1970s. Other notable streets in downtown Seoul include Euljiro, Teheranno, Sejongno, Chungmuro, Yulgongno, and Toegyero. There are nine major subway lines stretching for more than 250 km, with one additional line planned. As of 2010, 25% of the population has a commute time of an hour or more.

 

BUS

Seoul's bus system is operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (S.M.G.), with four primary bus configurations available servicing most of the city. Seoul has many large intercity/express bus terminals. These buses connect Seoul with cities throughout South Korea. The Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Central City Terminal and Seoul Nambu Terminal are located in the district of Seocho District. In addition, East Seoul Bus Terminal in Gwangjin District and Sangbong Terminal in Jungnang District operate in the east of the city.

 

SUBWAY

Seoul has a comprehensive urban railway network that interconnects every district of the city and the surrounding areas. With more than 8 million passengers per day, Seoul has one of the busiest subway systems in the world. The Seoul Metropolitan Subway has 19 total lines which serve Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi province, western Gangwon province, and northern Chungnam province. In addition, in order to cope with the various modes of transport, Seoul's metropolitan government employs several mathematicians to coordinate the subway, bus, and traffic schedules into one timetable. The various lines are run by Korail, Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, NeoTrans Co. Ltd., AREX, and Seoul Metro Line 9 Corporation.

 

TRAIN

Seoul is connected to every major city in South Korea by rail. Seoul is also linked to most major South Korean cities by the KTX high-speed train, which has a normal operation speed of more than 300 km/h. Major railroad stations include:

 

Seoul Station, Yongsan District: Gyeongbu line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa-ho), Gyeongui line (Saemaul/Commuter)

Yongsan Station, Yongsan District: Honam line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa), Jeolla/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Yeongdeungpo Station, Yeongdeungpo District: Gyeongbu/Honam/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Cheongnyangni Station, Dongdaemun District: Gyeongchun/Jungang/Yeongdong/Taebaek lines (Mugunghwa)

 

In addition, Suseo Station,in Gangnam District, is scheduled to open in late 2016, and offer KTX service on the newly built Suseo High Speed Railway.

 

AIRPORTS

Two international airports serve Seoul. Gimpo International Airport, formerly in Gimpo but annexed to Seoul in 1963, was for many years (since its original construction during the Korean War) the only international airport serving Seoul. Other domestic airports were also built around the time of the war, including Yeouido.

 

When it opened in March 2001, Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong island in Incheon changed the role of Gimpo Airport significantly. Incheon is now responsible for almost all international flights and some domestic flights, while Gimpo serves only domestic flights with the exception of flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Osaka Kansai International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, and Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing. This has led to a significant drop in flights from Gimpo Airport, though it remains one of South Korea's busiest airports.

 

Meanwhile, Incheon International Airport has become, along with Hong Kong, a major transportation center for East Asia.

 

Incheon and Gimpo are linked to Seoul by highways, and to each other by the Incheon International Airport Railroad, which is also linked to Incheon line #1. Gimpo is also linked by subway (line No. 5 and #9). The Incheon International Airport Railroad, connecting the airport directly to Seoul Station in central Seoul, was recently opened. Shuttle buses also transfer passengers between Incheon and Gimpo airports.

 

CYCLING

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Seoul and in the entire country. Both banks of the Han River have cycling paths that run all the way across the city along the river. In addition, Seoul introduced in 2015 a bicycle-sharing system named Ddareungi.

 

EDUCATION

UNICERSITIES

Seoul is home to the majority of South Korea's most prestigious universities, including Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, Sogang University, Hanyang University, Chung-Ang University, Ewha Womans University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Hongik University, Kyung Hee University, Soongsil University, Sookmyung Women's University, Korea Military Academy, and the University of Seoul.

 

SECONDARY EDUCATION

Education from grades 1–12 is compulsory. Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Secondary schools generally require that the students wear uniforms. There is an exit exam for graduating from high school and many students proceeding to the university level are required to take the College Scholastic Ability Test that is held every November. Although there is a test for non-high school graduates, called school qualification exam, most of Koreans take the test

 

Seoul is home to various specialized schools, including three science high schools (Hansung Science High School, Sejong Science High School and Seoul Science High School), and six foreign language High Schools (Daewon Foreign Language High School, Daeil Foreign Language High School, Ewha Girls' Foreign Language High School, Hanyoung Foreign Language High School, Myungduk Foreign Language High School and Seoul Foreign Language High School). Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education comprises 235 College-Preparatory High Schools, 80 Vocational Schools, 377 Middle Schools, and 33 Special Education Schools as of 2009.

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Seoul is a member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Fleur d'hibiscus

appelée aussi « Fleur d'éternité », (mugunghwa en coréen), elle illustre « l'esprit volontaire et modeste » du peuple coréen. Les Coréens ont prisé l'althéa comme une fleur céleste depuis le passé.

(source Wikipédia)

Hibiscus syriacus , the common garden Hibiscus, is called Rose of Sharon in North America, a name also applied to other plants. It is a flowering shrub in the plant family Malvaceae native to much of Asia. It is vase-shaped, reaching 2-4 m in height. It is also known as "Rose of Althea" and is widely planted in areas with hot summers for its very attractive white, pink, red, lavender, or purple edible flowers. It is very strong.; if cut and put in a vase, it will survive for a longer period of time than many other plants.

Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem.The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa . The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning "immortality".

 

Le specie più utilizzate come piante ornamentali sono le numerose varietà di Hibiscus syriacus, rustiche e resistenti al freddo, a foglie decidue, fioritura estiva con fiori colorati di bianco, rosa, viola e lilla, coltivate anche ad alberello molto comuni lungo le strade cittadine e nei parchi pubblici.

 

Font : Wikipedia

Hibiscus syriacus , the common garden Hibiscus, is called Rose of Sharon in North America, a name also applied to other plants. It is a flowering shrub in the plant family Malvaceae native to much of Asia. It is vase-shaped, reaching 2-4 m in height. It is also known as "Rose of Althea" and is widely planted in areas with hot summers for its very attractive white, pink, red, lavender, or purple edible flowers. It is very strong.; if cut and put in a vase, it will survive for a longer period of time than many other plants.Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem.The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa . The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning "immortality".

 

Le specie più utilizzate come piante ornamentali sono le numerose varietà di Hibiscus syriacus, rustiche e resistenti al freddo, a foglie decidue, fioritura estiva con fiori colorati di bianco, rosa, viola e lilla, coltivate anche ad alberello molto comuni lungo le strade cittadine e nei parchi pubblici.

 

Font : Wikipedia

 

Seoul – officially the Seoul Special City – is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea), forming the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, the world's 16th largest city. It is home to over half of all South Koreans along with 678,102 international residents.

 

Situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than two thousand years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty. The Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, the world's most visited national park per square foot. Modern landmarks include the iconic N Seoul Tower, the gold-clad 63 Building, the neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, the world's second largest indoor theme park, Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world's longest bridge fountain and the Sevit Floating Islands. The birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received over 10 million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.

 

Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it to the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. In 2015, it was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis. A world leading technology hub centered on Gangnam and Digital Media City, the Seoul Capital Area boasts 15 Fortune Global 500 companies such as Samsung, the world's largest technology company, as well as LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2014, the city's GDP per capita (PPP) of $39,786 was comparable to that of France and Finland. Ranked sixth in the Global Power City Index and Global Financial Centres Index, the metropolis exerts a major influence in global affairs as one of the five leading hosts of global conferences.

 

Seoul is the world's most wired city and ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report. It is served by the KTX high-speed rail and the Seoul Subway, providing 4G LTE, WiFi and DMB inside subway cars. Seoul is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated the world's best airport nine years in a row (2005–2013) by Airports Council International. Lotte World Tower, a 556-metre supertall skyscraper with 123 floors, has been built in Seoul and become the OECD's tallest in 2016, with the world's tallest art gallery. Its Lotte Cinema houses the world's largest cinema screen. Seoul's COEX Mall is the world's largest underground shopping mall.

 

Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, the Miss Universe 1980 pageant, and the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. A UNESCO City of Design, Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The city has been known in the past by the names Wirye-seong (Hangul: 위례성; Hanja: 慰禮城, during the Baekje era), Hanju (Hangul: 한주; Hanja: 漢州, during the Silla era), Namgyeong (Hangul: 남경; Hanja: 南京, during the Goryeo era), Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城, during both the Baekje and Joseon eras), Hanyang (Hangul: 한양; Hanja: 漢陽, during the Joseon era), Gyeongseong (京城, during the colonial era).

 

During Japan's annexation in Korea, "Hanseong" (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城) was renamed to "Keijō" (京城, or Template:Korean 한국, Gyeongseong) by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja '漢', as it also refers to the Han Chinese. In reality, the ancient name of Seoul, Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城), originally had the meaning of "big" or "vast".

 

Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city," which is believed to be derived from the word Seorabeol (Hangul: 서라벌; Hanja: 徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla.

 

Unlike most place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding hanja (Chinese characters used in the Korean language). On January 18, 2005, Seoul government officially changed its official Chinese language name to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr) from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng), of which use is becoming less common.

 

HISTOY

Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, began around 4000 BC.

 

Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BC) in the northeastern Seoul area. There are several city walls remaining in the area that date from this time. Pungnaptoseong, an earthen wall just outside Seoul, is widely believed to have been at the main Wiryeseong site. As the Three Kingdoms competed for this strategic region, control passed from Baekje to Goguryeo in the 5th century, and from Goguryeo to Silla in the 6th century.

 

In the 11th century Goryeo, which succeeded Unified Silla, built a summer palace in Seoul, which was referred to as the "Southern Capital". It was only from this period that Seoul became a larger settlement. When Joseon replaced Goryeo, the capital was moved to Seoul (also known as Hanyang and later as Hanseong), where it remained until the fall of the dynasty. The Gyeongbok Palace, built in the 14th century, served as the royal residence until 1592. The other large palace, Changdeokgung, constructed in 1405, served as the main royal palace from 1611 to 1872.

 

Originally, the city was entirely surrounded by a massive circular stone wall to provide its citizens security from wild animals, thieves and attacks. The city has grown beyond those walls and although the wall no longer stands (except along Bugaksan Mountain (Hangul: 북악산; Hanja: 北岳山), north of the downtown area), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Heunginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun). During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells at the Bosingak belfry. In the late 19th century, after hundreds of years of isolation, Seoul opened its gates to foreigners and began to modernize. Seoul became the first city in East Asia to introduce electricity in the royal palace, built by the Edison Illuminating Company and a decade later Seoul also implemented electrical street lights.

 

Much of the development was due to trade with foreign countries like France and United States. For example, the Seoul Electric Company, Seoul Electric Trolley Company, and Seoul Fresh Spring Water Company were all joint Korean–American owned enterprises. In 1904, an American by the name of Angus Hamilton visited the city and said, "The streets of Seoul are magnificent, spacious, clean, admirably made and well-drained. The narrow, dirty lanes have been widened, gutters have been covered, roadways broadened. Seoul is within measurable distance of becoming the highest, most interesting and cleanest city in the East.

"After the annexation treaty in 1910, the Empire of Japan annexed Korea and renamed the city Gyeongseong ("Kyongsong" in Korean and "Keijo" in Japanese). Japanese technology was imported, the city walls were removed, some of the gates demolished. Roads became paved and Western-style buildings were constructed. The city was liberated at the end of World War II.

 

In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul, and was designated as a special city in 1949.

 

During the Korean War, Seoul changed hands between the Russian/Chinese-backed North Korean forces and the American-backed South Korean forces several times, leaving the city heavily damaged after the war. The capital was temporarily relocated to Busan. One estimate of the extensive damage states that after the war, at least 191,000 buildings, 55,000 houses, and 1,000 factories lay in ruins. In addition, a flood of refugees had entered Seoul during the war, swelling the population of the city and its metropolitan area to an estimated 1.5 million by 1955.

 

Following the war, Seoul began to focus on reconstruction and modernization. As Korea's economy started to grow rapidly from the 1960s, urbanization also accelerated and workers began to move to Seoul and other larger cities. From the 1970s, the size of Seoul administrative area greatly expanded as it annexed a number of towns and villages from several surrounding counties.

 

According to 2012 census data, the population of the Seoul area makes up around 20% of the total population of South Korea, Seoul has become the economic, political and cultural hub of the country, with several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, SK Holdings, Hyundai, POSCO and LG Group headquartered there.

 

Seoul was the host city of the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics as well as one of the venues of the Football World Cup 2002.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Seoul is in the northwest of South Korea. Seoul proper comprises 605.25 km2, with a radius of approximately 15 km, roughly bisected into northern and southern halves by the Han River. The Han River and its surrounding area played an important role in Korean history. The Three Kingdoms of Korea strove to take control of this land, where the river was used as a trade route to China (via the Yellow Sea). The river is no longer actively used for navigation, because its estuary is located at the borders of the two Koreas, with civilian entry barred. Historically, the city was during the Joseon Dynasty bounded by the Seoul Fortress Wall, which stretched between the four main mountains in central Seoul: Namsan, Naksan, Bukaksan and Inwangsan. The city is bordered by eight mountains, as well as the more level lands of the Han River plain and western areas. Due to its geography and to economic development policies, Seoul is a very polycentric city. The area that was the old capital in the Joseon Dynasty, and mostly comprises Jongno District and Jung District, constitutes the historical and political center of the city. However, for example, the city's financial capital is widely considered to be in Yeouido, while its economic capital is Gangnam District.

 

CLIMATE

Seoul is either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), using the −3 °C isotherm of the original Köppen scheme, or a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), using the 0 °C isotherm preferred by some climatologists. Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until September. August, the warmest month, has average high and low temperatures of 29.6 and 22.4 °C with higher temperatures possible. Winters are often cold to freezing with average January high and low temperatures of 1.5 and −5.9 °C and are generally much drier than summers, with an average of 28 days of snow annually. Sometimes, temperatures do drop dramatically to below −10.0 °C, in odd occasions rarely as low as −15.0 °C in the mid winter period between January and February.

  

ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTS

Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Hangul: 구; Hanja: 區) (district). The gu vary greatly in area (from 10 to 47 km2) and population (from fewer than 140,000 to 630,000). Songpa has the most people, while Seocho has the largest area. The government of each gu handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions. Each gu is divided into "dong" (Hangul: 동; Hanja: 洞) or neighbourhoods. Some gu have only a few dong while others like Jongno District have a very large number of distinct neighbourhoods. Gu of Seoul consist of 423 administrative dongs (Hangul: 행정동) in total. Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (Hangul: 통; Hanja: 統), which are further divided into 102,796 ban in total.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Seoul proper is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York and eight times greater than Rome. Its metropolitan area was the most densely populated in the OECD in Asia in 2012, and second worldwide after that of Paris. As of December 2013, the population was 10.14 million, in 2012, it was 10,442,426. As of the end of June 2011, 10.29 million Republic of Korea citizens lived in the city. This was a 24% decrease from the end of 2010. The population of Seoul has been dropping since the early 1990s, the reasons being the high costs of living and an aging population.

 

The number of foreigners living in Seoul is 255,501 in 2010 according to Seoul officials.[58] As of June 2011, 281,780 foreigners were located in Seoul. Of them, 186,631 foreigners (66%) were Chinese citizens of Korean ancestry. This was an 8.84% increase from the end of 2010 and a 12.85% increase from June 2010. The next largest group was Chinese citizens who are not of Korean ethnicity; 29,901 of them resided in Seoul. The next highest group consisted of the 9,999 United States citizens who were not of Korean ancestry. The next highest group were the Republic of China (Taiwan) citizens, at 8,717.

 

The two major religions in Seoul are Christianity and Buddhism. Other religions include Muism (indigenous religion) and Confucianism. Seoul is home to one of the world's largest Christians congregations, Yoido Full Gospel Church , which has around 830,000 members. Seoul is home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University. Other Christian faiths like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) maintains a presence in the city.

 

ECONOMY

Seoul is the business and financial hub of South Korea. Although it accounts for only 0.6 percent of the nation's land area, 48.3 percent of South Korea's bank deposits were held in Seoul in 2003, and the city generated 23 percent of the country's GDP overall in 2012. In 2008 the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index ranked Seoul No.9. The Global Financial Centres Index in 2015 listed Seoul as the 6th financially most competitive city in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Seoul 15th in the list of "Overall 2025 City Competitiveness" regarding future competitiveness of cities.

 

MANUFACTURING

The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries; however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries. Major manufacturers are headquartered in the city, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Kia and SK. Notable food and beverage companies include Jinro, whose soju is the most sold alcoholic drink in the world, beating out Smirnoff vodka; top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery. It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Dairy, Namyang dairy and Lotte.

 

FINANCE

Seoul hosts large concentration of headquarters of International companies and banks, including 15 companies on fortune 500 list such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island), which is often called "Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s. The Seoul international finance center & SIFC MALL, Hanhwa 63 building, the Hanhwa insurance company head office. Hanhwa is one of the three largest Korean insurance companies, along with Samsung Life and Gangnam & Kyob life insurance group.

 

COMMERCE

The largest wholesale and retail market in South Korea, the Dongdaemun Market, is located in Seoul. Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul.

 

Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold. Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products. Some shops for local designers have opened in Samcheong-dong, where numerous small art galleries are located. Itaewon caters mainly to foreign tourists and American soldiers based in the city. The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul and is noted for the fashionable and upscale Apgujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong areas and the COEX Mall. Wholesale markets include Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market and Garak Market.

 

The Yongsan Electronics Market is the largest electronics market in Asia. Electronics markets are Gangbyeon station metro line 2 Techno mart, ENTER6 MALL & Shindorim station Technomart mall complex.

 

Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen.

 

KOREA WORLD TRADE CENTER COMPLEX which comprises COEX mall, congress center, 3 Inter-continental hotels, Business tower (Asem tower), Residence hotel,Casino and City airport terminal was established in 1988 Seoul Olympic . 2nd World trade trade center is planning at Seoul Olympic stadium complex as MICE HUB by Seoul city. Ex-Kepco head office building was purchased by Hyundai motor group with 9billion USD to build 115-storey Hyundai GBC & hotel complex until 2021. Now ex-kepco 25-storey building is under demolition.

 

ARCHITECTURE

The traditional heart of Seoul is the old Joseon Dynasty city, now the downtown area, where most palaces, government offices, corporate headquarters, hotels, and traditional markets are located. Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs from west to east through the valley before emptying into the Han River, was for many years covered with concrete, but was recently restored by an urban revival project in 2005. Jongno street, meaning "Bell Street," has been a principal street and one of the earliest commercial steets of the city, on which one can find Bosingak, a pavilion containing a large bell. The bell signaled the different times of the day and controlled the four major gates to the city. North of downtown is Bukhan Mountain, and to the south is the smaller Namsan. Further south are the old suburbs, Yongsan District and Mapo District. Across the Han River are the newer and wealthier areas of Gangnam District, Seocho District and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE

Seoul has many historical and cultural landmarks. In Amsa-dong Prehistoric Settlement Site, Gangdong District, neolithic remains were excavated and accidentally discovered by a flood in 1925.

 

Urban and civil planning was a key concept when Seoul was first designed to serve as a capital in the late 14th century. The Joseon Dynasty built the "Five Grand Palaces" in Seoul – Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung and Gyeonghuigung – all of which are located in the district of Jongno District and Jung District. Among them, Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as an "outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design". The main palace, Gyeongbokgung, underwent a large-scale restoration project. The palaces are considered exemplary architecture of the Joseon period. Beside the palaces, Unhyeongung is known for being the royal residence of Regent Daewongun, the father of Emperor Gojong at the end of the Joseon Dynasty.

 

Seoul has been surrounded by walls that were built to regulate visitors from other regions and protect the city in case of an invasion. Pungnap Toseong is a flat earthen wall built at the edge of the Han River which is widely believed to be the site of Wiryeseong. Mongchon Toseong (Hangul: 몽촌토성; Hanja: 蒙村土城) is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period which is now located inside the Olympic Park. The Fortress Wall of Seoul was built early in the Joseon Dynasty for protection of the city. After many centuries of destruction and rebuilding, approximately ⅔ of the wall remains, as well as six of the original eight gates. These gates include Sungnyemun and Heunginjimun, commonly known as Namdaemun (South Great Gate) and Dongdaemun (East Great Gate). Namdaemun was the oldest wooden gate until a 2008 arson attack, and was re-opened after complete restoration in 2013. Situated near the gates are the traditional markets and largest shopping center, Namdaemun Market and Dongdaemun Market.

 

There are also many buildings constructed with international styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Independence Gate was built in 1897 to inspire an independent spirit. Seoul Station was opened in 1900 as Gyeongseong Station.

 

MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Various high-rise office buildings and residential buildings, like the Gangnam Finance Center, the Tower Palace, N Seoul Tower and Jongno Tower, dominate the city's skyline. A series of new high rises are under construction, including the Lotte World Tower, scheduled to be completed by 2016. As of July 2016, and excluding the still unopened Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in the city is the 279-metre-high Three International Finance Center.

 

The World Trade Center Seoul, located in Gangnam District, hosts various expositions and conferences. Also in Gangnam District is the COEX Mall, a large indoor shopping and entertainment complex. Downstream from Gangnam District is Yeouido, an island that is home to the National Assembly, major broadcasting studios, and a number of large office buildings, as well as the Korea Finance Building and the Yoido Full Gospel Church. The Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, and Lotte World are located in Songpa District, on the south side of the Han River, upstream from Gangnam District. Two new modern landmarks of Seoul are Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the new wave-shaped Seoul City Hall, by Yoo Kerl of iArc.

 

In 2010 Seoul was designated the World Design Capital for the year.

 

CULTURE

TECHNOLOGY

Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure. It has the world's highest fibre-optic broadband penetration, resulting in the world's fastest internet connections with speeds up to 1 Gbps. Seoul provides free Wi-Fi access in outdoor spaces. This 47.7 billion won ($44 million) project will give residents and visitors Internet access at 10,430 parks, streets and other public places by 2015.

 

MUSEUMS

Seoul is home to 115 museums, including four national and nine official municipal museums. Amongst the city's national museum, The National Museum of Korea is the most representative of museums in not only Seoul but all of South Korea. Since its establishment in 1945, the museum has built a collection of 220,000 artifacts. In October 2005, the museum moved to a new building in Yongsan Family Park. The National Folk Museum is situated on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the district of Jongno District and uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate the folk history of the Korean people. The National Palace Museum of Korea is also located on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Finally, the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, whose main museum is located in Gwacheon, opened in 2013, in Sogyeok-dong.

 

Bukchon Hanok Village and Namsangol Hanok Village are old residential districts consisting of hanok Korean traditional houses, parks, and museums that allows visitors to experience traditional Korean culture.

 

The War Memorial, one of nine municipal museums in Seoul, offers visitors an educational and emotional experience of various wars in which Korea was involved, including Korean War themes. The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is currently used as a historic museum.The Seoul Museum of Art and Ilmin Museum of Art have preserved the appearance of the old building that is visually unique from the neighboring tall, modern buildings. The former is operated by Seoul City Council and sits adjacent to Gyeonghuigung Palace, a Joseon dynasty royal palace. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, is widely regarded as one of Seoul's largest private museum. For many Korean film lovers from all over the world, the Korean Film Archive is running the Korean Film Museum and Cinematheque KOFA in its main center located in Digital Media City (DMC), Sangam-dong. The Tteok & Kitchen Utensil Museum and Kimchi Field Museum provide information regarding Korean culinary history.

 

RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS

There are also religious buildings that take important roles in Korean society and politics. The Wongudan altar was a sacrificial place where Korean rulers held heavenly rituals since the Three Kingdoms period. Since the Joseon Dynasty adopted Confucianism as its national ideology in the 14th century, the state built many Confucian shrines. The descendants of the Joseon royal family still continue to hold ceremonies to commemorate ancestors at Jongmyo. It is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. Munmyo and Dongmyo were built during the same period. Although Buddhism was suppressed by the Joseon state, it has continued its existence. Jogyesa is the headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Hwagyesa and Bongeunsa are also major Buddhist temples in Seoul.

 

The Myeongdong Cathedral is a landmark of the Myeongdong, Jung District and the biggest Catholic church established in 1883. It is a symbol of Catholicism in Korea. It was also a focus for political dissent in the 1980s. In this way the Roman Catholic Church has a very strong influence in Korean society.

 

There are many Protestant churches in Seoul. The most numerous are Presbyterian, but there are also many Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran churches. Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church affiliated with the Assemblies of God on Yeouido in Seoul. With approximately 830,000 members (2007), it is the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in the world, which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

FESTIVALS

In October 2012 KBS Hall in Seoul hosted major international music festivals – First ABU TV and Radio Song Festivals within frameworks of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union 49th General Assembly. Hi! Seoul Festival is a seasonal cultural festival held four times a year every spring, summer, autumn, and winter in Seoul, South Korea since 2003. It is based on the "Seoul Citizens' Day" held on every October since 1994 to commemorate the 600 years history of Seoul as the capital of the country. The festival is arranged under the Seoul Metropolitan Government. As of 2012, Seoul has hosted Ultra Music Festival Korea, an annual dance music festival that takes place on the 2nd weekend of June.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Seoul features one of the world's most advanced transportation infrastructures that is constantly under expansion. Its system dates back to the era of the Korean Empire, when the first streetcar lines were laid and a railroad linking Seoul and Incheon was completed. Seoul's most important streetcar line ran along Jongno until it was replaced by Line 1 of the subway system in the early 1970s. Other notable streets in downtown Seoul include Euljiro, Teheranno, Sejongno, Chungmuro, Yulgongno, and Toegyero. There are nine major subway lines stretching for more than 250 km, with one additional line planned. As of 2010, 25% of the population has a commute time of an hour or more.

 

BUS

Seoul's bus system is operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (S.M.G.), with four primary bus configurations available servicing most of the city. Seoul has many large intercity/express bus terminals. These buses connect Seoul with cities throughout South Korea. The Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Central City Terminal and Seoul Nambu Terminal are located in the district of Seocho District. In addition, East Seoul Bus Terminal in Gwangjin District and Sangbong Terminal in Jungnang District operate in the east of the city.

 

SUBWAY

Seoul has a comprehensive urban railway network that interconnects every district of the city and the surrounding areas. With more than 8 million passengers per day, Seoul has one of the busiest subway systems in the world. The Seoul Metropolitan Subway has 19 total lines which serve Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi province, western Gangwon province, and northern Chungnam province. In addition, in order to cope with the various modes of transport, Seoul's metropolitan government employs several mathematicians to coordinate the subway, bus, and traffic schedules into one timetable. The various lines are run by Korail, Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, NeoTrans Co. Ltd., AREX, and Seoul Metro Line 9 Corporation.

 

TRAIN

Seoul is connected to every major city in South Korea by rail. Seoul is also linked to most major South Korean cities by the KTX high-speed train, which has a normal operation speed of more than 300 km/h. Major railroad stations include:

 

Seoul Station, Yongsan District: Gyeongbu line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa-ho), Gyeongui line (Saemaul/Commuter)

Yongsan Station, Yongsan District: Honam line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa), Jeolla/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Yeongdeungpo Station, Yeongdeungpo District: Gyeongbu/Honam/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Cheongnyangni Station, Dongdaemun District: Gyeongchun/Jungang/Yeongdong/Taebaek lines (Mugunghwa)

 

In addition, Suseo Station,in Gangnam District, is scheduled to open in late 2016, and offer KTX service on the newly built Suseo High Speed Railway.

 

AIRPORTS

Two international airports serve Seoul. Gimpo International Airport, formerly in Gimpo but annexed to Seoul in 1963, was for many years (since its original construction during the Korean War) the only international airport serving Seoul. Other domestic airports were also built around the time of the war, including Yeouido.

 

When it opened in March 2001, Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong island in Incheon changed the role of Gimpo Airport significantly. Incheon is now responsible for almost all international flights and some domestic flights, while Gimpo serves only domestic flights with the exception of flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Osaka Kansai International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, and Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing. This has led to a significant drop in flights from Gimpo Airport, though it remains one of South Korea's busiest airports.

 

Meanwhile, Incheon International Airport has become, along with Hong Kong, a major transportation center for East Asia.

 

Incheon and Gimpo are linked to Seoul by highways, and to each other by the Incheon International Airport Railroad, which is also linked to Incheon line #1. Gimpo is also linked by subway (line No. 5 and #9). The Incheon International Airport Railroad, connecting the airport directly to Seoul Station in central Seoul, was recently opened. Shuttle buses also transfer passengers between Incheon and Gimpo airports.

 

CYCLING

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Seoul and in the entire country. Both banks of the Han River have cycling paths that run all the way across the city along the river. In addition, Seoul introduced in 2015 a bicycle-sharing system named Ddareungi.

 

EDUCATION

UNICERSITIES

Seoul is home to the majority of South Korea's most prestigious universities, including Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, Sogang University, Hanyang University, Chung-Ang University, Ewha Womans University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Hongik University, Kyung Hee University, Soongsil University, Sookmyung Women's University, Korea Military Academy, and the University of Seoul.

 

SECONDARY EDUCATION

Education from grades 1–12 is compulsory. Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Secondary schools generally require that the students wear uniforms. There is an exit exam for graduating from high school and many students proceeding to the university level are required to take the College Scholastic Ability Test that is held every November. Although there is a test for non-high school graduates, called school qualification exam, most of Koreans take the test

 

Seoul is home to various specialized schools, including three science high schools (Hansung Science High School, Sejong Science High School and Seoul Science High School), and six foreign language High Schools (Daewon Foreign Language High School, Daeil Foreign Language High School, Ewha Girls' Foreign Language High School, Hanyoung Foreign Language High School, Myungduk Foreign Language High School and Seoul Foreign Language High School). Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education comprises 235 College-Preparatory High Schools, 80 Vocational Schools, 377 Middle Schools, and 33 Special Education Schools as of 2009.

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Seoul is a member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Hibiscus syriacus, the common garden Hibiscus, is called "Rose of Sharon" in North America.

 

Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem. The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa. The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning "immortality".

Officially the Republic of Korea, and often referred to as Korea, is a state in East Asia, located on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. Its capital is Seoul, the second largest metropolitan city in the world and a major global city.South Korea lies in a temperate climate region with a predominantly mountainous terrain. Its territory covers a total area of 100,032 square kilometers and has a population of over 50 million, making it the third most densely populated (significantly sized) country in the world.

Archaeological findings show that the Korean Peninsula was occupied by the Lower Paleolithic period. Korean history begins with the founding of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by the legendary Dan-gun. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Silla 668 AD, Korea went through the Goryeo Dynasty and Joseon Dynasty as one nation until the end of the Korean Empire in 1910, when Korea was annexed by Japan. After liberation and occupation by Soviet and U.S. forces at the end of World War II, the nation was divided into North and South Korea. The latter was established in 1948 as a democracy. A war between the two Koreas ended in an uneasy cease-fire. After the war and a period of military rule, the South Korean economy grew significantly and the country was transformed into a major economy and a full democracy.

South Korea is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 16 administrative divisions and is a developed country with a high standard of living. It has the fourth largest economy in Asia and the 15th largest in the world. The economy is export-driven, with production focusing on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics. South Korea is a member of the United Nations, WTO, OECD and G-20 major economies. It is also a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit.

 

History

The early years

Having occupied Najin and Ch’ŏngjin on 12 August, the Soviets moved into Wonsan and Hamhŭng on 24 August and P’yŏngyang during 24-26 August, sending troops directly into each of the provinces. Chistiakov, commander of the Soviet 25th Army arrived in Hamhŭng on 24 August and in accordance with his orders from the headquarters of the 1st Field Army of the Far Eastern Division he opened negotiations with the provincial governor and other Japanese leaders of the provincial government about taking over administration of the province. The content of their agreement was as follows:

If anyone, whether they are Japanese or Korean, leaves their post, they will immediately be sentenced to death by hanging. … For the time being, the Japanese police and military police will maintain order and administrative functions will continue to be carried out as before by the Japanese provincial governor and his subordinates. Those who cause disturbances of the peace will be severely punished. … Work should continue in factories, workshops, mines etc, and goods must not be removed from these workplaces.

This agreement was published in the Soviet Army’s decree of 25 August. This decree, which stressed the continuation of Japanese administrative and security control, was the Soviet command’s first official position revealing their policy toward the Korean peninsula. However, before a day had passed this decree was cancelled. Song Sŏnggwan, Ch’oe Kimo, Im Ch’ungsŏk and Sally Joe, and Kim Inhak, members of the South Hamgyŏng Province Communist Council as well as To Yongho and Ch’oe Myŏnghak, leaders of the South Hamgyŏng Province branch of the Committee for the Preparation of Korean Independence had visited Chistiakov, informing him that a ‘South Hamgyŏng Executive Committee’ had been formed and requesting that authority for administration be transferred to this committee. Chistiakov cancelled the decree and announced that, “this Executive Committee will manage all administrative and security affairs, under the command of the Soviet Army.”

The government moved rapidly to establish a political system that was partly styled on the Soviet system, with political power monopolised by the Worker's Party of Korea (WPK). The establishment of a command economy followed. Most of the country's productive assets had been owned by the Japanese or by Koreans who had been collaborators. The nationalization of these assets in 1946 placed 70% of industry under state control. By 1949 this percentage had risen to 90%. Since then, virtually all manufacturing, finance and internal and external trade has been conducted by the state.

In agriculture, the government moved more slowly towards a command economy. The "land to the tiller" reform of 1946 redistributed the bulk of agricultural land to the poor and landless peasant population, effectively breaking the power of the landed class. In 1954, however, a partial collectivization was carried out, with peasants being urged, and often forced, into agricultural co-operatives. By 1958, virtually all farming was being carried out collectively, and the co-operatives were increasingly merged into larger productive units.

Like all the postwar communist states, North Korea undertook massive state investment in heavy industry, state infrastructure and military strength, neglecting the production of consumer goods. By paying the collectivized peasants low state-controlled prices for their product, and using the surplus thus extracted to pay for industrial development, the state carried out a series of three-year plans, which brought industry's share of the economy from 47% in 1946 to 70% in 1959, despite the devastation of the Korean War. There were huge increases in electricity production, steel production and machine building. The large output of tractors and other agricultural machinery achieved a great increase in agricultural productivity.

 

Korean war

The consolidation of Syngman Rhee's government in the South with American military support and the suppression of the October 1948 insurrection ended hopes that the country could be reunified by way of Stalinist revolution in the South, and from early 1949 Kim sought Soviet and Chinese support for a military campaign to reunify the country by force. The withdrawal of most U.S. forces from South Korea in June 1949 left the southern government defended only by a weak and inexperienced South Korean army. The southern regime also had to deal with a citizenry of uncertain loyalty. The North Korean army, by contrast, had been the beneficiary of the Soviet Union's outdated Soviet WWII-era equipment, and had a core of hardened veterans who had fought as anti-Japanese guerrillas or with the Chinese Communists.

Initially, the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin rejected Kim's requests for permission to invade the South, but in late 1949 the Communist victory in China and the development of Soviet nuclear weapons made him re-consider Kim's proposal. In January 1950, after China's Mao Zedong indicated that China would send troops and other support to Kim, Stalin approved an invasion.[2] The Soviets provided limited support in the form of advisors who helped the North Koreans as they planned the operation, and Soviet military instructors to train some of the Korean units. However, from the very beginning Stalin made it clear that the Soviet Union would avoid a direct confrontation with the U.S. over Korea and would not commit ground forces even in case of some major military crisis. The stage was set for a civil war between two rival regimes on the Korean peninsula.

For over a year before North Korean forces tried to attack the southern government on June 25, 1950, the two sides had been engaged in a series of bloody clashes along the 38th parallel, especially in the Ongjin area on the west coast. On June 25, 1950, the northern forces escalated the battles into a full-fledged offensive and crossed the parallel in large numbers. Due to a combination of surprise, superior military forces, and a poorly armed South Korean army, the Northern forces quickly captured Seoul and Syngman Rhee and his government was forced to flee further south. However, the North Koreans failed to unify the peninsula when foreign powers entered the civil war. North Korean forces were soon defeated and driven northwards by United Nations forces led by the U.S. By October, the U.N. forces had retaken Seoul and captured Pyongyang, and it became Kim's turn to flee. But in November, Chinese forces entered the war and pushed the U.N. forces back, retaking Pyongyang in December and Seoul in January 1951. In March U.N. forces retook Seoul, and the war essentially became a bloody stalemate for the next two years. The front was stabilized in 1953 along what eventually became the current Armistice Line. After long negotiations, the two sides agreed on a border formed by the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and a ceasefire was declared. An official peace treaty, however, was never signed, and the two Koreas have technically been at war since 1960.

Before the war, Kim took control of North Korean politics, with the support of the armed forces, who respected his wartime record and long resistance to the Japanese. Pak Hon-yong, party vice chairman and Foreign Minister of the DPRK, was blamed for the failure of the southern population to support North Korea during the war and was executed after a show-trial in 1955. Most of the South Korean leftists who defected to the North in 1945–1953 were also accused of espionage and other crimes and killed, imprisoned or exiled to remote agricultural and mining villages. Potential rivals from other groups such as Kim Tu-bong were also purged

 

Gojoseon 2333 BC–108 BC

Gojoseon (Korean pronunciation: [kodʑosʌn]) was an ancient Korean kingdom. According to the Samguk Yusa and other medieval-era records, Gojoseon is said to have been founded in 2333 BC by Dangun, who is said to be a Posterity of Heaven. It was centered in the basins of Liao and Northern part of the Korean Peninsula.

Archaeological evidence of Gojoseon are found in the transition from the Jeulmun pottery to the Mumun pottery around 1500 BC, when groups of semi-sedentary small-scale agriculturalists occupied most of the Korean Peninsula. Local bronze production began around the 8th century BC. Based on contemporaneous written records, modern historians generally believe it developed from a loose federation into a powerful kingdom between 7th and 4th centuries BC.

Go(고, 古), meaning "ancient," distinguishes it from the later Joseon Dynasty; Joseon, as it is called in contemporaneous writings, is also romanized as Chosŏn.

 

Proto-Three Kingdoms: 108–57 BC

When Gojoseon was defeated by the Han dynasty of China in 108 BC, the northern region of the peninsula and Manchuria was occupied by the states of Buyeo, Goguryeo, Okjeo, Dongye, and other minor statelets. Goguryeo's traditional founding date is 37 BC, but it was mentioned in Chinese records as early as 75 BC, or possibly even 2nd century BC. China installed four commanderies in former Gojoseon territory, but three of them fell quickly to Korean resistance. Goguryeo gradually conquered and absorbed all its neighbors, and destroyed the last Chinese commandery in 313.

In the south, the little-understood state of Jin had given rise to the loose confederacies Jinhan, Byeonhan, and Mahan, or collectively, Samhan. Baekje was founded in 18 BC in Mahan territory and began to slowly overtake it. Silla was founded by the unification of six chiefdoms within the Jinhan, traditionally in 57 BC, although it may have been somewhat later. Byeonhan was absorbed into the later Gaya confederacy, which in turn was annexed by Silla.

Because of this continuity, most historians consider the Three Kingdoms to begin around the fall of Gojoseon, but the three did not dominate the peninsula as kingdoms until around 300.

 

Three Kingdoms: 57 BC – 668 AD

The name "Three Kingdoms" was used in the titles of the histories Samguk Sagi (12th century) and Samguk Yusa (13th century), and should not be confused with the earlier Chinese Three Kingdoms.

The Three Kingdoms were founded after the fall of Gojoseon, and gradually conquered and absorbed various other small states and confederacies. After the fall of Gojoseon, the Han dynasty established four commanderies in northern parts of the Korean peninsula. Three fell quickly to the Samhan, and the last was destroyed by Goguryeo in 313.

The nascent precursors of Baekje and Silla expanded within the web of complex chiefdoms during the Proto Three Kingdoms Period, and Goguryeo conquered neighboring Buyeo, Okjeo, Dongye, and other complex chiefdoms in northern Korea and Manchuria. The three polities made the transition from complex chiefdom to full-fledged state-level societies in the 3rd century.

All three kingdoms shared a similar culture and language. Their original religions appear to have been shamanistic, but they were increasingly influenced by Chinese culture, particularly Confucianism and Taoism. In the 4th century, Buddhism was introduced to the peninsula and spread rapidly, briefly becoming the official religion of all three kingdoms.

 

North-South States: 698–935

After the unification wars, the Tang Dynasty established territories in the former Goguryeo, and began to administer and establish communities in Baekje. Silla attacked the Chinese in Baekje and northern Korea in 671.

China then invaded Silla in 674 but Silla defeated the Chinese army in the north. Silla drove the Tang forces out of the peninsula by 676 to achieve unification of most of the Three Kingdoms.

Unified Silla was a time when Korean arts flourished dramatically and Buddhism became a large part of Silla culture. Buddhist monasteries such as the Bulguksa are examples of advanced Korean architecture and Buddhist influence. State-sponsored art and architecture from this period include Hwangnyongsa Temple, Bunhwangsa Temple, and Seokguram Grotto, a World Heritage Site.

Silla began to experience political troubles in 780. This severely weakened Silla and soon thereafter, descendants of the former Baekje established Later Baekje. In the north, rebels revived Goguryeo, beginning the Later Three Kingdoms period.

Unified Silla lasted for 267 years until, under King Gyeongsun, it was absorbed by Goryeo in 935.

 

Goryeo Dynasty 918–1392

The Goryeo Dynasty or Koryŏ (Officially the Kingdom of Goryeo) (918-1392) was a Korean sovereign state established in 918 by Emperor Taejo. Korea gets its name from this kingdom which became to be pronounced Korea. It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the Joseon dynasty in 1392. Goryeo expanded its borders to present-day Wonsan in the north-east (936~943) and the Amnok River (993) and finally almost the whole of the Korean peninsula (1374).

Two of this period's most notable products are Goryeo celadon pottery and the Tripitaka Koreana — the Buddhist scriptures (Tripitaka) carved onto roughly 80,000 woodblocks and stored, and still in, Haeinsa. Goryeo also created the world's first metal-based movable type printing press in 1234 and the oldest surviving movable metal type book, the Jikji, was made in 1377.

In 668, Silla conquered Baekje and Goguryeo with Tang Dynasty help, but by the late 9th century it was tottering, its monarchs being unimaginative and pressed by the power of powerful statesmen. Many burglars and outlaws bubbled and in 900 Gyeon Hwon revolted from Silla control in the Jeolla region as Hubaekje and next year Gung Ye revolted from the northern regions as Hugoguryeo (Taebong). A son-of-a regional lord, Wang Geon went into Hugoguryeo as a general.

Hugoguryeo fell when Wang Geon revolted and killed Gung Ye in 918, and the tottering Silla was too overpowered by Goryeo and Hubaekje and surrendered to Goryeo in 935. In 936 Hubaekje surrendered and Goryeo started a unbroken dynasty that ruled Korea for 474 years.

By the 14th century Goryeo was tottering under Yuan Dynasty control. Although King Gongmin managed to "free" his kingdom from the Mongolian yoke, the Goryeo general Yi Seonggye revolted and overthrew the last king of Goryeo, King Gongyang in 1392. Gongyang was killed in 1394.

 

The name "Goryeo" is derived from "Goguryeo," one of the ancient Three Kingdoms of Korea. The English name "Korea" derives from "Goryeo." See also Names of Korea.

 

Joseon Dynasty 1392–1897

Joseon (July 1392 – August 1910) (also Chosŏn, Choson, Chosun), was a Korean sovereign state[3] founded by Taejo Yi Seong-gye that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was founded in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Goryeo Kingdom at what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul and the kingdom's northernmost borders were expanded to the natural boundaries at the Amnok and Duman rivers (through the subjugation of the Jurchens). Joseon was the last royal and later imperial dynasty of Korean history. It was the longest ruling Confucian dynasty.

During its reign, Joseon consolidated its absolute rule over Korea, encouraged the entrenchment of Confucian ideals and doctrines in Korean society, imported and adapted Chinese culture, and saw the height of classical Korean culture, trade, science, literature, and technology. However, the dynasty was severely weakened during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when invasions by the neighboring Japan and Qing virtually overran the peninsula, leading to an increasingly harsh isolationist policy for which the country became known as the Hermit Kingdom. After invasions from Manchuria, Joseon experienced a nearly 200-year period of peace.

However, whatever power the kingdom recovered during its isolation further waned as the 18th century came to a close, and faced with internal strife, power struggles, international pressure and rebellions at home, the Joseon Dynasty declined rapidly in the late 19th century. In 1895, the Joseon Dynasty was forced to write a document of independence from the Qing Dynasty after the Japanese victory in the First Sino-Japanese War and its peace treaty, the Treaty of Shimonoseki. From 1897 to 1910, Korea was formally known as the Korean Empire to signify a sovereign nation no longer a tributary of the Qing Dynasty. The Joseon Dynasty came to an end in 1910, when the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty was enforced by the Empire of Japan.

The Joseon's rule has left a substantial legacy on the modern face of Korea; much of modern Korean etiquette, cultural norms, societal attitudes towards current issues, and even the modern Korean language and its dialects stem from the traditional thought pattern that originated from this period.

 

Korean Empire 1897–1910

The Sino-Japanese War marked the rapid decline of any power the Joseon Dynasty of Korea had managed to hold against foreign interference, as the battles of the conflict itself had been fought on Korean soil and the surrounding seas. With its newfound preeminence over waning China, Japan had Japanese delegates negotiate the Treaty of Shimonoseki with the Qing emissaries, through which Japan wrested control over the Liaodong Peninsula from China (a move designed to prevent the southern expansion of Japan's new rival, Russia), and, more importantly to Korea, scrapped the centuries-old tributary relationship between Joseon and the Qing Dynasty. However, Russia realized this agreement as an act against its interests in northeastern China and eventually brought France and Germany to its side in saying that the Liaodong Peninsula should be repatriated to China.

At the time, Japan had no power to resist such foreign pressure, especially by nations that it considered far more advanced and which it sought to emulate, and as such relinquished its claim to the Liaodong Peninsula. With the success of the three-country intervention, Russia emerged as another major power in East Asia, replacing the Qing Dynasty as the country that the many government officials in the Joseon court advocated close ties with to prevent more Japanese meddling in Korean politics. Queen Min (the later Empress Myeongseong), the consort of King Gojong, also realized this change and recognized it by formally establishing closer diplomatic relations with Russia to counter Japan.

Queen Min began to emerge as a key figure in higher-level Korean resistance to Japanese influence. Japan, seeing its designs endangered by the queen, quickly replaced its ambassador to Korea, Inoue Kaoru, with Miura Goro, a diplomat with a background in the Japanese military. It is widely believed that he orchestrated the assassination of Queen Min on October 8, 1895, at her residence at Gyeongbokgung, nearby the Geoncheong Palace, the official sleeping quarters of the king within Gyeongbok Palace.

 

Japanese rule 1910–1945

Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion (22 August 1910 to 15 August 1945). Formally, Japanese rule ended on 2 September 1945 upon the Japanese defeat in World War II in 1945.

Korea was occupied and declared a Japanese protectorate in the 1905 Eulsa Treaty, and officially annexed in 1910 through the annexation treaty. Japan's involvement in the region began with the 1876 Treaty of Ganghwa during the Joseon Dynasty and increased with the subsequent assassination of Empress Myeongseong (also known as "Queen Min") in 1895. The 1905 and 1910 treaties were eventually declared "null and void" by both Japan and South Korea in 1965.

In Korea, the period is usually described as a time of "Japanese forced occupation" (Hangul: 일제 강점기; Ilje gangjeomgi, Hanja: 日帝强占期). Other terms used for it include "Japanese Imperial Period" (Hangul: 일제시대, Ilje sidae, Hanja: 日帝時代) or "Wae (Japanese) administration" (Hangul: 왜정, Wae jeong, Hanja: 倭政). In Japan, a more common description is "Japanese rule of Chosun" (日本統治時代の朝鮮, Nippon Tōchi-jidai no Chōsen?).

 

Provisional Gov't 1919–1948

The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was the partially recognised government in exile of Korea, based in Shanghai, China and later in Chongqing, during the Japanese colonial rule of Korea.The Government was formed on April 13, 1919, following the Korean Declaration of Independence during the March 1st movement of the same year.

The government did not gain formal recognition from world powers, though modest form of recognition was given from the Nationalist Government of China and a number of other governments, most of whom were in exile themselves.

The Government strived for the independence of Korea from Japanese annexation that lasted from 1910 to 1945. They coordinated the armed resistance against the Japanese army during the 1920s and 1930s, including the Battle of Chingshanli in October, 1920 and the assault on Japanese military leadership in Shanghai in April 1932.

This struggle culminated in the formation of Korean Liberation Army in 1940, bringing together many if not all Korean resistance groups in exile. The government duly declared war against Japan and Germany on December 9 1941, and the Liberation Army took part in allied action in China and parts of Southeast Asia.

Prior to the end of World War II, the Korean Liberation Army was preparing an assault against the Japanese in Korea in conjunction with American Office of Strategic Services, but the Japanese surrender prevented the execution of the plan. The government's goal was achieved with Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.

 

Division of Korea 1945–1948

The division of Korea into North Korea and South Korea stems from the 1945 Allied victory in World War II, ending Japan's 35-year colonial rule of Korea. In a proposal opposed by nearly all Koreans, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily occupy the country as a trusteeship with the zone of control demarcated along the 38th parallel. The purpose of this trusteeship was to establish a Korean provisional government which would become "free and independent in due course." Though elections were scheduled, the two superpowers backed different leaders and two states were effectively established, each of which claimed sovereignty over the whole Korean peninsula

The Korean War (1950-1953) left the two Koreas separated by the DMZ, remaining technically at war through the Cold War to the present day. North Korea is a communist state, often described as Stalinist and isolationist. Its economy initially enjoyed substantial growth but collapsed in the 1990s, unlike that of its Communist neighbor China. South Korea emerged, after decades of authoritarian rule, as a capitalist liberal democracy with one of the largest economies in the world.

Since the 1990s, with progressively liberal South Korean administrations, as well as the death of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, the two sides have taken small, symbolic steps towards a possible Korean reunification.

  

Geography

South Korea occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula, which extends some 680 miles (1,100 km) from the Asian mainland. This mountainous peninsula is flanked by the Yellow Sea to the west, and the Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the east. Its southern tip lies on the Korea Strait and the East China Sea.

The country's total area is 38,622.57 square miles (100,032.00 km2).

South Korea can be divided into four general regions: an eastern region of high mountain ranges and narrow coastal plains; a western region of broad coastal plains, river basins, and rolling hills; a southwestern region of mountains and valleys; and a southeastern region dominated by the broad basin of the Nakdong River.

South Korea's terrain is mostly mountainous, most of which is not arable. Lowlands, located primarily in the west and southeast, constitute only 30% of the total land area.

About three thousand islands, mostly small and uninhabited, lie off the western and southern coasts of South Korea. Jeju-do is located about 100 kilometers (about 60 mi) off the southern coast of South Korea. It is the country's largest island, with an area of 1,845 square kilometres (712 sq mi). Jeju is also the site of South Korea's highest point: Hallasan, an extinct volcano, reaches 1,950 meters (6,398 ft) above sea level. The most eastern islands of South Korea include Ulleungdo and Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo), while Marado and Socotra Rock are the southernmost islands of South Korea.

South Korea has 20 national parks and some popular nature places like Boseong Tea Field, Suncheon Bay Ecological Park in South Jeolla province

 

Other info

Oficial Name:

대한 민국

大韓民國

Daehan Minguk

 

Establishment

- Liberation declared March 1, 1919 (de jure)

- Liberation August 15, 1945

- First Republic August 13, 1948

- United Nations Recognition December 12, 1948

 

Area:

99.539km2

 

Inhabitants:

49.235.000

 

Language:

Korean

[kor] 42,000,000 in South Korea (1986). Population total all countries: 67,019,690. Also spoken in American Samoa, Australia, Bahrain, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Japan, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Mongolia, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia (Asia), Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, USA, Uzbekistan. Alternate names: Hanguohua, Hanguk Mal. Dialects: Seoul (Kangwondo, Kyonggido), Ch'ungch'ongdo (North Ch'ungch'ong, South Ch'ungch'ong), Kyongsangdo (North Kyongsangdo, South Kyongsangdo), Chollado (North Chollado, South Chollado), Cheju Island. There is a difference of opinion among scholars as to whether or not Korean is related to Japanese. Some scholars suggest that both languages are possibly distantly related to Altaic. Dialect boundaries generally correspond to provincial boundaries. Some dialects are not easily intelligible with others (Voegelin and Voegelin 1977). The suffix '-do' on dialect names means 'province'. Comprehension of Standard Korean may be lower on Cheju Island. Classification: Language Isolate

 

Capital city:

Seoul

 

Meaning country name:

Korea (Korean: 한국 in South Korea ) is a geographic area, civilization, and former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. Korea is currently divided into North Korea and South Korea.

Although the borders of historical Korean dynasties fluctuated, the peninsula today is defined as coterminous with the political borders of the two Koreas combined. Thus, the peninsula borders China to the northwest and Russia to the northeast, with Japan situated to the southeast across the Korea Strait.

The history of Korea began with the legendary founding of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by Dangun. Limited linguistic evidence suggests probable Altaic origins of these people, whose northern Mongolian Steppe culture absorbed immigrants and invaders from northern Manchuria, Mongolia and China.[citation needed] The adoption of the Chinese writing system ("hanja" in Korean) in the 2nd century BC, and Buddhism in the 4th century AD, had profound effects on the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Koreans later passed on these, as well as their own advances, to Japan.

After the unification of the Three Kingdoms by Silla in 676, Korea was ruled by a single government and maintained political and cultural independence until the nineteenth century, despite the Mongol invasions of the Goryeo Dynasty in the 13th century and Japanese invasions of the Joseon Dynasty in the 16th century. In 1377, Korea produced the Jikji, the world's oldest movable metal print document. In the 15th century, the turtle ships, possibly the world's first ironclad warships, were deployed, and during the reign of King Sejong the Great, the Korean alphabet han-geul was created.

During the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty, Korea's isolationist policy earned it the Western nickname the "Hermit Kingdom". By the late 19th century, the country became the object of the colonial designs of Japan and Europe. In 1910, Korea was forcibly annexed by Japan and remained occupied until the end of World War II in August 1945.

In 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender and disarming of Japanese troops in Korea; the Soviet Union accepting the surrender north of the 38th parallel and the United States taking the surrender south of it. This led to division of Korea by the two great powers, exacerbated by their inability to agree on the terms of Korean independence. The two Cold War rivals then established governments sympathetic to their own ideologies, leading to Korea's current division into two political entities: North Korea and South Korea.

 

Desciption Flag:

The flag of South Korea, or Taegukgi (Although revised official Romanization is Taegeukgi, the word Taegukgi has been used in English world historically) has three parts: a white background; a red and blue taegeuk in the center; and four black trigrams, one in each corner of the flag. In Korean, the flag is called the Taegeukgi. The design of the flag was reportedly suggested by Qing diplomat Ma Jianzhong in 1882 during the reign of King Gojong, and was designed by Bak Yeong-hyo, the Korean ambassador to Japan. King Gojong proclaimed the Taegeukgi to be the official flag of Korea on 6 March 1883.

The four trigrams originates in the Chinese book I Ching, representing the four Chinese philosophical ideas about the universe: harmony, symmetry, balance, circulation. The general design of the flag also derives from traditional use of the tricolor symbol (red, blue and yellow) by Koreans starting from the early era of Korean history. The white background symbolizes "cleanliness of the people." The taegeuk represents the origin of all things in the universe; holding the two principles of "Eum", the negative aspect rendered in blue, and "Yang", the positive aspect rendered in red, in perfect balance. Together, they represent a continuous movement within infinity, the two merging as one. The four trigrams are:

||| Force (☰; geon (건; 乾) in Korean) = heaven (天), spring (春), east (東), virtue (仁);

¦¦¦ Field (☷; gon (곤; 坤)) = earth (地), summer (夏), west (西), justice (義);

|¦| Radiance (☲; ri (리; 離)) = sun (日), fall (秋), south (南), courtesy (禮);

¦|¦ Gorge (☵; gam (감; 坎)) = moon (月), winter (冬), north (北), knowledge or wisdom (智).

Traditionally, the four trigrams are related to the Five Elements of fire, water, earth, wood, and metal. An analogy could also be drawn with the four western classical elements.

 

Coat of arms:

The Coat of arms of South Korea consists in the taeguk symbol present on the national flag surrounded by five stylized petals and a ribbon bearing the inscription "The Republic of Korea" (Daehan Minguk), the official name of the country, in Hangul characters. The Yin and Yang represents peace and harmony. The Five petals all have meaning and are related to Korea's national flower (the Hibiscus syriacus).

 

Motto:

널리 인간을 이롭게 하라___-Beneficts to all People-

 

National Anthem: Aegukga

 

Hangul

 

동해 물과 백두산이 마르고 닳도록

하느님이 보우하사 우리나라 만세

 

남산 위에 저 소나무 철갑을 두른 듯

바람서리 불변함은 우리 기상일세

 

가을 하늘 공활한데 높고 구름 없이

밝은 달은 우리 가슴 일편단심일세

 

이 기상과 이 맘으로 충성을 다하여

괴로우나 즐거우나 나라 사랑하세

 

Hangul and Hanja

東海 물과 白頭山이 마르고 닳도록

하느님이 保佑하사 우리나라 萬歲

 

南山 위에 저 소나무 鐵甲을 두른 듯

바람서리 不變함은 우리 氣像일세

 

가을 하늘 空豁한데 높고 구름 없이

밝은 달은 우리 가슴 一片丹心일세

 

이 氣像과 이 맘으로 忠誠을 다하여

괴로우나 즐거우나 나라 사랑하세

 

無窮花 三千里 華麗江山

大韓사람 大韓으로 길이 保全하세

 

Romanization

Donghae mulgwa Baekdusani mareugo daltorok

Haneunimi bouhasa urinara manse

 

Namsan wie jeo sonamu cheolgabeul dureun deut

Baram seori bulbyeonhameun uri gisangilse

 

Ga-eul haneul gonghwalhande nopgo gureum eopsi

Balgeun dareun uri gaseum ilpyeondansimilse

 

I gisanggwa i mameuro chungseong-eul dahayeo

Goerouna jeulgeouna nara saranghase

 

Mugunghwa samcheolli hwaryeogangsan

Daehansaram daehaneuro giri bojeonhase

 

English

Until the day when the East Sea's waters and Mt. Baekdu are dry and worn away,

God shall protect and preserve us. May our nation live through eternity!

 

The pinetree atop Namsan stands firmly unchanged under wind and frost as if wrapped in armour,

as is our resilient spirit.

 

Autumn sky is void and vast, high and cloudless,

the bright moon is our heart, undivided and true.

 

With this spirit and this mind, give all loyalty,

in suffering or in joy, love the country.

 

Three thousand Li of splendid rivers and mountains, filled with Roses of Sharon;

Great Korean People, let us everlastingly preserve our Great Korean nation.

 

Internet Page: www.english.president.co.kr

www.korea.net

www.english.tour2korea.com

 

S.K. in diferent languages

 

eng: South Korea

cat | ina | ita: Corea del Sud

hrv | hsb | slv: Južna Koreja

ast | spa: Corea del Sur

dan | swe: Sydkorea

deu | ltz: Südkorea / Südkorea

fra | jnf: Corée du Sud

ind | msa: Korea Selatan / كوريا سلاتن

kin | run: Koreya y’ubumanuko

roh-enb | roh-eno: Corea dal Süd

afr: Suid-Korea

arg: Corea d’o Sur

aze: Cənubi Koreya / Ҹәнуби Кореја

bam: Kɔre Woroduguyanfan

bos: Južna Koreja / Јужна Кореја

bre: Korea ar Su; Sukorea

ces: Jižní Korea

cor: Korea Dheghow

cos: Corea suttana

crh: Cenübiy Koreya / Дженюбий Корея

csb: Półniowò Kòreja

cym: De Corea

dsb: Pódpołdnjowa Koreja

epo: Sud-Koreo; Sud-Koreio

est: Lõuna-Korea

eus: Hego Korea

fao: Suður-Korea

fin: Etelä-Korea

frp: Corê du Sud

fry: Súd-Korea

fur: Coree dal Sud

gag: Üülen Koreya / Ӱӱлен Kорея

gla: Coirea a Deas; Coiria a Deas; Corea a Deas

gle: An Chóiré Theas / An Ċóiré Ṫeas; An Choria Theas / An Ċoria Ṫeas

glg: Corea do Sur

glv: Yn Chorea Yiass

hat: Kore disid

hau: Koreya ta Kudu

hun: Dél-Korea

ibo: Kọria Ndida

isl: Suður-Kórea

jav: Korea Selatan

kaa: Tuʻslik Koreya / Түслик Корея

kmr: Korê ya Cenûbê / Коре йа Щәнубе / کۆرێیا جەنووبێ

kur: Koreya Başûr / کۆرەیا باشوور

lat: Corea Meridionalis; Corea Meridiana

lav: Dienvidkoreja

lim: Zuud-Korea

lin: Kore ya Sidi

lit: Pietų Korėja

lld-bad: Corea dl Süd

lld-grd: Corea dl Sud

mlg: Kôrea Atsimo

mlt: Korea t’Isfel

mol: Coreea de Sud / Корея де Суд

nds: Süüdkorea / Süüdkorea

nld: Zuid-Korea

nor: Sør-Korea

nrm: Coraée-du-Su

oci: Corèa del Sud

pap: Sur-Korea

pol: Korea Południowa

por: Coreia do Sul / Coréia do Sul

que: Uralan Kuriya

rmy: Sudutni Koreya / सुदुत्नी कोरेया

roh-gri: Corea dal Sid

roh-srs: Corea dil Sid

ron: Coreea de Sud

rup: Corea di Not

scn: Corea dû Sud

slk: Južná Kórea

slo: Jugju Korea / Йугйу Кореа

sme: Lulli-Korea

smg: Pėitū Kuoriejė

smo: Malo Korea

som: Kooriyada Koonfureed; Kuuriyada Koonfureed

sqi: Korea Jugore

srd: Corea de Josso

swa: Korea ya Kusini

szl: Korea Pouedńowo

tet: Koreia Súl

tgl: Timog Korea

ton: Saute Kōlea

tpi: Saut Korea

tuk: Günorta Koreýa / Гүнорта Корея

tur: Güney Kore

uzb: Janubiy Quriya / Жанубий Қурия; Janubiy Koreya / Жанубий Корея

vie: Nam Hàn; Hàn Quốc

vol: Sulüda-Koreyän; Hangukän

vor: Lõunõ-Korea

wln: Nonne Corêye

wol: Koore bu Sid

zza: Korya Veroci

abq | bul: Южна Корея (Južna Koreja)

alt: Тӱштӱк Корея (Tüštük Koreja)

bak: Көньяҡ Корея / Könyaķ Koreya

bel: Паўднёвая Карэя / Paŭdniovaja Kareja

che: Къилбера Корея (Q̣ilbera Koreja)

chm: Кечывалвел Корея (Kečyvalvel Koreja)

chv: Кӑнтӑр Корейӑ (Kăntăr Korejă)

kaz: Оңтүстік Корея / Oñtüstik Koreya / وڭتۇستىك كورەيا

kbd: Южнэ Корея (Južnă Koreja)

kir: Түштүк Корея (Tüštük Koreja)

kjh: Южнай Корея (Južnaj Koreja)

kom: Южнӧй Корея (Južnöj Koreja)

krc: Юг Корея (Jug Koreja)

kum: Къыбла Корея (Qybla Koreja)

mkd: Јузна Кореа (Juzna Korea)

mon: Өмнөд Солонгос (Ömnöd Solongos)

oss: Хуссар Корей (Ĥussar Korej)

rus: Южная Корея (Južnaja Koreja)

srp: Јужна Кореја / Južna Koreja

tat: Көньяк Корея / Könyaq Koreä

tgk: Қурияи Ҷанубӣ / قوریۀ جنوبی / Qurijai Çanubī; Кореяи Ҷанубӣ / کاریۀ جنوبی / Korejai Çanubī

tyv: Мурнуу-Көрей (Murnuu-Körej)

udm: Лымшор Корея (Lymšor Koreja)

ukr: Південна Корея (Pivdenna Koreja)

ara: كوريا الجنوبية (Kūrīyā l-Ǧanūbīyâ)

ckb: کۆریای باشوور / Koryaî Başûr

fas: کرۀ جنوبی / Koreye Janubi

prs: کوریای جنوبی (Kōriyā-ye Janūbī)

pus: سهيلي کوريا (Sahīlī Koriyā)

snd: ڏکڻ ڪوريا (Ḋakʰaṇ Koriyā)

uig: جەنۇبىي چاۋشيەن / Jenubiy Chawshyen / Җәнубий Чавшйән; جەنۇبىي چاۋشەن / Jenubiy Chawshen / Җәнубий Чавшән

urd: جنوبی کوریا (Janūbī Koriyā)

div: ސައުތް ކޮރެއާ (Sa'ut Kore'ā)

heb: דרום קוראה (Dərôm Qôreʾah); דרום קוריאה (Dərôm Qôrêʾah); קוראה הדרומית (Qôreʾah ha-Dərômît); קוריאה הדרומית (Qôrêʾah ha-Dərômît)

lad: קוריאה דיל סור / Korea del Sur

yid: דרום קאָריִיע (Dorem Koriye)

amh: ደቡብ ኮርያ (Däbub Korya)

ell-dhi: Νότια Κορέα (Nótia Koréa)

ell-kat: Νότιος Κορέα (Nótios Koréa)

hye: Հարավային Կորեա (Haravayin Korea)

kat: სამხრეთ კორეა (Samĥreṭ Korea)

hin: दक्षिण कोरिया (Dakṣiṇ Koriyā)

ben: দক্ষিণ কোরিয়া (Dôkṣiṇ Koriyā)

pan: ਦੱਖਣੀ ਕੋਰੀਆ (Dakʰkʰaṇī Korīā)

kan: ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ಕೊರಿಯಾ (Dakṣiṇa Koriyā)

mal: ദക്ഷിണ കൊറിയ (Dakṣiṇa Koṟiya)

tam: தென் கொரியா (Teṉ Koriyā); தென்கொரியா (Teṉkoriyā)

tel: దక్షిణ కొరియా (Dakṣiṇa Koriyā)

zho: 南韓/南韩 (Nánhán); 韓國/韩国 (Hánguó)

yue: 南韓/南韩 (Nàahmhòhn); 韓國/韩国 (Hòhngwok)

jpn: 韓国 (Kankoku)

kor: 한국/韓國 (Hanguk); 남한/南韓 (Namhan)

bod: ལྷོ་ཁྲའོ་ཤན་ (Lho. Kʰra'o.šan.); ཁྲའོ་ཤན་ལྷོ་རྒྱུད་ (Kʰra'o.šan. Lho.rgyud.)

dzo: ལྷོ་ཀོ་རི་ཡ་ (Lho.Ko.ri.ya.)

mya: တောင္ကုိရီးယား (Toũ Koẏìyà)

tha: เกาหลีใต้ (Kaw[h]lī Tái)

lao: ເກົາຫຼີໄຕ້ (Kaw[h]ḷī Tái)

khm: កូរ៉េខាងត្បូង (Kūre Kʰāṅtbūṅ)

chr: ᏅᎦᎾᏭ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎪᎴᏯ / Nvganawu Iditlv Goleya; ᏅᎦᎾᏭ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎪᎴᎠ / Nvganawu Iditlv Golea

 

Hibiscus syriacus , the common garden Hibiscus, is called Rose of Sharon in North America, a name also applied to other plants. It is a flowering shrub in the plant family Malvaceae native to much of Asia. It is vase-shaped, reaching 2-4 m in height. It is also known as "Rose of Althea" and is widely planted in areas with hot summers for its very attractive white, pink, red, lavender, or purple edible flowers. It is very strong.; if cut and put in a vase, it will survive for a longer period of time than many other plants.

Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem.The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa . The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning "immortality".

 

Le specie più utilizzate come piante ornamentali sono le numerose varietà di Hibiscus syriacus, rustiche e resistenti al freddo, a foglie decidue, fioritura estiva con fiori colorati di bianco, rosa, viola e lilla, coltivate anche ad alberello molto comuni lungo le strade cittadine e nei parchi pubblici.

 

Font : Wikipedia

Seoul – officially the Seoul Special City – is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea), forming the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, the world's 16th largest city. It is home to over half of all South Koreans along with 678,102 international residents.

 

Situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than two thousand years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty. The Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, the world's most visited national park per square foot. Modern landmarks include the iconic N Seoul Tower, the gold-clad 63 Building, the neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, the world's second largest indoor theme park, Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world's longest bridge fountain and the Sevit Floating Islands. The birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received over 10 million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.

 

Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it to the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. In 2015, it was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis. A world leading technology hub centered on Gangnam and Digital Media City, the Seoul Capital Area boasts 15 Fortune Global 500 companies such as Samsung, the world's largest technology company, as well as LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2014, the city's GDP per capita (PPP) of $39,786 was comparable to that of France and Finland. Ranked sixth in the Global Power City Index and Global Financial Centres Index, the metropolis exerts a major influence in global affairs as one of the five leading hosts of global conferences.

 

Seoul is the world's most wired city and ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report. It is served by the KTX high-speed rail and the Seoul Subway, providing 4G LTE, WiFi and DMB inside subway cars. Seoul is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated the world's best airport nine years in a row (2005–2013) by Airports Council International. Lotte World Tower, a 556-metre supertall skyscraper with 123 floors, has been built in Seoul and become the OECD's tallest in 2016, with the world's tallest art gallery. Its Lotte Cinema houses the world's largest cinema screen. Seoul's COEX Mall is the world's largest underground shopping mall.

 

Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, the Miss Universe 1980 pageant, and the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. A UNESCO City of Design, Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The city has been known in the past by the names Wirye-seong (Hangul: 위례성; Hanja: 慰禮城, during the Baekje era), Hanju (Hangul: 한주; Hanja: 漢州, during the Silla era), Namgyeong (Hangul: 남경; Hanja: 南京, during the Goryeo era), Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城, during both the Baekje and Joseon eras), Hanyang (Hangul: 한양; Hanja: 漢陽, during the Joseon era), Gyeongseong (京城, during the colonial era).

 

During Japan's annexation in Korea, "Hanseong" (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城) was renamed to "Keijō" (京城, or Template:Korean 한국, Gyeongseong) by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja '漢', as it also refers to the Han Chinese. In reality, the ancient name of Seoul, Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城), originally had the meaning of "big" or "vast".

 

Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city," which is believed to be derived from the word Seorabeol (Hangul: 서라벌; Hanja: 徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla.

 

Unlike most place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding hanja (Chinese characters used in the Korean language). On January 18, 2005, Seoul government officially changed its official Chinese language name to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr) from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng), of which use is becoming less common.

 

HISTOY

Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, began around 4000 BC.

 

Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BC) in the northeastern Seoul area. There are several city walls remaining in the area that date from this time. Pungnaptoseong, an earthen wall just outside Seoul, is widely believed to have been at the main Wiryeseong site. As the Three Kingdoms competed for this strategic region, control passed from Baekje to Goguryeo in the 5th century, and from Goguryeo to Silla in the 6th century.

 

In the 11th century Goryeo, which succeeded Unified Silla, built a summer palace in Seoul, which was referred to as the "Southern Capital". It was only from this period that Seoul became a larger settlement. When Joseon replaced Goryeo, the capital was moved to Seoul (also known as Hanyang and later as Hanseong), where it remained until the fall of the dynasty. The Gyeongbok Palace, built in the 14th century, served as the royal residence until 1592. The other large palace, Changdeokgung, constructed in 1405, served as the main royal palace from 1611 to 1872.

 

Originally, the city was entirely surrounded by a massive circular stone wall to provide its citizens security from wild animals, thieves and attacks. The city has grown beyond those walls and although the wall no longer stands (except along Bugaksan Mountain (Hangul: 북악산; Hanja: 北岳山), north of the downtown area), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Heunginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun). During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells at the Bosingak belfry. In the late 19th century, after hundreds of years of isolation, Seoul opened its gates to foreigners and began to modernize. Seoul became the first city in East Asia to introduce electricity in the royal palace, built by the Edison Illuminating Company and a decade later Seoul also implemented electrical street lights.

 

Much of the development was due to trade with foreign countries like France and United States. For example, the Seoul Electric Company, Seoul Electric Trolley Company, and Seoul Fresh Spring Water Company were all joint Korean–American owned enterprises. In 1904, an American by the name of Angus Hamilton visited the city and said, "The streets of Seoul are magnificent, spacious, clean, admirably made and well-drained. The narrow, dirty lanes have been widened, gutters have been covered, roadways broadened. Seoul is within measurable distance of becoming the highest, most interesting and cleanest city in the East.

"After the annexation treaty in 1910, the Empire of Japan annexed Korea and renamed the city Gyeongseong ("Kyongsong" in Korean and "Keijo" in Japanese). Japanese technology was imported, the city walls were removed, some of the gates demolished. Roads became paved and Western-style buildings were constructed. The city was liberated at the end of World War II.

 

In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul, and was designated as a special city in 1949.

 

During the Korean War, Seoul changed hands between the Russian/Chinese-backed North Korean forces and the American-backed South Korean forces several times, leaving the city heavily damaged after the war. The capital was temporarily relocated to Busan. One estimate of the extensive damage states that after the war, at least 191,000 buildings, 55,000 houses, and 1,000 factories lay in ruins. In addition, a flood of refugees had entered Seoul during the war, swelling the population of the city and its metropolitan area to an estimated 1.5 million by 1955.

 

Following the war, Seoul began to focus on reconstruction and modernization. As Korea's economy started to grow rapidly from the 1960s, urbanization also accelerated and workers began to move to Seoul and other larger cities. From the 1970s, the size of Seoul administrative area greatly expanded as it annexed a number of towns and villages from several surrounding counties.

 

According to 2012 census data, the population of the Seoul area makes up around 20% of the total population of South Korea, Seoul has become the economic, political and cultural hub of the country, with several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, SK Holdings, Hyundai, POSCO and LG Group headquartered there.

 

Seoul was the host city of the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics as well as one of the venues of the Football World Cup 2002.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Seoul is in the northwest of South Korea. Seoul proper comprises 605.25 km2, with a radius of approximately 15 km, roughly bisected into northern and southern halves by the Han River. The Han River and its surrounding area played an important role in Korean history. The Three Kingdoms of Korea strove to take control of this land, where the river was used as a trade route to China (via the Yellow Sea). The river is no longer actively used for navigation, because its estuary is located at the borders of the two Koreas, with civilian entry barred. Historically, the city was during the Joseon Dynasty bounded by the Seoul Fortress Wall, which stretched between the four main mountains in central Seoul: Namsan, Naksan, Bukaksan and Inwangsan. The city is bordered by eight mountains, as well as the more level lands of the Han River plain and western areas. Due to its geography and to economic development policies, Seoul is a very polycentric city. The area that was the old capital in the Joseon Dynasty, and mostly comprises Jongno District and Jung District, constitutes the historical and political center of the city. However, for example, the city's financial capital is widely considered to be in Yeouido, while its economic capital is Gangnam District.

 

CLIMATE

Seoul is either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), using the −3 °C isotherm of the original Köppen scheme, or a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), using the 0 °C isotherm preferred by some climatologists. Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until September. August, the warmest month, has average high and low temperatures of 29.6 and 22.4 °C with higher temperatures possible. Winters are often cold to freezing with average January high and low temperatures of 1.5 and −5.9 °C and are generally much drier than summers, with an average of 28 days of snow annually. Sometimes, temperatures do drop dramatically to below −10.0 °C, in odd occasions rarely as low as −15.0 °C in the mid winter period between January and February.

  

ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTS

Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Hangul: 구; Hanja: 區) (district). The gu vary greatly in area (from 10 to 47 km2) and population (from fewer than 140,000 to 630,000). Songpa has the most people, while Seocho has the largest area. The government of each gu handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions. Each gu is divided into "dong" (Hangul: 동; Hanja: 洞) or neighbourhoods. Some gu have only a few dong while others like Jongno District have a very large number of distinct neighbourhoods. Gu of Seoul consist of 423 administrative dongs (Hangul: 행정동) in total. Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (Hangul: 통; Hanja: 統), which are further divided into 102,796 ban in total.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Seoul proper is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York and eight times greater than Rome. Its metropolitan area was the most densely populated in the OECD in Asia in 2012, and second worldwide after that of Paris. As of December 2013, the population was 10.14 million, in 2012, it was 10,442,426. As of the end of June 2011, 10.29 million Republic of Korea citizens lived in the city. This was a 24% decrease from the end of 2010. The population of Seoul has been dropping since the early 1990s, the reasons being the high costs of living and an aging population.

 

The number of foreigners living in Seoul is 255,501 in 2010 according to Seoul officials.[58] As of June 2011, 281,780 foreigners were located in Seoul. Of them, 186,631 foreigners (66%) were Chinese citizens of Korean ancestry. This was an 8.84% increase from the end of 2010 and a 12.85% increase from June 2010. The next largest group was Chinese citizens who are not of Korean ethnicity; 29,901 of them resided in Seoul. The next highest group consisted of the 9,999 United States citizens who were not of Korean ancestry. The next highest group were the Republic of China (Taiwan) citizens, at 8,717.

 

The two major religions in Seoul are Christianity and Buddhism. Other religions include Muism (indigenous religion) and Confucianism. Seoul is home to one of the world's largest Christians congregations, Yoido Full Gospel Church , which has around 830,000 members. Seoul is home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University. Other Christian faiths like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) maintains a presence in the city.

 

ECONOMY

Seoul is the business and financial hub of South Korea. Although it accounts for only 0.6 percent of the nation's land area, 48.3 percent of South Korea's bank deposits were held in Seoul in 2003, and the city generated 23 percent of the country's GDP overall in 2012. In 2008 the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index ranked Seoul No.9. The Global Financial Centres Index in 2015 listed Seoul as the 6th financially most competitive city in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Seoul 15th in the list of "Overall 2025 City Competitiveness" regarding future competitiveness of cities.

 

MANUFACTURING

The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries; however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries. Major manufacturers are headquartered in the city, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Kia and SK. Notable food and beverage companies include Jinro, whose soju is the most sold alcoholic drink in the world, beating out Smirnoff vodka; top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery. It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Dairy, Namyang dairy and Lotte.

 

FINANCE

Seoul hosts large concentration of headquarters of International companies and banks, including 15 companies on fortune 500 list such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island), which is often called "Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s. The Seoul international finance center & SIFC MALL, Hanhwa 63 building, the Hanhwa insurance company head office. Hanhwa is one of the three largest Korean insurance companies, along with Samsung Life and Gangnam & Kyob life insurance group.

 

COMMERCE

The largest wholesale and retail market in South Korea, the Dongdaemun Market, is located in Seoul. Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul.

 

Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold. Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products. Some shops for local designers have opened in Samcheong-dong, where numerous small art galleries are located. Itaewon caters mainly to foreign tourists and American soldiers based in the city. The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul and is noted for the fashionable and upscale Apgujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong areas and the COEX Mall. Wholesale markets include Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market and Garak Market.

 

The Yongsan Electronics Market is the largest electronics market in Asia. Electronics markets are Gangbyeon station metro line 2 Techno mart, ENTER6 MALL & Shindorim station Technomart mall complex.

 

Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen.

 

KOREA WORLD TRADE CENTER COMPLEX which comprises COEX mall, congress center, 3 Inter-continental hotels, Business tower (Asem tower), Residence hotel,Casino and City airport terminal was established in 1988 Seoul Olympic . 2nd World trade trade center is planning at Seoul Olympic stadium complex as MICE HUB by Seoul city. Ex-Kepco head office building was purchased by Hyundai motor group with 9billion USD to build 115-storey Hyundai GBC & hotel complex until 2021. Now ex-kepco 25-storey building is under demolition.

 

ARCHITECTURE

The traditional heart of Seoul is the old Joseon Dynasty city, now the downtown area, where most palaces, government offices, corporate headquarters, hotels, and traditional markets are located. Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs from west to east through the valley before emptying into the Han River, was for many years covered with concrete, but was recently restored by an urban revival project in 2005. Jongno street, meaning "Bell Street," has been a principal street and one of the earliest commercial steets of the city, on which one can find Bosingak, a pavilion containing a large bell. The bell signaled the different times of the day and controlled the four major gates to the city. North of downtown is Bukhan Mountain, and to the south is the smaller Namsan. Further south are the old suburbs, Yongsan District and Mapo District. Across the Han River are the newer and wealthier areas of Gangnam District, Seocho District and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE

Seoul has many historical and cultural landmarks. In Amsa-dong Prehistoric Settlement Site, Gangdong District, neolithic remains were excavated and accidentally discovered by a flood in 1925.

 

Urban and civil planning was a key concept when Seoul was first designed to serve as a capital in the late 14th century. The Joseon Dynasty built the "Five Grand Palaces" in Seoul – Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung and Gyeonghuigung – all of which are located in the district of Jongno District and Jung District. Among them, Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as an "outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design". The main palace, Gyeongbokgung, underwent a large-scale restoration project. The palaces are considered exemplary architecture of the Joseon period. Beside the palaces, Unhyeongung is known for being the royal residence of Regent Daewongun, the father of Emperor Gojong at the end of the Joseon Dynasty.

 

Seoul has been surrounded by walls that were built to regulate visitors from other regions and protect the city in case of an invasion. Pungnap Toseong is a flat earthen wall built at the edge of the Han River which is widely believed to be the site of Wiryeseong. Mongchon Toseong (Hangul: 몽촌토성; Hanja: 蒙村土城) is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period which is now located inside the Olympic Park. The Fortress Wall of Seoul was built early in the Joseon Dynasty for protection of the city. After many centuries of destruction and rebuilding, approximately ⅔ of the wall remains, as well as six of the original eight gates. These gates include Sungnyemun and Heunginjimun, commonly known as Namdaemun (South Great Gate) and Dongdaemun (East Great Gate). Namdaemun was the oldest wooden gate until a 2008 arson attack, and was re-opened after complete restoration in 2013. Situated near the gates are the traditional markets and largest shopping center, Namdaemun Market and Dongdaemun Market.

 

There are also many buildings constructed with international styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Independence Gate was built in 1897 to inspire an independent spirit. Seoul Station was opened in 1900 as Gyeongseong Station.

 

MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Various high-rise office buildings and residential buildings, like the Gangnam Finance Center, the Tower Palace, N Seoul Tower and Jongno Tower, dominate the city's skyline. A series of new high rises are under construction, including the Lotte World Tower, scheduled to be completed by 2016. As of July 2016, and excluding the still unopened Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in the city is the 279-metre-high Three International Finance Center.

 

The World Trade Center Seoul, located in Gangnam District, hosts various expositions and conferences. Also in Gangnam District is the COEX Mall, a large indoor shopping and entertainment complex. Downstream from Gangnam District is Yeouido, an island that is home to the National Assembly, major broadcasting studios, and a number of large office buildings, as well as the Korea Finance Building and the Yoido Full Gospel Church. The Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, and Lotte World are located in Songpa District, on the south side of the Han River, upstream from Gangnam District. Two new modern landmarks of Seoul are Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the new wave-shaped Seoul City Hall, by Yoo Kerl of iArc.

 

In 2010 Seoul was designated the World Design Capital for the year.

 

CULTURE

TECHNOLOGY

Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure. It has the world's highest fibre-optic broadband penetration, resulting in the world's fastest internet connections with speeds up to 1 Gbps. Seoul provides free Wi-Fi access in outdoor spaces. This 47.7 billion won ($44 million) project will give residents and visitors Internet access at 10,430 parks, streets and other public places by 2015.

 

MUSEUMS

Seoul is home to 115 museums, including four national and nine official municipal museums. Amongst the city's national museum, The National Museum of Korea is the most representative of museums in not only Seoul but all of South Korea. Since its establishment in 1945, the museum has built a collection of 220,000 artifacts. In October 2005, the museum moved to a new building in Yongsan Family Park. The National Folk Museum is situated on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the district of Jongno District and uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate the folk history of the Korean people. The National Palace Museum of Korea is also located on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Finally, the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, whose main museum is located in Gwacheon, opened in 2013, in Sogyeok-dong.

 

Bukchon Hanok Village and Namsangol Hanok Village are old residential districts consisting of hanok Korean traditional houses, parks, and museums that allows visitors to experience traditional Korean culture.

 

The War Memorial, one of nine municipal museums in Seoul, offers visitors an educational and emotional experience of various wars in which Korea was involved, including Korean War themes. The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is currently used as a historic museum.The Seoul Museum of Art and Ilmin Museum of Art have preserved the appearance of the old building that is visually unique from the neighboring tall, modern buildings. The former is operated by Seoul City Council and sits adjacent to Gyeonghuigung Palace, a Joseon dynasty royal palace. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, is widely regarded as one of Seoul's largest private museum. For many Korean film lovers from all over the world, the Korean Film Archive is running the Korean Film Museum and Cinematheque KOFA in its main center located in Digital Media City (DMC), Sangam-dong. The Tteok & Kitchen Utensil Museum and Kimchi Field Museum provide information regarding Korean culinary history.

 

RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS

There are also religious buildings that take important roles in Korean society and politics. The Wongudan altar was a sacrificial place where Korean rulers held heavenly rituals since the Three Kingdoms period. Since the Joseon Dynasty adopted Confucianism as its national ideology in the 14th century, the state built many Confucian shrines. The descendants of the Joseon royal family still continue to hold ceremonies to commemorate ancestors at Jongmyo. It is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. Munmyo and Dongmyo were built during the same period. Although Buddhism was suppressed by the Joseon state, it has continued its existence. Jogyesa is the headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Hwagyesa and Bongeunsa are also major Buddhist temples in Seoul.

 

The Myeongdong Cathedral is a landmark of the Myeongdong, Jung District and the biggest Catholic church established in 1883. It is a symbol of Catholicism in Korea. It was also a focus for political dissent in the 1980s. In this way the Roman Catholic Church has a very strong influence in Korean society.

 

There are many Protestant churches in Seoul. The most numerous are Presbyterian, but there are also many Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran churches. Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church affiliated with the Assemblies of God on Yeouido in Seoul. With approximately 830,000 members (2007), it is the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in the world, which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

FESTIVALS

In October 2012 KBS Hall in Seoul hosted major international music festivals – First ABU TV and Radio Song Festivals within frameworks of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union 49th General Assembly. Hi! Seoul Festival is a seasonal cultural festival held four times a year every spring, summer, autumn, and winter in Seoul, South Korea since 2003. It is based on the "Seoul Citizens' Day" held on every October since 1994 to commemorate the 600 years history of Seoul as the capital of the country. The festival is arranged under the Seoul Metropolitan Government. As of 2012, Seoul has hosted Ultra Music Festival Korea, an annual dance music festival that takes place on the 2nd weekend of June.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Seoul features one of the world's most advanced transportation infrastructures that is constantly under expansion. Its system dates back to the era of the Korean Empire, when the first streetcar lines were laid and a railroad linking Seoul and Incheon was completed. Seoul's most important streetcar line ran along Jongno until it was replaced by Line 1 of the subway system in the early 1970s. Other notable streets in downtown Seoul include Euljiro, Teheranno, Sejongno, Chungmuro, Yulgongno, and Toegyero. There are nine major subway lines stretching for more than 250 km, with one additional line planned. As of 2010, 25% of the population has a commute time of an hour or more.

 

BUS

Seoul's bus system is operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (S.M.G.), with four primary bus configurations available servicing most of the city. Seoul has many large intercity/express bus terminals. These buses connect Seoul with cities throughout South Korea. The Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Central City Terminal and Seoul Nambu Terminal are located in the district of Seocho District. In addition, East Seoul Bus Terminal in Gwangjin District and Sangbong Terminal in Jungnang District operate in the east of the city.

 

SUBWAY

Seoul has a comprehensive urban railway network that interconnects every district of the city and the surrounding areas. With more than 8 million passengers per day, Seoul has one of the busiest subway systems in the world. The Seoul Metropolitan Subway has 19 total lines which serve Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi province, western Gangwon province, and northern Chungnam province. In addition, in order to cope with the various modes of transport, Seoul's metropolitan government employs several mathematicians to coordinate the subway, bus, and traffic schedules into one timetable. The various lines are run by Korail, Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, NeoTrans Co. Ltd., AREX, and Seoul Metro Line 9 Corporation.

 

TRAIN

Seoul is connected to every major city in South Korea by rail. Seoul is also linked to most major South Korean cities by the KTX high-speed train, which has a normal operation speed of more than 300 km/h. Major railroad stations include:

 

Seoul Station, Yongsan District: Gyeongbu line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa-ho), Gyeongui line (Saemaul/Commuter)

Yongsan Station, Yongsan District: Honam line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa), Jeolla/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Yeongdeungpo Station, Yeongdeungpo District: Gyeongbu/Honam/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Cheongnyangni Station, Dongdaemun District: Gyeongchun/Jungang/Yeongdong/Taebaek lines (Mugunghwa)

 

In addition, Suseo Station,in Gangnam District, is scheduled to open in late 2016, and offer KTX service on the newly built Suseo High Speed Railway.

 

AIRPORTS

Two international airports serve Seoul. Gimpo International Airport, formerly in Gimpo but annexed to Seoul in 1963, was for many years (since its original construction during the Korean War) the only international airport serving Seoul. Other domestic airports were also built around the time of the war, including Yeouido.

 

When it opened in March 2001, Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong island in Incheon changed the role of Gimpo Airport significantly. Incheon is now responsible for almost all international flights and some domestic flights, while Gimpo serves only domestic flights with the exception of flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Osaka Kansai International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, and Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing. This has led to a significant drop in flights from Gimpo Airport, though it remains one of South Korea's busiest airports.

 

Meanwhile, Incheon International Airport has become, along with Hong Kong, a major transportation center for East Asia.

 

Incheon and Gimpo are linked to Seoul by highways, and to each other by the Incheon International Airport Railroad, which is also linked to Incheon line #1. Gimpo is also linked by subway (line No. 5 and #9). The Incheon International Airport Railroad, connecting the airport directly to Seoul Station in central Seoul, was recently opened. Shuttle buses also transfer passengers between Incheon and Gimpo airports.

 

CYCLING

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Seoul and in the entire country. Both banks of the Han River have cycling paths that run all the way across the city along the river. In addition, Seoul introduced in 2015 a bicycle-sharing system named Ddareungi.

 

EDUCATION

UNICERSITIES

Seoul is home to the majority of South Korea's most prestigious universities, including Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, Sogang University, Hanyang University, Chung-Ang University, Ewha Womans University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Hongik University, Kyung Hee University, Soongsil University, Sookmyung Women's University, Korea Military Academy, and the University of Seoul.

 

SECONDARY EDUCATION

Education from grades 1–12 is compulsory. Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Secondary schools generally require that the students wear uniforms. There is an exit exam for graduating from high school and many students proceeding to the university level are required to take the College Scholastic Ability Test that is held every November. Although there is a test for non-high school graduates, called school qualification exam, most of Koreans take the test

 

Seoul is home to various specialized schools, including three science high schools (Hansung Science High School, Sejong Science High School and Seoul Science High School), and six foreign language High Schools (Daewon Foreign Language High School, Daeil Foreign Language High School, Ewha Girls' Foreign Language High School, Hanyoung Foreign Language High School, Myungduk Foreign Language High School and Seoul Foreign Language High School). Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education comprises 235 College-Preparatory High Schools, 80 Vocational Schools, 377 Middle Schools, and 33 Special Education Schools as of 2009.

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Seoul is a member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

 

WIKIPEDIA

無窮花號 (무궁화—Mugunghwa)

Mugunghwa leaving Onyang-Oncheon Station, Chungcheongnamdo, Korea

Seoul – officially the Seoul Special City – is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea), forming the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, the world's 16th largest city. It is home to over half of all South Koreans along with 678,102 international residents.

 

Situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than two thousand years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty. The Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, the world's most visited national park per square foot. Modern landmarks include the iconic N Seoul Tower, the gold-clad 63 Building, the neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, the world's second largest indoor theme park, Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world's longest bridge fountain and the Sevit Floating Islands. The birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received over 10 million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.

 

Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it to the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. In 2015, it was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis. A world leading technology hub centered on Gangnam and Digital Media City, the Seoul Capital Area boasts 15 Fortune Global 500 companies such as Samsung, the world's largest technology company, as well as LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2014, the city's GDP per capita (PPP) of $39,786 was comparable to that of France and Finland. Ranked sixth in the Global Power City Index and Global Financial Centres Index, the metropolis exerts a major influence in global affairs as one of the five leading hosts of global conferences.

 

Seoul is the world's most wired city and ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report. It is served by the KTX high-speed rail and the Seoul Subway, providing 4G LTE, WiFi and DMB inside subway cars. Seoul is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated the world's best airport nine years in a row (2005–2013) by Airports Council International. Lotte World Tower, a 556-metre supertall skyscraper with 123 floors, has been built in Seoul and become the OECD's tallest in 2016, with the world's tallest art gallery. Its Lotte Cinema houses the world's largest cinema screen. Seoul's COEX Mall is the world's largest underground shopping mall.

 

Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, the Miss Universe 1980 pageant, and the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. A UNESCO City of Design, Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The city has been known in the past by the names Wirye-seong (Hangul: 위례성; Hanja: 慰禮城, during the Baekje era), Hanju (Hangul: 한주; Hanja: 漢州, during the Silla era), Namgyeong (Hangul: 남경; Hanja: 南京, during the Goryeo era), Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城, during both the Baekje and Joseon eras), Hanyang (Hangul: 한양; Hanja: 漢陽, during the Joseon era), Gyeongseong (京城, during the colonial era).

 

During Japan's annexation in Korea, "Hanseong" (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城) was renamed to "Keijō" (京城, or Template:Korean 한국, Gyeongseong) by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja '漢', as it also refers to the Han Chinese. In reality, the ancient name of Seoul, Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城), originally had the meaning of "big" or "vast".

 

Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city," which is believed to be derived from the word Seorabeol (Hangul: 서라벌; Hanja: 徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla.

 

Unlike most place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding hanja (Chinese characters used in the Korean language). On January 18, 2005, Seoul government officially changed its official Chinese language name to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr) from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng), of which use is becoming less common.

 

HISTOY

Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, began around 4000 BC.

 

Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BC) in the northeastern Seoul area. There are several city walls remaining in the area that date from this time. Pungnaptoseong, an earthen wall just outside Seoul, is widely believed to have been at the main Wiryeseong site. As the Three Kingdoms competed for this strategic region, control passed from Baekje to Goguryeo in the 5th century, and from Goguryeo to Silla in the 6th century.

 

In the 11th century Goryeo, which succeeded Unified Silla, built a summer palace in Seoul, which was referred to as the "Southern Capital". It was only from this period that Seoul became a larger settlement. When Joseon replaced Goryeo, the capital was moved to Seoul (also known as Hanyang and later as Hanseong), where it remained until the fall of the dynasty. The Gyeongbok Palace, built in the 14th century, served as the royal residence until 1592. The other large palace, Changdeokgung, constructed in 1405, served as the main royal palace from 1611 to 1872.

 

Originally, the city was entirely surrounded by a massive circular stone wall to provide its citizens security from wild animals, thieves and attacks. The city has grown beyond those walls and although the wall no longer stands (except along Bugaksan Mountain (Hangul: 북악산; Hanja: 北岳山), north of the downtown area), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Heunginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun). During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells at the Bosingak belfry. In the late 19th century, after hundreds of years of isolation, Seoul opened its gates to foreigners and began to modernize. Seoul became the first city in East Asia to introduce electricity in the royal palace, built by the Edison Illuminating Company and a decade later Seoul also implemented electrical street lights.

 

Much of the development was due to trade with foreign countries like France and United States. For example, the Seoul Electric Company, Seoul Electric Trolley Company, and Seoul Fresh Spring Water Company were all joint Korean–American owned enterprises. In 1904, an American by the name of Angus Hamilton visited the city and said, "The streets of Seoul are magnificent, spacious, clean, admirably made and well-drained. The narrow, dirty lanes have been widened, gutters have been covered, roadways broadened. Seoul is within measurable distance of becoming the highest, most interesting and cleanest city in the East.

"After the annexation treaty in 1910, the Empire of Japan annexed Korea and renamed the city Gyeongseong ("Kyongsong" in Korean and "Keijo" in Japanese). Japanese technology was imported, the city walls were removed, some of the gates demolished. Roads became paved and Western-style buildings were constructed. The city was liberated at the end of World War II.

 

In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul, and was designated as a special city in 1949.

 

During the Korean War, Seoul changed hands between the Russian/Chinese-backed North Korean forces and the American-backed South Korean forces several times, leaving the city heavily damaged after the war. The capital was temporarily relocated to Busan. One estimate of the extensive damage states that after the war, at least 191,000 buildings, 55,000 houses, and 1,000 factories lay in ruins. In addition, a flood of refugees had entered Seoul during the war, swelling the population of the city and its metropolitan area to an estimated 1.5 million by 1955.

 

Following the war, Seoul began to focus on reconstruction and modernization. As Korea's economy started to grow rapidly from the 1960s, urbanization also accelerated and workers began to move to Seoul and other larger cities. From the 1970s, the size of Seoul administrative area greatly expanded as it annexed a number of towns and villages from several surrounding counties.

 

According to 2012 census data, the population of the Seoul area makes up around 20% of the total population of South Korea, Seoul has become the economic, political and cultural hub of the country, with several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, SK Holdings, Hyundai, POSCO and LG Group headquartered there.

 

Seoul was the host city of the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics as well as one of the venues of the Football World Cup 2002.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Seoul is in the northwest of South Korea. Seoul proper comprises 605.25 km2, with a radius of approximately 15 km, roughly bisected into northern and southern halves by the Han River. The Han River and its surrounding area played an important role in Korean history. The Three Kingdoms of Korea strove to take control of this land, where the river was used as a trade route to China (via the Yellow Sea). The river is no longer actively used for navigation, because its estuary is located at the borders of the two Koreas, with civilian entry barred. Historically, the city was during the Joseon Dynasty bounded by the Seoul Fortress Wall, which stretched between the four main mountains in central Seoul: Namsan, Naksan, Bukaksan and Inwangsan. The city is bordered by eight mountains, as well as the more level lands of the Han River plain and western areas. Due to its geography and to economic development policies, Seoul is a very polycentric city. The area that was the old capital in the Joseon Dynasty, and mostly comprises Jongno District and Jung District, constitutes the historical and political center of the city. However, for example, the city's financial capital is widely considered to be in Yeouido, while its economic capital is Gangnam District.

 

CLIMATE

Seoul is either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), using the −3 °C isotherm of the original Köppen scheme, or a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), using the 0 °C isotherm preferred by some climatologists. Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until September. August, the warmest month, has average high and low temperatures of 29.6 and 22.4 °C with higher temperatures possible. Winters are often cold to freezing with average January high and low temperatures of 1.5 and −5.9 °C and are generally much drier than summers, with an average of 28 days of snow annually. Sometimes, temperatures do drop dramatically to below −10.0 °C, in odd occasions rarely as low as −15.0 °C in the mid winter period between January and February.

  

ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTS

Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Hangul: 구; Hanja: 區) (district). The gu vary greatly in area (from 10 to 47 km2) and population (from fewer than 140,000 to 630,000). Songpa has the most people, while Seocho has the largest area. The government of each gu handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions. Each gu is divided into "dong" (Hangul: 동; Hanja: 洞) or neighbourhoods. Some gu have only a few dong while others like Jongno District have a very large number of distinct neighbourhoods. Gu of Seoul consist of 423 administrative dongs (Hangul: 행정동) in total. Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (Hangul: 통; Hanja: 統), which are further divided into 102,796 ban in total.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Seoul proper is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York and eight times greater than Rome. Its metropolitan area was the most densely populated in the OECD in Asia in 2012, and second worldwide after that of Paris. As of December 2013, the population was 10.14 million, in 2012, it was 10,442,426. As of the end of June 2011, 10.29 million Republic of Korea citizens lived in the city. This was a 24% decrease from the end of 2010. The population of Seoul has been dropping since the early 1990s, the reasons being the high costs of living and an aging population.

 

The number of foreigners living in Seoul is 255,501 in 2010 according to Seoul officials.[58] As of June 2011, 281,780 foreigners were located in Seoul. Of them, 186,631 foreigners (66%) were Chinese citizens of Korean ancestry. This was an 8.84% increase from the end of 2010 and a 12.85% increase from June 2010. The next largest group was Chinese citizens who are not of Korean ethnicity; 29,901 of them resided in Seoul. The next highest group consisted of the 9,999 United States citizens who were not of Korean ancestry. The next highest group were the Republic of China (Taiwan) citizens, at 8,717.

 

The two major religions in Seoul are Christianity and Buddhism. Other religions include Muism (indigenous religion) and Confucianism. Seoul is home to one of the world's largest Christians congregations, Yoido Full Gospel Church , which has around 830,000 members. Seoul is home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University. Other Christian faiths like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) maintains a presence in the city.

 

ECONOMY

Seoul is the business and financial hub of South Korea. Although it accounts for only 0.6 percent of the nation's land area, 48.3 percent of South Korea's bank deposits were held in Seoul in 2003, and the city generated 23 percent of the country's GDP overall in 2012. In 2008 the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index ranked Seoul No.9. The Global Financial Centres Index in 2015 listed Seoul as the 6th financially most competitive city in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Seoul 15th in the list of "Overall 2025 City Competitiveness" regarding future competitiveness of cities.

 

MANUFACTURING

The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries; however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries. Major manufacturers are headquartered in the city, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Kia and SK. Notable food and beverage companies include Jinro, whose soju is the most sold alcoholic drink in the world, beating out Smirnoff vodka; top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery. It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Dairy, Namyang dairy and Lotte.

 

FINANCE

Seoul hosts large concentration of headquarters of International companies and banks, including 15 companies on fortune 500 list such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island), which is often called "Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s. The Seoul international finance center & SIFC MALL, Hanhwa 63 building, the Hanhwa insurance company head office. Hanhwa is one of the three largest Korean insurance companies, along with Samsung Life and Gangnam & Kyob life insurance group.

 

COMMERCE

The largest wholesale and retail market in South Korea, the Dongdaemun Market, is located in Seoul. Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul.

 

Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold. Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products. Some shops for local designers have opened in Samcheong-dong, where numerous small art galleries are located. Itaewon caters mainly to foreign tourists and American soldiers based in the city. The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul and is noted for the fashionable and upscale Apgujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong areas and the COEX Mall. Wholesale markets include Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market and Garak Market.

 

The Yongsan Electronics Market is the largest electronics market in Asia. Electronics markets are Gangbyeon station metro line 2 Techno mart, ENTER6 MALL & Shindorim station Technomart mall complex.

 

Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen.

 

KOREA WORLD TRADE CENTER COMPLEX which comprises COEX mall, congress center, 3 Inter-continental hotels, Business tower (Asem tower), Residence hotel,Casino and City airport terminal was established in 1988 Seoul Olympic . 2nd World trade trade center is planning at Seoul Olympic stadium complex as MICE HUB by Seoul city. Ex-Kepco head office building was purchased by Hyundai motor group with 9billion USD to build 115-storey Hyundai GBC & hotel complex until 2021. Now ex-kepco 25-storey building is under demolition.

 

ARCHITECTURE

The traditional heart of Seoul is the old Joseon Dynasty city, now the downtown area, where most palaces, government offices, corporate headquarters, hotels, and traditional markets are located. Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs from west to east through the valley before emptying into the Han River, was for many years covered with concrete, but was recently restored by an urban revival project in 2005. Jongno street, meaning "Bell Street," has been a principal street and one of the earliest commercial steets of the city, on which one can find Bosingak, a pavilion containing a large bell. The bell signaled the different times of the day and controlled the four major gates to the city. North of downtown is Bukhan Mountain, and to the south is the smaller Namsan. Further south are the old suburbs, Yongsan District and Mapo District. Across the Han River are the newer and wealthier areas of Gangnam District, Seocho District and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE

Seoul has many historical and cultural landmarks. In Amsa-dong Prehistoric Settlement Site, Gangdong District, neolithic remains were excavated and accidentally discovered by a flood in 1925.

 

Urban and civil planning was a key concept when Seoul was first designed to serve as a capital in the late 14th century. The Joseon Dynasty built the "Five Grand Palaces" in Seoul – Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung and Gyeonghuigung – all of which are located in the district of Jongno District and Jung District. Among them, Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as an "outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design". The main palace, Gyeongbokgung, underwent a large-scale restoration project. The palaces are considered exemplary architecture of the Joseon period. Beside the palaces, Unhyeongung is known for being the royal residence of Regent Daewongun, the father of Emperor Gojong at the end of the Joseon Dynasty.

 

Seoul has been surrounded by walls that were built to regulate visitors from other regions and protect the city in case of an invasion. Pungnap Toseong is a flat earthen wall built at the edge of the Han River which is widely believed to be the site of Wiryeseong. Mongchon Toseong (Hangul: 몽촌토성; Hanja: 蒙村土城) is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period which is now located inside the Olympic Park. The Fortress Wall of Seoul was built early in the Joseon Dynasty for protection of the city. After many centuries of destruction and rebuilding, approximately ⅔ of the wall remains, as well as six of the original eight gates. These gates include Sungnyemun and Heunginjimun, commonly known as Namdaemun (South Great Gate) and Dongdaemun (East Great Gate). Namdaemun was the oldest wooden gate until a 2008 arson attack, and was re-opened after complete restoration in 2013. Situated near the gates are the traditional markets and largest shopping center, Namdaemun Market and Dongdaemun Market.

 

There are also many buildings constructed with international styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Independence Gate was built in 1897 to inspire an independent spirit. Seoul Station was opened in 1900 as Gyeongseong Station.

 

MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Various high-rise office buildings and residential buildings, like the Gangnam Finance Center, the Tower Palace, N Seoul Tower and Jongno Tower, dominate the city's skyline. A series of new high rises are under construction, including the Lotte World Tower, scheduled to be completed by 2016. As of July 2016, and excluding the still unopened Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in the city is the 279-metre-high Three International Finance Center.

 

The World Trade Center Seoul, located in Gangnam District, hosts various expositions and conferences. Also in Gangnam District is the COEX Mall, a large indoor shopping and entertainment complex. Downstream from Gangnam District is Yeouido, an island that is home to the National Assembly, major broadcasting studios, and a number of large office buildings, as well as the Korea Finance Building and the Yoido Full Gospel Church. The Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, and Lotte World are located in Songpa District, on the south side of the Han River, upstream from Gangnam District. Two new modern landmarks of Seoul are Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the new wave-shaped Seoul City Hall, by Yoo Kerl of iArc.

 

In 2010 Seoul was designated the World Design Capital for the year.

 

CULTURE

TECHNOLOGY

Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure. It has the world's highest fibre-optic broadband penetration, resulting in the world's fastest internet connections with speeds up to 1 Gbps. Seoul provides free Wi-Fi access in outdoor spaces. This 47.7 billion won ($44 million) project will give residents and visitors Internet access at 10,430 parks, streets and other public places by 2015.

 

MUSEUMS

Seoul is home to 115 museums, including four national and nine official municipal museums. Amongst the city's national museum, The National Museum of Korea is the most representative of museums in not only Seoul but all of South Korea. Since its establishment in 1945, the museum has built a collection of 220,000 artifacts. In October 2005, the museum moved to a new building in Yongsan Family Park. The National Folk Museum is situated on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the district of Jongno District and uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate the folk history of the Korean people. The National Palace Museum of Korea is also located on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Finally, the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, whose main museum is located in Gwacheon, opened in 2013, in Sogyeok-dong.

 

Bukchon Hanok Village and Namsangol Hanok Village are old residential districts consisting of hanok Korean traditional houses, parks, and museums that allows visitors to experience traditional Korean culture.

 

The War Memorial, one of nine municipal museums in Seoul, offers visitors an educational and emotional experience of various wars in which Korea was involved, including Korean War themes. The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is currently used as a historic museum.The Seoul Museum of Art and Ilmin Museum of Art have preserved the appearance of the old building that is visually unique from the neighboring tall, modern buildings. The former is operated by Seoul City Council and sits adjacent to Gyeonghuigung Palace, a Joseon dynasty royal palace. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, is widely regarded as one of Seoul's largest private museum. For many Korean film lovers from all over the world, the Korean Film Archive is running the Korean Film Museum and Cinematheque KOFA in its main center located in Digital Media City (DMC), Sangam-dong. The Tteok & Kitchen Utensil Museum and Kimchi Field Museum provide information regarding Korean culinary history.

 

RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS

There are also religious buildings that take important roles in Korean society and politics. The Wongudan altar was a sacrificial place where Korean rulers held heavenly rituals since the Three Kingdoms period. Since the Joseon Dynasty adopted Confucianism as its national ideology in the 14th century, the state built many Confucian shrines. The descendants of the Joseon royal family still continue to hold ceremonies to commemorate ancestors at Jongmyo. It is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. Munmyo and Dongmyo were built during the same period. Although Buddhism was suppressed by the Joseon state, it has continued its existence. Jogyesa is the headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Hwagyesa and Bongeunsa are also major Buddhist temples in Seoul.

 

The Myeongdong Cathedral is a landmark of the Myeongdong, Jung District and the biggest Catholic church established in 1883. It is a symbol of Catholicism in Korea. It was also a focus for political dissent in the 1980s. In this way the Roman Catholic Church has a very strong influence in Korean society.

 

There are many Protestant churches in Seoul. The most numerous are Presbyterian, but there are also many Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran churches. Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church affiliated with the Assemblies of God on Yeouido in Seoul. With approximately 830,000 members (2007), it is the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in the world, which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

FESTIVALS

In October 2012 KBS Hall in Seoul hosted major international music festivals – First ABU TV and Radio Song Festivals within frameworks of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union 49th General Assembly. Hi! Seoul Festival is a seasonal cultural festival held four times a year every spring, summer, autumn, and winter in Seoul, South Korea since 2003. It is based on the "Seoul Citizens' Day" held on every October since 1994 to commemorate the 600 years history of Seoul as the capital of the country. The festival is arranged under the Seoul Metropolitan Government. As of 2012, Seoul has hosted Ultra Music Festival Korea, an annual dance music festival that takes place on the 2nd weekend of June.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Seoul features one of the world's most advanced transportation infrastructures that is constantly under expansion. Its system dates back to the era of the Korean Empire, when the first streetcar lines were laid and a railroad linking Seoul and Incheon was completed. Seoul's most important streetcar line ran along Jongno until it was replaced by Line 1 of the subway system in the early 1970s. Other notable streets in downtown Seoul include Euljiro, Teheranno, Sejongno, Chungmuro, Yulgongno, and Toegyero. There are nine major subway lines stretching for more than 250 km, with one additional line planned. As of 2010, 25% of the population has a commute time of an hour or more.

 

BUS

Seoul's bus system is operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (S.M.G.), with four primary bus configurations available servicing most of the city. Seoul has many large intercity/express bus terminals. These buses connect Seoul with cities throughout South Korea. The Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Central City Terminal and Seoul Nambu Terminal are located in the district of Seocho District. In addition, East Seoul Bus Terminal in Gwangjin District and Sangbong Terminal in Jungnang District operate in the east of the city.

 

SUBWAY

Seoul has a comprehensive urban railway network that interconnects every district of the city and the surrounding areas. With more than 8 million passengers per day, Seoul has one of the busiest subway systems in the world. The Seoul Metropolitan Subway has 19 total lines which serve Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi province, western Gangwon province, and northern Chungnam province. In addition, in order to cope with the various modes of transport, Seoul's metropolitan government employs several mathematicians to coordinate the subway, bus, and traffic schedules into one timetable. The various lines are run by Korail, Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, NeoTrans Co. Ltd., AREX, and Seoul Metro Line 9 Corporation.

 

TRAIN

Seoul is connected to every major city in South Korea by rail. Seoul is also linked to most major South Korean cities by the KTX high-speed train, which has a normal operation speed of more than 300 km/h. Major railroad stations include:

 

Seoul Station, Yongsan District: Gyeongbu line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa-ho), Gyeongui line (Saemaul/Commuter)

Yongsan Station, Yongsan District: Honam line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa), Jeolla/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Yeongdeungpo Station, Yeongdeungpo District: Gyeongbu/Honam/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Cheongnyangni Station, Dongdaemun District: Gyeongchun/Jungang/Yeongdong/Taebaek lines (Mugunghwa)

 

In addition, Suseo Station,in Gangnam District, is scheduled to open in late 2016, and offer KTX service on the newly built Suseo High Speed Railway.

 

AIRPORTS

Two international airports serve Seoul. Gimpo International Airport, formerly in Gimpo but annexed to Seoul in 1963, was for many years (since its original construction during the Korean War) the only international airport serving Seoul. Other domestic airports were also built around the time of the war, including Yeouido.

 

When it opened in March 2001, Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong island in Incheon changed the role of Gimpo Airport significantly. Incheon is now responsible for almost all international flights and some domestic flights, while Gimpo serves only domestic flights with the exception of flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Osaka Kansai International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, and Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing. This has led to a significant drop in flights from Gimpo Airport, though it remains one of South Korea's busiest airports.

 

Meanwhile, Incheon International Airport has become, along with Hong Kong, a major transportation center for East Asia.

 

Incheon and Gimpo are linked to Seoul by highways, and to each other by the Incheon International Airport Railroad, which is also linked to Incheon line #1. Gimpo is also linked by subway (line No. 5 and #9). The Incheon International Airport Railroad, connecting the airport directly to Seoul Station in central Seoul, was recently opened. Shuttle buses also transfer passengers between Incheon and Gimpo airports.

 

CYCLING

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Seoul and in the entire country. Both banks of the Han River have cycling paths that run all the way across the city along the river. In addition, Seoul introduced in 2015 a bicycle-sharing system named Ddareungi.

 

EDUCATION

UNICERSITIES

Seoul is home to the majority of South Korea's most prestigious universities, including Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, Sogang University, Hanyang University, Chung-Ang University, Ewha Womans University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Hongik University, Kyung Hee University, Soongsil University, Sookmyung Women's University, Korea Military Academy, and the University of Seoul.

 

SECONDARY EDUCATION

Education from grades 1–12 is compulsory. Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Secondary schools generally require that the students wear uniforms. There is an exit exam for graduating from high school and many students proceeding to the university level are required to take the College Scholastic Ability Test that is held every November. Although there is a test for non-high school graduates, called school qualification exam, most of Koreans take the test

 

Seoul is home to various specialized schools, including three science high schools (Hansung Science High School, Sejong Science High School and Seoul Science High School), and six foreign language High Schools (Daewon Foreign Language High School, Daeil Foreign Language High School, Ewha Girls' Foreign Language High School, Hanyoung Foreign Language High School, Myungduk Foreign Language High School and Seoul Foreign Language High School). Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education comprises 235 College-Preparatory High Schools, 80 Vocational Schools, 377 Middle Schools, and 33 Special Education Schools as of 2009.

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Seoul is a member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

 

WIKIPEDIA

1. Photograph Title: Mugunghwa

2. Location of Photograph: Seoul Tower in Seoul, Korea

3. Brief Description of the Photo: Korean cultural architecture implements vibrant colors, specifically green, red, and yellow, to aesthetically beautify temples.

 

Mugunghwa Train approaching slowley, Seosomun Crossing

Mugunghwa leaving Onyang-Oncheon Station, Chungcheongnamdo, Korea

Hibiscus syriacus , the common garden Hibiscus, is called Rose of Sharon in North America, a name also applied to other plants. It is a flowering shrub in the plant family Malvaceae native to much of Asia. It is vase-shaped, reaching 2-4 m in height. It is also known as "Rose of Althea" and is widely planted in areas with hot summers for its very attractive white, pink, red, lavender, or purple edible flowers. It is very strong.; if cut and put in a vase, it will survive for a longer period of time than many other plants.

Hibiscus syriacus is the national flower of South Korea. The flower appears in national emblems, and Korea is compared poetically to the flower in the South Korean national anthem.The flower's name in Korean is mugunghwa . The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning "immortality".

 

Le specie più utilizzate come piante ornamentali sono le numerose varietà di Hibiscus syriacus, rustiche e resistenti al freddo, a foglie decidue, fioritura estiva con fiori colorati di bianco, rosa, viola e lilla, coltivate anche ad alberello molto comuni lungo le strade cittadine e nei parchi pubblici.

 

Font : Wikipedia

Seoul – officially the Seoul Special City – is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea), forming the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, the world's 16th largest city. It is home to over half of all South Koreans along with 678,102 international residents.

 

Situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than two thousand years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty. The Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, the world's most visited national park per square foot. Modern landmarks include the iconic N Seoul Tower, the gold-clad 63 Building, the neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, the world's second largest indoor theme park, Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world's longest bridge fountain and the Sevit Floating Islands. The birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received over 10 million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.

 

Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it to the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. In 2015, it was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis. A world leading technology hub centered on Gangnam and Digital Media City, the Seoul Capital Area boasts 15 Fortune Global 500 companies such as Samsung, the world's largest technology company, as well as LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2014, the city's GDP per capita (PPP) of $39,786 was comparable to that of France and Finland. Ranked sixth in the Global Power City Index and Global Financial Centres Index, the metropolis exerts a major influence in global affairs as one of the five leading hosts of global conferences.

 

Seoul is the world's most wired city and ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report. It is served by the KTX high-speed rail and the Seoul Subway, providing 4G LTE, WiFi and DMB inside subway cars. Seoul is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated the world's best airport nine years in a row (2005–2013) by Airports Council International. Lotte World Tower, a 556-metre supertall skyscraper with 123 floors, has been built in Seoul and become the OECD's tallest in 2016, with the world's tallest art gallery. Its Lotte Cinema houses the world's largest cinema screen. Seoul's COEX Mall is the world's largest underground shopping mall.

 

Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, the Miss Universe 1980 pageant, and the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. A UNESCO City of Design, Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The city has been known in the past by the names Wirye-seong (Hangul: 위례성; Hanja: 慰禮城, during the Baekje era), Hanju (Hangul: 한주; Hanja: 漢州, during the Silla era), Namgyeong (Hangul: 남경; Hanja: 南京, during the Goryeo era), Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城, during both the Baekje and Joseon eras), Hanyang (Hangul: 한양; Hanja: 漢陽, during the Joseon era), Gyeongseong (京城, during the colonial era).

 

During Japan's annexation in Korea, "Hanseong" (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城) was renamed to "Keijō" (京城, or Template:Korean 한국, Gyeongseong) by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja '漢', as it also refers to the Han Chinese. In reality, the ancient name of Seoul, Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城), originally had the meaning of "big" or "vast".

 

Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city," which is believed to be derived from the word Seorabeol (Hangul: 서라벌; Hanja: 徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla.

 

Unlike most place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding hanja (Chinese characters used in the Korean language). On January 18, 2005, Seoul government officially changed its official Chinese language name to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr) from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng), of which use is becoming less common.

 

HISTOY

Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, began around 4000 BC.

 

Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BC) in the northeastern Seoul area. There are several city walls remaining in the area that date from this time. Pungnaptoseong, an earthen wall just outside Seoul, is widely believed to have been at the main Wiryeseong site. As the Three Kingdoms competed for this strategic region, control passed from Baekje to Goguryeo in the 5th century, and from Goguryeo to Silla in the 6th century.

 

In the 11th century Goryeo, which succeeded Unified Silla, built a summer palace in Seoul, which was referred to as the "Southern Capital". It was only from this period that Seoul became a larger settlement. When Joseon replaced Goryeo, the capital was moved to Seoul (also known as Hanyang and later as Hanseong), where it remained until the fall of the dynasty. The Gyeongbok Palace, built in the 14th century, served as the royal residence until 1592. The other large palace, Changdeokgung, constructed in 1405, served as the main royal palace from 1611 to 1872.

 

Originally, the city was entirely surrounded by a massive circular stone wall to provide its citizens security from wild animals, thieves and attacks. The city has grown beyond those walls and although the wall no longer stands (except along Bugaksan Mountain (Hangul: 북악산; Hanja: 北岳山), north of the downtown area), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Heunginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun). During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells at the Bosingak belfry. In the late 19th century, after hundreds of years of isolation, Seoul opened its gates to foreigners and began to modernize. Seoul became the first city in East Asia to introduce electricity in the royal palace, built by the Edison Illuminating Company and a decade later Seoul also implemented electrical street lights.

 

Much of the development was due to trade with foreign countries like France and United States. For example, the Seoul Electric Company, Seoul Electric Trolley Company, and Seoul Fresh Spring Water Company were all joint Korean–American owned enterprises. In 1904, an American by the name of Angus Hamilton visited the city and said, "The streets of Seoul are magnificent, spacious, clean, admirably made and well-drained. The narrow, dirty lanes have been widened, gutters have been covered, roadways broadened. Seoul is within measurable distance of becoming the highest, most interesting and cleanest city in the East.

"After the annexation treaty in 1910, the Empire of Japan annexed Korea and renamed the city Gyeongseong ("Kyongsong" in Korean and "Keijo" in Japanese). Japanese technology was imported, the city walls were removed, some of the gates demolished. Roads became paved and Western-style buildings were constructed. The city was liberated at the end of World War II.

 

In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul, and was designated as a special city in 1949.

 

During the Korean War, Seoul changed hands between the Russian/Chinese-backed North Korean forces and the American-backed South Korean forces several times, leaving the city heavily damaged after the war. The capital was temporarily relocated to Busan. One estimate of the extensive damage states that after the war, at least 191,000 buildings, 55,000 houses, and 1,000 factories lay in ruins. In addition, a flood of refugees had entered Seoul during the war, swelling the population of the city and its metropolitan area to an estimated 1.5 million by 1955.

 

Following the war, Seoul began to focus on reconstruction and modernization. As Korea's economy started to grow rapidly from the 1960s, urbanization also accelerated and workers began to move to Seoul and other larger cities. From the 1970s, the size of Seoul administrative area greatly expanded as it annexed a number of towns and villages from several surrounding counties.

 

According to 2012 census data, the population of the Seoul area makes up around 20% of the total population of South Korea, Seoul has become the economic, political and cultural hub of the country, with several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, SK Holdings, Hyundai, POSCO and LG Group headquartered there.

 

Seoul was the host city of the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics as well as one of the venues of the Football World Cup 2002.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Seoul is in the northwest of South Korea. Seoul proper comprises 605.25 km2, with a radius of approximately 15 km, roughly bisected into northern and southern halves by the Han River. The Han River and its surrounding area played an important role in Korean history. The Three Kingdoms of Korea strove to take control of this land, where the river was used as a trade route to China (via the Yellow Sea). The river is no longer actively used for navigation, because its estuary is located at the borders of the two Koreas, with civilian entry barred. Historically, the city was during the Joseon Dynasty bounded by the Seoul Fortress Wall, which stretched between the four main mountains in central Seoul: Namsan, Naksan, Bukaksan and Inwangsan. The city is bordered by eight mountains, as well as the more level lands of the Han River plain and western areas. Due to its geography and to economic development policies, Seoul is a very polycentric city. The area that was the old capital in the Joseon Dynasty, and mostly comprises Jongno District and Jung District, constitutes the historical and political center of the city. However, for example, the city's financial capital is widely considered to be in Yeouido, while its economic capital is Gangnam District.

 

CLIMATE

Seoul is either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), using the −3 °C isotherm of the original Köppen scheme, or a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), using the 0 °C isotherm preferred by some climatologists. Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until September. August, the warmest month, has average high and low temperatures of 29.6 and 22.4 °C with higher temperatures possible. Winters are often cold to freezing with average January high and low temperatures of 1.5 and −5.9 °C and are generally much drier than summers, with an average of 28 days of snow annually. Sometimes, temperatures do drop dramatically to below −10.0 °C, in odd occasions rarely as low as −15.0 °C in the mid winter period between January and February.

  

ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTS

Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Hangul: 구; Hanja: 區) (district). The gu vary greatly in area (from 10 to 47 km2) and population (from fewer than 140,000 to 630,000). Songpa has the most people, while Seocho has the largest area. The government of each gu handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions. Each gu is divided into "dong" (Hangul: 동; Hanja: 洞) or neighbourhoods. Some gu have only a few dong while others like Jongno District have a very large number of distinct neighbourhoods. Gu of Seoul consist of 423 administrative dongs (Hangul: 행정동) in total. Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (Hangul: 통; Hanja: 統), which are further divided into 102,796 ban in total.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Seoul proper is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York and eight times greater than Rome. Its metropolitan area was the most densely populated in the OECD in Asia in 2012, and second worldwide after that of Paris. As of December 2013, the population was 10.14 million, in 2012, it was 10,442,426. As of the end of June 2011, 10.29 million Republic of Korea citizens lived in the city. This was a 24% decrease from the end of 2010. The population of Seoul has been dropping since the early 1990s, the reasons being the high costs of living and an aging population.

 

The number of foreigners living in Seoul is 255,501 in 2010 according to Seoul officials.[58] As of June 2011, 281,780 foreigners were located in Seoul. Of them, 186,631 foreigners (66%) were Chinese citizens of Korean ancestry. This was an 8.84% increase from the end of 2010 and a 12.85% increase from June 2010. The next largest group was Chinese citizens who are not of Korean ethnicity; 29,901 of them resided in Seoul. The next highest group consisted of the 9,999 United States citizens who were not of Korean ancestry. The next highest group were the Republic of China (Taiwan) citizens, at 8,717.

 

The two major religions in Seoul are Christianity and Buddhism. Other religions include Muism (indigenous religion) and Confucianism. Seoul is home to one of the world's largest Christians congregations, Yoido Full Gospel Church , which has around 830,000 members. Seoul is home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University. Other Christian faiths like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) maintains a presence in the city.

 

ECONOMY

Seoul is the business and financial hub of South Korea. Although it accounts for only 0.6 percent of the nation's land area, 48.3 percent of South Korea's bank deposits were held in Seoul in 2003, and the city generated 23 percent of the country's GDP overall in 2012. In 2008 the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index ranked Seoul No.9. The Global Financial Centres Index in 2015 listed Seoul as the 6th financially most competitive city in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Seoul 15th in the list of "Overall 2025 City Competitiveness" regarding future competitiveness of cities.

 

MANUFACTURING

The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries; however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries. Major manufacturers are headquartered in the city, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Kia and SK. Notable food and beverage companies include Jinro, whose soju is the most sold alcoholic drink in the world, beating out Smirnoff vodka; top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery. It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Dairy, Namyang dairy and Lotte.

 

FINANCE

Seoul hosts large concentration of headquarters of International companies and banks, including 15 companies on fortune 500 list such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island), which is often called "Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s. The Seoul international finance center & SIFC MALL, Hanhwa 63 building, the Hanhwa insurance company head office. Hanhwa is one of the three largest Korean insurance companies, along with Samsung Life and Gangnam & Kyob life insurance group.

 

COMMERCE

The largest wholesale and retail market in South Korea, the Dongdaemun Market, is located in Seoul. Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul.

 

Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold. Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products. Some shops for local designers have opened in Samcheong-dong, where numerous small art galleries are located. Itaewon caters mainly to foreign tourists and American soldiers based in the city. The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul and is noted for the fashionable and upscale Apgujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong areas and the COEX Mall. Wholesale markets include Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market and Garak Market.

 

The Yongsan Electronics Market is the largest electronics market in Asia. Electronics markets are Gangbyeon station metro line 2 Techno mart, ENTER6 MALL & Shindorim station Technomart mall complex.

 

Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen.

 

KOREA WORLD TRADE CENTER COMPLEX which comprises COEX mall, congress center, 3 Inter-continental hotels, Business tower (Asem tower), Residence hotel,Casino and City airport terminal was established in 1988 Seoul Olympic . 2nd World trade trade center is planning at Seoul Olympic stadium complex as MICE HUB by Seoul city. Ex-Kepco head office building was purchased by Hyundai motor group with 9billion USD to build 115-storey Hyundai GBC & hotel complex until 2021. Now ex-kepco 25-storey building is under demolition.

 

ARCHITECTURE

The traditional heart of Seoul is the old Joseon Dynasty city, now the downtown area, where most palaces, government offices, corporate headquarters, hotels, and traditional markets are located. Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs from west to east through the valley before emptying into the Han River, was for many years covered with concrete, but was recently restored by an urban revival project in 2005. Jongno street, meaning "Bell Street," has been a principal street and one of the earliest commercial steets of the city, on which one can find Bosingak, a pavilion containing a large bell. The bell signaled the different times of the day and controlled the four major gates to the city. North of downtown is Bukhan Mountain, and to the south is the smaller Namsan. Further south are the old suburbs, Yongsan District and Mapo District. Across the Han River are the newer and wealthier areas of Gangnam District, Seocho District and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE

Seoul has many historical and cultural landmarks. In Amsa-dong Prehistoric Settlement Site, Gangdong District, neolithic remains were excavated and accidentally discovered by a flood in 1925.

 

Urban and civil planning was a key concept when Seoul was first designed to serve as a capital in the late 14th century. The Joseon Dynasty built the "Five Grand Palaces" in Seoul – Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung and Gyeonghuigung – all of which are located in the district of Jongno District and Jung District. Among them, Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as an "outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design". The main palace, Gyeongbokgung, underwent a large-scale restoration project. The palaces are considered exemplary architecture of the Joseon period. Beside the palaces, Unhyeongung is known for being the royal residence of Regent Daewongun, the father of Emperor Gojong at the end of the Joseon Dynasty.

 

Seoul has been surrounded by walls that were built to regulate visitors from other regions and protect the city in case of an invasion. Pungnap Toseong is a flat earthen wall built at the edge of the Han River which is widely believed to be the site of Wiryeseong. Mongchon Toseong (Hangul: 몽촌토성; Hanja: 蒙村土城) is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period which is now located inside the Olympic Park. The Fortress Wall of Seoul was built early in the Joseon Dynasty for protection of the city. After many centuries of destruction and rebuilding, approximately ⅔ of the wall remains, as well as six of the original eight gates. These gates include Sungnyemun and Heunginjimun, commonly known as Namdaemun (South Great Gate) and Dongdaemun (East Great Gate). Namdaemun was the oldest wooden gate until a 2008 arson attack, and was re-opened after complete restoration in 2013. Situated near the gates are the traditional markets and largest shopping center, Namdaemun Market and Dongdaemun Market.

 

There are also many buildings constructed with international styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Independence Gate was built in 1897 to inspire an independent spirit. Seoul Station was opened in 1900 as Gyeongseong Station.

 

MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Various high-rise office buildings and residential buildings, like the Gangnam Finance Center, the Tower Palace, N Seoul Tower and Jongno Tower, dominate the city's skyline. A series of new high rises are under construction, including the Lotte World Tower, scheduled to be completed by 2016. As of July 2016, and excluding the still unopened Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in the city is the 279-metre-high Three International Finance Center.

 

The World Trade Center Seoul, located in Gangnam District, hosts various expositions and conferences. Also in Gangnam District is the COEX Mall, a large indoor shopping and entertainment complex. Downstream from Gangnam District is Yeouido, an island that is home to the National Assembly, major broadcasting studios, and a number of large office buildings, as well as the Korea Finance Building and the Yoido Full Gospel Church. The Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, and Lotte World are located in Songpa District, on the south side of the Han River, upstream from Gangnam District. Two new modern landmarks of Seoul are Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the new wave-shaped Seoul City Hall, by Yoo Kerl of iArc.

 

In 2010 Seoul was designated the World Design Capital for the year.

 

CULTURE

TECHNOLOGY

Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure. It has the world's highest fibre-optic broadband penetration, resulting in the world's fastest internet connections with speeds up to 1 Gbps. Seoul provides free Wi-Fi access in outdoor spaces. This 47.7 billion won ($44 million) project will give residents and visitors Internet access at 10,430 parks, streets and other public places by 2015.

 

MUSEUMS

Seoul is home to 115 museums, including four national and nine official municipal museums. Amongst the city's national museum, The National Museum of Korea is the most representative of museums in not only Seoul but all of South Korea. Since its establishment in 1945, the museum has built a collection of 220,000 artifacts. In October 2005, the museum moved to a new building in Yongsan Family Park. The National Folk Museum is situated on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the district of Jongno District and uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate the folk history of the Korean people. The National Palace Museum of Korea is also located on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Finally, the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, whose main museum is located in Gwacheon, opened in 2013, in Sogyeok-dong.

 

Bukchon Hanok Village and Namsangol Hanok Village are old residential districts consisting of hanok Korean traditional houses, parks, and museums that allows visitors to experience traditional Korean culture.

 

The War Memorial, one of nine municipal museums in Seoul, offers visitors an educational and emotional experience of various wars in which Korea was involved, including Korean War themes. The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is currently used as a historic museum.The Seoul Museum of Art and Ilmin Museum of Art have preserved the appearance of the old building that is visually unique from the neighboring tall, modern buildings. The former is operated by Seoul City Council and sits adjacent to Gyeonghuigung Palace, a Joseon dynasty royal palace. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, is widely regarded as one of Seoul's largest private museum. For many Korean film lovers from all over the world, the Korean Film Archive is running the Korean Film Museum and Cinematheque KOFA in its main center located in Digital Media City (DMC), Sangam-dong. The Tteok & Kitchen Utensil Museum and Kimchi Field Museum provide information regarding Korean culinary history.

 

RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS

There are also religious buildings that take important roles in Korean society and politics. The Wongudan altar was a sacrificial place where Korean rulers held heavenly rituals since the Three Kingdoms period. Since the Joseon Dynasty adopted Confucianism as its national ideology in the 14th century, the state built many Confucian shrines. The descendants of the Joseon royal family still continue to hold ceremonies to commemorate ancestors at Jongmyo. It is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. Munmyo and Dongmyo were built during the same period. Although Buddhism was suppressed by the Joseon state, it has continued its existence. Jogyesa is the headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Hwagyesa and Bongeunsa are also major Buddhist temples in Seoul.

 

The Myeongdong Cathedral is a landmark of the Myeongdong, Jung District and the biggest Catholic church established in 1883. It is a symbol of Catholicism in Korea. It was also a focus for political dissent in the 1980s. In this way the Roman Catholic Church has a very strong influence in Korean society.

 

There are many Protestant churches in Seoul. The most numerous are Presbyterian, but there are also many Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran churches. Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church affiliated with the Assemblies of God on Yeouido in Seoul. With approximately 830,000 members (2007), it is the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in the world, which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

FESTIVALS

In October 2012 KBS Hall in Seoul hosted major international music festivals – First ABU TV and Radio Song Festivals within frameworks of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union 49th General Assembly. Hi! Seoul Festival is a seasonal cultural festival held four times a year every spring, summer, autumn, and winter in Seoul, South Korea since 2003. It is based on the "Seoul Citizens' Day" held on every October since 1994 to commemorate the 600 years history of Seoul as the capital of the country. The festival is arranged under the Seoul Metropolitan Government. As of 2012, Seoul has hosted Ultra Music Festival Korea, an annual dance music festival that takes place on the 2nd weekend of June.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Seoul features one of the world's most advanced transportation infrastructures that is constantly under expansion. Its system dates back to the era of the Korean Empire, when the first streetcar lines were laid and a railroad linking Seoul and Incheon was completed. Seoul's most important streetcar line ran along Jongno until it was replaced by Line 1 of the subway system in the early 1970s. Other notable streets in downtown Seoul include Euljiro, Teheranno, Sejongno, Chungmuro, Yulgongno, and Toegyero. There are nine major subway lines stretching for more than 250 km, with one additional line planned. As of 2010, 25% of the population has a commute time of an hour or more.

 

BUS

Seoul's bus system is operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (S.M.G.), with four primary bus configurations available servicing most of the city. Seoul has many large intercity/express bus terminals. These buses connect Seoul with cities throughout South Korea. The Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Central City Terminal and Seoul Nambu Terminal are located in the district of Seocho District. In addition, East Seoul Bus Terminal in Gwangjin District and Sangbong Terminal in Jungnang District operate in the east of the city.

 

SUBWAY

Seoul has a comprehensive urban railway network that interconnects every district of the city and the surrounding areas. With more than 8 million passengers per day, Seoul has one of the busiest subway systems in the world. The Seoul Metropolitan Subway has 19 total lines which serve Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi province, western Gangwon province, and northern Chungnam province. In addition, in order to cope with the various modes of transport, Seoul's metropolitan government employs several mathematicians to coordinate the subway, bus, and traffic schedules into one timetable. The various lines are run by Korail, Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, NeoTrans Co. Ltd., AREX, and Seoul Metro Line 9 Corporation.

 

TRAIN

Seoul is connected to every major city in South Korea by rail. Seoul is also linked to most major South Korean cities by the KTX high-speed train, which has a normal operation speed of more than 300 km/h. Major railroad stations include:

 

Seoul Station, Yongsan District: Gyeongbu line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa-ho), Gyeongui line (Saemaul/Commuter)

Yongsan Station, Yongsan District: Honam line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa), Jeolla/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Yeongdeungpo Station, Yeongdeungpo District: Gyeongbu/Honam/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Cheongnyangni Station, Dongdaemun District: Gyeongchun/Jungang/Yeongdong/Taebaek lines (Mugunghwa)

 

In addition, Suseo Station,in Gangnam District, is scheduled to open in late 2016, and offer KTX service on the newly built Suseo High Speed Railway.

 

AIRPORTS

Two international airports serve Seoul. Gimpo International Airport, formerly in Gimpo but annexed to Seoul in 1963, was for many years (since its original construction during the Korean War) the only international airport serving Seoul. Other domestic airports were also built around the time of the war, including Yeouido.

 

When it opened in March 2001, Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong island in Incheon changed the role of Gimpo Airport significantly. Incheon is now responsible for almost all international flights and some domestic flights, while Gimpo serves only domestic flights with the exception of flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Osaka Kansai International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, and Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing. This has led to a significant drop in flights from Gimpo Airport, though it remains one of South Korea's busiest airports.

 

Meanwhile, Incheon International Airport has become, along with Hong Kong, a major transportation center for East Asia.

 

Incheon and Gimpo are linked to Seoul by highways, and to each other by the Incheon International Airport Railroad, which is also linked to Incheon line #1. Gimpo is also linked by subway (line No. 5 and #9). The Incheon International Airport Railroad, connecting the airport directly to Seoul Station in central Seoul, was recently opened. Shuttle buses also transfer passengers between Incheon and Gimpo airports.

 

CYCLING

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Seoul and in the entire country. Both banks of the Han River have cycling paths that run all the way across the city along the river. In addition, Seoul introduced in 2015 a bicycle-sharing system named Ddareungi.

 

EDUCATION

UNICERSITIES

Seoul is home to the majority of South Korea's most prestigious universities, including Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, Sogang University, Hanyang University, Chung-Ang University, Ewha Womans University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Hongik University, Kyung Hee University, Soongsil University, Sookmyung Women's University, Korea Military Academy, and the University of Seoul.

 

SECONDARY EDUCATION

Education from grades 1–12 is compulsory. Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Secondary schools generally require that the students wear uniforms. There is an exit exam for graduating from high school and many students proceeding to the university level are required to take the College Scholastic Ability Test that is held every November. Although there is a test for non-high school graduates, called school qualification exam, most of Koreans take the test

 

Seoul is home to various specialized schools, including three science high schools (Hansung Science High School, Sejong Science High School and Seoul Science High School), and six foreign language High Schools (Daewon Foreign Language High School, Daeil Foreign Language High School, Ewha Girls' Foreign Language High School, Hanyoung Foreign Language High School, Myungduk Foreign Language High School and Seoul Foreign Language High School). Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education comprises 235 College-Preparatory High Schools, 80 Vocational Schools, 377 Middle Schools, and 33 Special Education Schools as of 2009.

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Seoul is a member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Seoul – officially the Seoul Special City – is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea), forming the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, the world's 16th largest city. It is home to over half of all South Koreans along with 678,102 international residents.

 

Situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than two thousand years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty. The Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, the world's most visited national park per square foot. Modern landmarks include the iconic N Seoul Tower, the gold-clad 63 Building, the neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, the world's second largest indoor theme park, Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world's longest bridge fountain and the Sevit Floating Islands. The birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received over 10 million international visitors in 2014, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.

 

Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it to the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. In 2015, it was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis. A world leading technology hub centered on Gangnam and Digital Media City, the Seoul Capital Area boasts 15 Fortune Global 500 companies such as Samsung, the world's largest technology company, as well as LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2014, the city's GDP per capita (PPP) of $39,786 was comparable to that of France and Finland. Ranked sixth in the Global Power City Index and Global Financial Centres Index, the metropolis exerts a major influence in global affairs as one of the five leading hosts of global conferences.

 

Seoul is the world's most wired city and ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report. It is served by the KTX high-speed rail and the Seoul Subway, providing 4G LTE, WiFi and DMB inside subway cars. Seoul is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated the world's best airport nine years in a row (2005–2013) by Airports Council International. Lotte World Tower, a 556-metre supertall skyscraper with 123 floors, has been built in Seoul and become the OECD's tallest in 2016, with the world's tallest art gallery. Its Lotte Cinema houses the world's largest cinema screen. Seoul's COEX Mall is the world's largest underground shopping mall.

 

Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, the Miss Universe 1980 pageant, and the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. A UNESCO City of Design, Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital.

 

ETYMOLOGY

The city has been known in the past by the names Wirye-seong (Hangul: 위례성; Hanja: 慰禮城, during the Baekje era), Hanju (Hangul: 한주; Hanja: 漢州, during the Silla era), Namgyeong (Hangul: 남경; Hanja: 南京, during the Goryeo era), Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城, during both the Baekje and Joseon eras), Hanyang (Hangul: 한양; Hanja: 漢陽, during the Joseon era), Gyeongseong (京城, during the colonial era).

 

During Japan's annexation in Korea, "Hanseong" (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城) was renamed to "Keijō" (京城, or Template:Korean 한국, Gyeongseong) by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja '漢', as it also refers to the Han Chinese. In reality, the ancient name of Seoul, Hanseong (Hangul: 한성; Hanja: 漢城), originally had the meaning of "big" or "vast".

 

Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city," which is believed to be derived from the word Seorabeol (Hangul: 서라벌; Hanja: 徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla.

 

Unlike most place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding hanja (Chinese characters used in the Korean language). On January 18, 2005, Seoul government officially changed its official Chinese language name to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr) from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng), of which use is becoming less common.

 

HISTOY

Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, began around 4000 BC.

 

Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BC) in the northeastern Seoul area. There are several city walls remaining in the area that date from this time. Pungnaptoseong, an earthen wall just outside Seoul, is widely believed to have been at the main Wiryeseong site. As the Three Kingdoms competed for this strategic region, control passed from Baekje to Goguryeo in the 5th century, and from Goguryeo to Silla in the 6th century.

 

In the 11th century Goryeo, which succeeded Unified Silla, built a summer palace in Seoul, which was referred to as the "Southern Capital". It was only from this period that Seoul became a larger settlement. When Joseon replaced Goryeo, the capital was moved to Seoul (also known as Hanyang and later as Hanseong), where it remained until the fall of the dynasty. The Gyeongbok Palace, built in the 14th century, served as the royal residence until 1592. The other large palace, Changdeokgung, constructed in 1405, served as the main royal palace from 1611 to 1872.

 

Originally, the city was entirely surrounded by a massive circular stone wall to provide its citizens security from wild animals, thieves and attacks. The city has grown beyond those walls and although the wall no longer stands (except along Bugaksan Mountain (Hangul: 북악산; Hanja: 北岳山), north of the downtown area), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Heunginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun). During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells at the Bosingak belfry. In the late 19th century, after hundreds of years of isolation, Seoul opened its gates to foreigners and began to modernize. Seoul became the first city in East Asia to introduce electricity in the royal palace, built by the Edison Illuminating Company and a decade later Seoul also implemented electrical street lights.

 

Much of the development was due to trade with foreign countries like France and United States. For example, the Seoul Electric Company, Seoul Electric Trolley Company, and Seoul Fresh Spring Water Company were all joint Korean–American owned enterprises. In 1904, an American by the name of Angus Hamilton visited the city and said, "The streets of Seoul are magnificent, spacious, clean, admirably made and well-drained. The narrow, dirty lanes have been widened, gutters have been covered, roadways broadened. Seoul is within measurable distance of becoming the highest, most interesting and cleanest city in the East.

"After the annexation treaty in 1910, the Empire of Japan annexed Korea and renamed the city Gyeongseong ("Kyongsong" in Korean and "Keijo" in Japanese). Japanese technology was imported, the city walls were removed, some of the gates demolished. Roads became paved and Western-style buildings were constructed. The city was liberated at the end of World War II.

 

In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul, and was designated as a special city in 1949.

 

During the Korean War, Seoul changed hands between the Russian/Chinese-backed North Korean forces and the American-backed South Korean forces several times, leaving the city heavily damaged after the war. The capital was temporarily relocated to Busan. One estimate of the extensive damage states that after the war, at least 191,000 buildings, 55,000 houses, and 1,000 factories lay in ruins. In addition, a flood of refugees had entered Seoul during the war, swelling the population of the city and its metropolitan area to an estimated 1.5 million by 1955.

 

Following the war, Seoul began to focus on reconstruction and modernization. As Korea's economy started to grow rapidly from the 1960s, urbanization also accelerated and workers began to move to Seoul and other larger cities. From the 1970s, the size of Seoul administrative area greatly expanded as it annexed a number of towns and villages from several surrounding counties.

 

According to 2012 census data, the population of the Seoul area makes up around 20% of the total population of South Korea, Seoul has become the economic, political and cultural hub of the country, with several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, SK Holdings, Hyundai, POSCO and LG Group headquartered there.

 

Seoul was the host city of the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics as well as one of the venues of the Football World Cup 2002.

 

GEOGRAPHY

Seoul is in the northwest of South Korea. Seoul proper comprises 605.25 km2, with a radius of approximately 15 km, roughly bisected into northern and southern halves by the Han River. The Han River and its surrounding area played an important role in Korean history. The Three Kingdoms of Korea strove to take control of this land, where the river was used as a trade route to China (via the Yellow Sea). The river is no longer actively used for navigation, because its estuary is located at the borders of the two Koreas, with civilian entry barred. Historically, the city was during the Joseon Dynasty bounded by the Seoul Fortress Wall, which stretched between the four main mountains in central Seoul: Namsan, Naksan, Bukaksan and Inwangsan. The city is bordered by eight mountains, as well as the more level lands of the Han River plain and western areas. Due to its geography and to economic development policies, Seoul is a very polycentric city. The area that was the old capital in the Joseon Dynasty, and mostly comprises Jongno District and Jung District, constitutes the historical and political center of the city. However, for example, the city's financial capital is widely considered to be in Yeouido, while its economic capital is Gangnam District.

 

CLIMATE

Seoul is either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), using the −3 °C isotherm of the original Köppen scheme, or a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa), using the 0 °C isotherm preferred by some climatologists. Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until September. August, the warmest month, has average high and low temperatures of 29.6 and 22.4 °C with higher temperatures possible. Winters are often cold to freezing with average January high and low temperatures of 1.5 and −5.9 °C and are generally much drier than summers, with an average of 28 days of snow annually. Sometimes, temperatures do drop dramatically to below −10.0 °C, in odd occasions rarely as low as −15.0 °C in the mid winter period between January and February.

  

ADMINISTRATIVE DISTRICTS

Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Hangul: 구; Hanja: 區) (district). The gu vary greatly in area (from 10 to 47 km2) and population (from fewer than 140,000 to 630,000). Songpa has the most people, while Seocho has the largest area. The government of each gu handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions. Each gu is divided into "dong" (Hangul: 동; Hanja: 洞) or neighbourhoods. Some gu have only a few dong while others like Jongno District have a very large number of distinct neighbourhoods. Gu of Seoul consist of 423 administrative dongs (Hangul: 행정동) in total. Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (Hangul: 통; Hanja: 統), which are further divided into 102,796 ban in total.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Seoul proper is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York and eight times greater than Rome. Its metropolitan area was the most densely populated in the OECD in Asia in 2012, and second worldwide after that of Paris. As of December 2013, the population was 10.14 million, in 2012, it was 10,442,426. As of the end of June 2011, 10.29 million Republic of Korea citizens lived in the city. This was a 24% decrease from the end of 2010. The population of Seoul has been dropping since the early 1990s, the reasons being the high costs of living and an aging population.

 

The number of foreigners living in Seoul is 255,501 in 2010 according to Seoul officials.[58] As of June 2011, 281,780 foreigners were located in Seoul. Of them, 186,631 foreigners (66%) were Chinese citizens of Korean ancestry. This was an 8.84% increase from the end of 2010 and a 12.85% increase from June 2010. The next largest group was Chinese citizens who are not of Korean ethnicity; 29,901 of them resided in Seoul. The next highest group consisted of the 9,999 United States citizens who were not of Korean ancestry. The next highest group were the Republic of China (Taiwan) citizens, at 8,717.

 

The two major religions in Seoul are Christianity and Buddhism. Other religions include Muism (indigenous religion) and Confucianism. Seoul is home to one of the world's largest Christians congregations, Yoido Full Gospel Church , which has around 830,000 members. Seoul is home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University. Other Christian faiths like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) maintains a presence in the city.

 

ECONOMY

Seoul is the business and financial hub of South Korea. Although it accounts for only 0.6 percent of the nation's land area, 48.3 percent of South Korea's bank deposits were held in Seoul in 2003, and the city generated 23 percent of the country's GDP overall in 2012. In 2008 the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index ranked Seoul No.9. The Global Financial Centres Index in 2015 listed Seoul as the 6th financially most competitive city in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Seoul 15th in the list of "Overall 2025 City Competitiveness" regarding future competitiveness of cities.

 

MANUFACTURING

The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries; however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries. Major manufacturers are headquartered in the city, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Kia and SK. Notable food and beverage companies include Jinro, whose soju is the most sold alcoholic drink in the world, beating out Smirnoff vodka; top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery. It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Dairy, Namyang dairy and Lotte.

 

FINANCE

Seoul hosts large concentration of headquarters of International companies and banks, including 15 companies on fortune 500 list such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island), which is often called "Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s. The Seoul international finance center & SIFC MALL, Hanhwa 63 building, the Hanhwa insurance company head office. Hanhwa is one of the three largest Korean insurance companies, along with Samsung Life and Gangnam & Kyob life insurance group.

 

COMMERCE

The largest wholesale and retail market in South Korea, the Dongdaemun Market, is located in Seoul. Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul.

 

Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold. Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products. Some shops for local designers have opened in Samcheong-dong, where numerous small art galleries are located. Itaewon caters mainly to foreign tourists and American soldiers based in the city. The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul and is noted for the fashionable and upscale Apgujeong-dong and Cheongdam-dong areas and the COEX Mall. Wholesale markets include Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market and Garak Market.

 

The Yongsan Electronics Market is the largest electronics market in Asia. Electronics markets are Gangbyeon station metro line 2 Techno mart, ENTER6 MALL & Shindorim station Technomart mall complex.

 

Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen.

 

KOREA WORLD TRADE CENTER COMPLEX which comprises COEX mall, congress center, 3 Inter-continental hotels, Business tower (Asem tower), Residence hotel,Casino and City airport terminal was established in 1988 Seoul Olympic . 2nd World trade trade center is planning at Seoul Olympic stadium complex as MICE HUB by Seoul city. Ex-Kepco head office building was purchased by Hyundai motor group with 9billion USD to build 115-storey Hyundai GBC & hotel complex until 2021. Now ex-kepco 25-storey building is under demolition.

 

ARCHITECTURE

The traditional heart of Seoul is the old Joseon Dynasty city, now the downtown area, where most palaces, government offices, corporate headquarters, hotels, and traditional markets are located. Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs from west to east through the valley before emptying into the Han River, was for many years covered with concrete, but was recently restored by an urban revival project in 2005. Jongno street, meaning "Bell Street," has been a principal street and one of the earliest commercial steets of the city, on which one can find Bosingak, a pavilion containing a large bell. The bell signaled the different times of the day and controlled the four major gates to the city. North of downtown is Bukhan Mountain, and to the south is the smaller Namsan. Further south are the old suburbs, Yongsan District and Mapo District. Across the Han River are the newer and wealthier areas of Gangnam District, Seocho District and surrounding neighborhoods.

 

HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE

Seoul has many historical and cultural landmarks. In Amsa-dong Prehistoric Settlement Site, Gangdong District, neolithic remains were excavated and accidentally discovered by a flood in 1925.

 

Urban and civil planning was a key concept when Seoul was first designed to serve as a capital in the late 14th century. The Joseon Dynasty built the "Five Grand Palaces" in Seoul – Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung and Gyeonghuigung – all of which are located in the district of Jongno District and Jung District. Among them, Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as an "outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design". The main palace, Gyeongbokgung, underwent a large-scale restoration project. The palaces are considered exemplary architecture of the Joseon period. Beside the palaces, Unhyeongung is known for being the royal residence of Regent Daewongun, the father of Emperor Gojong at the end of the Joseon Dynasty.

 

Seoul has been surrounded by walls that were built to regulate visitors from other regions and protect the city in case of an invasion. Pungnap Toseong is a flat earthen wall built at the edge of the Han River which is widely believed to be the site of Wiryeseong. Mongchon Toseong (Hangul: 몽촌토성; Hanja: 蒙村土城) is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period which is now located inside the Olympic Park. The Fortress Wall of Seoul was built early in the Joseon Dynasty for protection of the city. After many centuries of destruction and rebuilding, approximately ⅔ of the wall remains, as well as six of the original eight gates. These gates include Sungnyemun and Heunginjimun, commonly known as Namdaemun (South Great Gate) and Dongdaemun (East Great Gate). Namdaemun was the oldest wooden gate until a 2008 arson attack, and was re-opened after complete restoration in 2013. Situated near the gates are the traditional markets and largest shopping center, Namdaemun Market and Dongdaemun Market.

 

There are also many buildings constructed with international styles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Independence Gate was built in 1897 to inspire an independent spirit. Seoul Station was opened in 1900 as Gyeongseong Station.

 

MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Various high-rise office buildings and residential buildings, like the Gangnam Finance Center, the Tower Palace, N Seoul Tower and Jongno Tower, dominate the city's skyline. A series of new high rises are under construction, including the Lotte World Tower, scheduled to be completed by 2016. As of July 2016, and excluding the still unopened Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in the city is the 279-metre-high Three International Finance Center.

 

The World Trade Center Seoul, located in Gangnam District, hosts various expositions and conferences. Also in Gangnam District is the COEX Mall, a large indoor shopping and entertainment complex. Downstream from Gangnam District is Yeouido, an island that is home to the National Assembly, major broadcasting studios, and a number of large office buildings, as well as the Korea Finance Building and the Yoido Full Gospel Church. The Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, and Lotte World are located in Songpa District, on the south side of the Han River, upstream from Gangnam District. Two new modern landmarks of Seoul are Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, designed by Zaha Hadid, and the new wave-shaped Seoul City Hall, by Yoo Kerl of iArc.

 

In 2010 Seoul was designated the World Design Capital for the year.

 

CULTURE

TECHNOLOGY

Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure. It has the world's highest fibre-optic broadband penetration, resulting in the world's fastest internet connections with speeds up to 1 Gbps. Seoul provides free Wi-Fi access in outdoor spaces. This 47.7 billion won ($44 million) project will give residents and visitors Internet access at 10,430 parks, streets and other public places by 2015.

 

MUSEUMS

Seoul is home to 115 museums, including four national and nine official municipal museums. Amongst the city's national museum, The National Museum of Korea is the most representative of museums in not only Seoul but all of South Korea. Since its establishment in 1945, the museum has built a collection of 220,000 artifacts. In October 2005, the museum moved to a new building in Yongsan Family Park. The National Folk Museum is situated on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the district of Jongno District and uses replicas of historical objects to illustrate the folk history of the Korean people. The National Palace Museum of Korea is also located on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Finally, the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, whose main museum is located in Gwacheon, opened in 2013, in Sogyeok-dong.

 

Bukchon Hanok Village and Namsangol Hanok Village are old residential districts consisting of hanok Korean traditional houses, parks, and museums that allows visitors to experience traditional Korean culture.

 

The War Memorial, one of nine municipal museums in Seoul, offers visitors an educational and emotional experience of various wars in which Korea was involved, including Korean War themes. The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is currently used as a historic museum.The Seoul Museum of Art and Ilmin Museum of Art have preserved the appearance of the old building that is visually unique from the neighboring tall, modern buildings. The former is operated by Seoul City Council and sits adjacent to Gyeonghuigung Palace, a Joseon dynasty royal palace. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, is widely regarded as one of Seoul's largest private museum. For many Korean film lovers from all over the world, the Korean Film Archive is running the Korean Film Museum and Cinematheque KOFA in its main center located in Digital Media City (DMC), Sangam-dong. The Tteok & Kitchen Utensil Museum and Kimchi Field Museum provide information regarding Korean culinary history.

 

RELIGIOUS MONUMENTS

There are also religious buildings that take important roles in Korean society and politics. The Wongudan altar was a sacrificial place where Korean rulers held heavenly rituals since the Three Kingdoms period. Since the Joseon Dynasty adopted Confucianism as its national ideology in the 14th century, the state built many Confucian shrines. The descendants of the Joseon royal family still continue to hold ceremonies to commemorate ancestors at Jongmyo. It is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. Munmyo and Dongmyo were built during the same period. Although Buddhism was suppressed by the Joseon state, it has continued its existence. Jogyesa is the headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Hwagyesa and Bongeunsa are also major Buddhist temples in Seoul.

 

The Myeongdong Cathedral is a landmark of the Myeongdong, Jung District and the biggest Catholic church established in 1883. It is a symbol of Catholicism in Korea. It was also a focus for political dissent in the 1980s. In this way the Roman Catholic Church has a very strong influence in Korean society.

 

There are many Protestant churches in Seoul. The most numerous are Presbyterian, but there are also many Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran churches. Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church affiliated with the Assemblies of God on Yeouido in Seoul. With approximately 830,000 members (2007), it is the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in the world, which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

FESTIVALS

In October 2012 KBS Hall in Seoul hosted major international music festivals – First ABU TV and Radio Song Festivals within frameworks of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union 49th General Assembly. Hi! Seoul Festival is a seasonal cultural festival held four times a year every spring, summer, autumn, and winter in Seoul, South Korea since 2003. It is based on the "Seoul Citizens' Day" held on every October since 1994 to commemorate the 600 years history of Seoul as the capital of the country. The festival is arranged under the Seoul Metropolitan Government. As of 2012, Seoul has hosted Ultra Music Festival Korea, an annual dance music festival that takes place on the 2nd weekend of June.

 

TRANSPORTATION

Seoul features one of the world's most advanced transportation infrastructures that is constantly under expansion. Its system dates back to the era of the Korean Empire, when the first streetcar lines were laid and a railroad linking Seoul and Incheon was completed. Seoul's most important streetcar line ran along Jongno until it was replaced by Line 1 of the subway system in the early 1970s. Other notable streets in downtown Seoul include Euljiro, Teheranno, Sejongno, Chungmuro, Yulgongno, and Toegyero. There are nine major subway lines stretching for more than 250 km, with one additional line planned. As of 2010, 25% of the population has a commute time of an hour or more.

 

BUS

Seoul's bus system is operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Government (S.M.G.), with four primary bus configurations available servicing most of the city. Seoul has many large intercity/express bus terminals. These buses connect Seoul with cities throughout South Korea. The Seoul Express Bus Terminal, Central City Terminal and Seoul Nambu Terminal are located in the district of Seocho District. In addition, East Seoul Bus Terminal in Gwangjin District and Sangbong Terminal in Jungnang District operate in the east of the city.

 

SUBWAY

Seoul has a comprehensive urban railway network that interconnects every district of the city and the surrounding areas. With more than 8 million passengers per day, Seoul has one of the busiest subway systems in the world. The Seoul Metropolitan Subway has 19 total lines which serve Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi province, western Gangwon province, and northern Chungnam province. In addition, in order to cope with the various modes of transport, Seoul's metropolitan government employs several mathematicians to coordinate the subway, bus, and traffic schedules into one timetable. The various lines are run by Korail, Seoul Metro, Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, NeoTrans Co. Ltd., AREX, and Seoul Metro Line 9 Corporation.

 

TRAIN

Seoul is connected to every major city in South Korea by rail. Seoul is also linked to most major South Korean cities by the KTX high-speed train, which has a normal operation speed of more than 300 km/h. Major railroad stations include:

 

Seoul Station, Yongsan District: Gyeongbu line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa-ho), Gyeongui line (Saemaul/Commuter)

Yongsan Station, Yongsan District: Honam line (KTX/Saemaul/Mugunghwa), Jeolla/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Yeongdeungpo Station, Yeongdeungpo District: Gyeongbu/Honam/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)

Cheongnyangni Station, Dongdaemun District: Gyeongchun/Jungang/Yeongdong/Taebaek lines (Mugunghwa)

 

In addition, Suseo Station,in Gangnam District, is scheduled to open in late 2016, and offer KTX service on the newly built Suseo High Speed Railway.

 

AIRPORTS

Two international airports serve Seoul. Gimpo International Airport, formerly in Gimpo but annexed to Seoul in 1963, was for many years (since its original construction during the Korean War) the only international airport serving Seoul. Other domestic airports were also built around the time of the war, including Yeouido.

 

When it opened in March 2001, Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong island in Incheon changed the role of Gimpo Airport significantly. Incheon is now responsible for almost all international flights and some domestic flights, while Gimpo serves only domestic flights with the exception of flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Osaka Kansai International Airport, Taipei Songshan Airport in Taipei, Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, and Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing. This has led to a significant drop in flights from Gimpo Airport, though it remains one of South Korea's busiest airports.

 

Meanwhile, Incheon International Airport has become, along with Hong Kong, a major transportation center for East Asia.

 

Incheon and Gimpo are linked to Seoul by highways, and to each other by the Incheon International Airport Railroad, which is also linked to Incheon line #1. Gimpo is also linked by subway (line No. 5 and #9). The Incheon International Airport Railroad, connecting the airport directly to Seoul Station in central Seoul, was recently opened. Shuttle buses also transfer passengers between Incheon and Gimpo airports.

 

CYCLING

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Seoul and in the entire country. Both banks of the Han River have cycling paths that run all the way across the city along the river. In addition, Seoul introduced in 2015 a bicycle-sharing system named Ddareungi.

 

EDUCATION

UNICERSITIES

Seoul is home to the majority of South Korea's most prestigious universities, including Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, Sogang University, Hanyang University, Chung-Ang University, Ewha Womans University, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Hongik University, Kyung Hee University, Soongsil University, Sookmyung Women's University, Korea Military Academy, and the University of Seoul.

 

SECONDARY EDUCATION

Education from grades 1–12 is compulsory. Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Secondary schools generally require that the students wear uniforms. There is an exit exam for graduating from high school and many students proceeding to the university level are required to take the College Scholastic Ability Test that is held every November. Although there is a test for non-high school graduates, called school qualification exam, most of Koreans take the test

 

Seoul is home to various specialized schools, including three science high schools (Hansung Science High School, Sejong Science High School and Seoul Science High School), and six foreign language High Schools (Daewon Foreign Language High School, Daeil Foreign Language High School, Ewha Girls' Foreign Language High School, Hanyoung Foreign Language High School, Myungduk Foreign Language High School and Seoul Foreign Language High School). Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education comprises 235 College-Preparatory High Schools, 80 Vocational Schools, 377 Middle Schools, and 33 Special Education Schools as of 2009.

 

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Seoul is a member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

 

WIKIPEDIA

First off, apologies: I don't know who this mighty warrior is... the plaque was all in chinese characters so I didn't get his name... I just supposed that because of his mongolian clothings he would be a pre-Joseon warrior...

Anyway! This statue is in the middle of Seoul, in 서소문공원, this is why I am very delighted to have captured stars!!! for about 3 hours I waited under that statue and I was stricken by one thing that you don't see in that shot: around the monument is a place where homeless people try to spend the night between bushes, cops kicking them out, all types of trains (subways, KTX, mugunghwa...) and people exercising. My point is the contrast between the might and the poverty/consequenceless of these remarkable contemporains is a new face of Korea...

 

Nikon d300s Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S at 26mm f/11 ISO 100 73x2min30sec

Mugunhwa plants in the shape of South Korea.

1 3 4 5 6 7 ••• 13 14