Attractions of Seoul
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Gyeongbokgung Palace Changgyeonggung Palace Gwanghwamun Gate Gwanghwamun Square City Hall (Seoul Plaza)
Namsangol Hanok Village Myeong-dong Hangang River Bukhansan National Park Lotte World Tower
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the Northern Palace because its location is furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeonghuigung (Western Palace) Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful, and remains the largest of all five palaces.

The premises were once destroyed by fire during the Imjin War (Japanese Invasions, 1592-1598). However, all of the palace buildings were later restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong (1852-1919).

Remarkably, the most representative edifices of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond have remained relatively intact. Woldae and the sculptures of Geunjeongjeon (The Royal Audience Chamber) represent past sculptures of contemporary art.

The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located on the eastern side within Hyangwonjeong.
Changgyeonggung Palace
Located in the heart of Seoul, Changgyeonggung Palace was first built by the 4th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejong (r.1418-1450), for his retiring father, King Taejong. It often served as residential quarters for queens and concubines. During the reign of King Seongjong (r.1469-1494), the palace was renovated and renamed to Changgyeonggung Palace. It later became a park with a zoo and a botanical garden during Japanese colonial rule. The palace was then relocated in 1983 and regained its old grace after years of restoration.

Past the entrance of Changgyeonggung Palace, the Honghwa Gate, you will find Okcheongyo Bridge. All palaces of the Joseon Dynasty have ponds with an arch bridge over them, just like Okcheongyo Bridge. Cross Okcheongyo Bridge, pass the Myeongjeongmun Gate, and you will find Myeonjeongjeon. This is the office of the king, and Myeongjeongjeon is the oldest of the Joseon Dynasty palaces. The houses face southwards, but Myeongjeongjeon faces east. Because the ancestral shrine of the royal family is located to the south, the gate couldn't face the south, as is required by Confucian custom. There are stones with the status of the officials carved on the yard. Behind Myeongjeongjeon on the upper left side is Sungmundang. This building utilizes the slope of the mountain. If you look at Myeongjeongjeon and Munjeongjeon, the combination of the high and low roofs offers a beautiful view.

Tongmyeongjeon was built for the queen. It is the biggest building in Changgyeonggung Palace, and you can recognize the delicate details of its structure in various parts of the building. Walk up the stones past Tongmyeongjeon and there you will find Jagyeongjeon. On the southeast direction of the Jagyeongjeon is the Punggidae. This Punggidae is a measuring instrument. It is a long pole with a cloth hung at the end used to check the speed and direction of the wind. If you head north there is a large pond called Chundangji. Half of the pond was originally a rice field that the king took care of. But during the Japanese occupation, the rice field was changed to a pond with little ships floating on it. And the botanic garden built above the pond still remains today.
Gwanghwamun Gate
Founded in 1395 by the first king of the Joseon Dynasty, Gwanghwamun is the main gate of Gyeongbukgung Palace. Roughly meaning "may the light of enlightenment blanket the world", the name symbolizes the resounding dedication that the people of the Joseon Dynasty had in creating a new dynasty. Constructed solely out of granite, its center is an entrance that resembles a rainbow, called Hongyemun. Above that is a gate tower.

Gwanghwamun holds a painful memory in Korean history. During the Japanese occupation of Korea, in order to dampen the spirits of the Korean citizens, the Japanese governing general destroyed the gate and built his own government building. The present appearance of the gate is that of 1968 when it was rebuilt using concrete, and it’s location is about 10m behind the original spot. Though Gwanghwamun is the most beautiful of the five palace gates, it was not designated by the Korean government as a national treasure because it is made purely of concrete. The government is now in the process of removing the Japanese building and restoring the palace.

Gwanghwamun has its name written on a sign on the gate, and it was personally written by then-president Park Jeong-Hui. On either side of the gate you can see the word "Haetae "facing south. Haetae is a mythical unicorn-lion that is said to protect palaces from fire. According to Pungsujirisang, there was a fire around Gwanaksan Mountain, so in order to protect the palace from fire from the mountain, these fire-eating Haetaes were put beside the gate.
Gwanghwamun Square
On August 1st, 2009, the redesigned Gwanghwamun Square opened to the public. With the inauguration of the square, Sejong-ro, located at the center of the 600-year-old historic city of Seoul, was transformed into a human-centered space that harmonizes with the beautiful scenery of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukaksan Mountain.

The close to 20,000m2 Gwanghwamun Square is located at the center of Sejong-ro which connects Gwanghwamun Gate and Cheonggye Square. The square is divided into the sections, "Recovering the History of Gwanghwamun Gate Plaza", "Reenacting Yukjo Street Plaza", "Korea Main Plaza", "Civil Participation Urban Culture Plaza", "Downtown Plaza" and "Cheonggyecheon Stream Connector".

The "Recovering the History of Gwanghwamun Gate Plaza" section is at the entrance of the plaza, where a stone base called Woldae and a statue of Haetae, a mythical unicorn-lion that is said to protect palaces from fire, have been restored. Near Sejong-ro Park is "Reenacting Yukjo Street Plaza "where Yukjo Street, the main street of old Seoul (Formally known as Hanyang) was recreated. On the side is also a miniature depiction of Yukjo Street.

The Statue of King Sejong the Great has been relocated in the "Korea Main Plaza "where Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, is projected on a fountain water screen. Between the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and the Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin is the "Civil Participation Urban Culture Plaza "with a range of attractions and services including accommodation facilities for visitors, exhibition halls, elevators, a meeting plaza, and art galleries.

"Downtown Plaza" located near the Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, symbolizes Sejong-ro. The Square has water facilities such as a pond and pop-jet fountains. The "Cheonggyecheon Stream Connector "functions as a connecting walking path between Cheonggyecheon Stream and Gyeongbokgung Palace.

In addition, there is the "Memorial Waterway", flowing underground water, which goes from both Gyeongbokgung and Gwanghwamun subway stations to Cheonggyecheon Stream. Plus, behind the Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin is "Sunken Square "which connects Gwanghwamun subway station and the ground allowing people to access the Square more easily.

Two statues of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin and Sejong the Great, who are great and influential people in Korean history, are situated at Gwanghwamun Square where the beatification ceremony will take place. Visitors can see "Waterways of History "and "King Sejong Story "exhibitions, the latter of which highlights the achievements of King Sejong and history of Hangeul.
City Hall (Seoul Plaza)
Founded in 1926, Seoul City Hall is a Renaissance-style stone building. Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall is a historic site where the March 1, 1919 (Samil) Independence Movement and the pro-democracy movement in June 1987 were held. It is also a well-known place where tens of thousands of Korean soccer fans came to cheer at during the 2002 World Cup Games.

This oval grass square in front of Seoul City Hall, re-established in 2004, is used as a place to hold various events and cultural festivals like "Hi! Seoul Festival", and is enjoyed by many Seoulites as a place to rest. One of the attractions of Seoul Plaza is the Floor Water Fountain, which looks like a normal sidewalk but shoots water up very high from the floor when you walk across it. The 48 floor lights along the grass square and Fala- a round type outer wall clock- are other attractive features of the Square.

The Fala, in particular, is designed to ring the Boshingak Belfry sound at high noon everyday. The Floor Water Fountain presents a grand sight with 35 underwater lights.
Namsangol Hanok Village
Namsangol Hanok Village opened in 1998 on the north side of Namsan Mountain in the center of the capital. This village has five restored traditional Korean houses, a pavilion, traditional garden, performance arts stage and a time capsule plaza, making it a perfect spot for both locals and tourists to take a leisure walk. Upon entering from the front gate, visitors will get a taste of the traditional life while escaping from the bustling city life of modern times. The traditional garden with its pavilion and the traditional houses create a peaceful ambiance before the forested Namsan Mountain. A time capsule commemorating Seoul’s 600 Year Anniversary was buried in 1994 at the highest point of the village and is scheduled to be reopened four hundred years later in 2394.

The five hanok houses were remodeled after the traditional houses of Joseon Dynasty and over a range of social classes, from peasants to aristocrats. The furniture in the houses is arranged to help guests understand the daily lives of the past, and the clean, traditional houses, as well as their antique items provide a great photo op. To protect these fragile heritages, only one of the hanok houses is open to the public. The house of Yoon-ssi of Okin-dong has been transformed into Yoon's Tearoom, where guests can enjoy traditional tea and refreshments.

Namsangol Hanok VIllage also has many traditional programs and activities to participate in. Traditional programs, such as, wearing hanbok, folding hanji (traditional Korean paper), writing in Korean, traditional tea ceremony, tradtional etiquette school and herbal medicine experience. There are also taekwondo performaces and other various performances around the village. You can also try tradtional games such as yutnori (traditional board game). You can also tour around with a tour guide that can give helpful information about the history.
Myeong-dong
Myeong-dong is one of the primary shopping districts in Seoul. The two main streets meet in the center of the block with one beginning from Myeong-dong Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No. 4) and the other from Lotte Department Store at Euljiro. Many brand name shops and department stores line the streets and alleys. Common products for sale include clothes, shoes, and accessories. Unlike Namdaemun or Dongdaemun, many designer brands are sold in Myeong-dong. In addition, several major department stores have branches here, including Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Myeong-dong Migliore, Noon Square and M Plaza. The department stores carry many premium labels and other fashionable goods at reasonable prices.

Myeong-dong also has family restaurants, fast food, plus Korean, Western and Japanese dining options. Many restaurants in Myeong-dong specialize in dongaseu (pork cutlet) and kalguksu (noodle soup). Other businesses in the area include hair salons, banks and theaters.
Hangang River
Running through the central part of the Korean Peninsula, the Hangang River flows from Gangwon-do towards Chungcheongbuk-do, Gyeonggi-do, through Seoul and continues on to the Yellow Sea. The river has witnessed the history of the Korean people for over five thousand years, through good and bad times. The riverside parks offer a nice retreat for the citizens of Seoul.

The Namhangang River (South Hangang River), which is the main source, originates from Taebaek-si in Gangwon-do. The water runs north through Goljicheon Stream in Samcheok-si and then passes through Gwangdong Dam before flowing into Songcheon Stream.

Songcheon Stream starts from Hwangbyeongsan Mountain (1,407 meters) in Jeongseon-gun and flows into Joyanggang River. After joining Odaecheon Stream, it flows south into Donggang River, which in turn flows into Seogang River. Then after joining Dalcheon Stream in Chungju-si, Seomgang River and Cheongmicheon Stream, the river combines with the branch streams of Yanghwacheon, Bokhacheon, and Heukcheon before it finally joins Bukhangang River (North Hangang River) in Yangsu-ri.
Bukhansan National Park
Bukhansan Mountain was officially designated as a national park in 1983. The Bukhansan National Park covers both Bukhansan and Dobongsan Mountains, and spans the total area of 80.699㎢. At the top of Bukhansan Mountain are Baegundae Terrace (836.5m), Insubong Peak (810.5m) and Mangyeongdae Terrace (799.5m), which gave the mountain the nickname "Samgaksan" or the "three-horned mountain". The mountain had other names: Sambongsan (mountain with three peaks), Hwasan (flower mountain), and Buaak (mountain shaped like a person giving a baby a piggyback ride). The current name, Bukhansan, was given as the Bukhansanseong Fortress was built under King Sukjong of Joseon Dynasty.
Lotte World Tower
Lotte World Tower was designed with a conceptual design drawing inspiration from Korean ceramics and Korean writing brushes. With 123 floors total, the tower is the fifth tallest building in the world, standing at 555 meters (1,824 ft). The tower contains galleries, cafés, and a luxury hotel, in addition to a skywalk and an observation deck. It will be one of the best spots to appreciate the breathtaking view of Seoul's vibrant city lights.

Lotte World Mall, located next to the tower, features Avenuel, a complex of luxury department stores. The multi-leveled mall draws in many visitors as one of the top shopping attractions in Seoul, with a variety of domestic and foreign brands. The mall also offers a wide-range of entertainment facilities, such as a movie theater, aquarium, concert hall, and more.