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About city Gallery Where to stay

Seoul – or officially the Seoul Special City – is the largest city of South Korea and its capital since 1948. It’s a rapidly-developing city that’s home to about 10.5 million people. Seoul is very popular with tourists, visited by more than 8 million foreigners, mostly Japanese, every year.

The city is located in the north-western part of the country, to the south of the demilitarized zone by the River Han. This territory has played a key role in Korean history. The city is surrounded by eight mountains and countless hills. It’s the political, cultural, social and economic centre of South Korea and East Asia, home to about a quarter of the country’s inhabitants. The city is also an international centre of business, finance, international corporations and global organizations.

Seoul
Photo taken by shutterstock.  Seoul

Seoul is considered to be one of the largest cities in the world. Its metropolitan area spans the Incheon Harbour, the residential city Seongnam and other suburbs. It has excellent infrastructure: railways, highways, airports and underground.

The city has well-developed iron, steel, textile, automobile, electronics, chemical and service industries. Even though the city comprises only 0.6% of South Korea‘s territory, it generates roughly 21% of the country’s GDP and 43% of all taxes. This city is home to most of South Korea’s major corporations (such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Kia) and offices of foreign companies.

South Korea’s capital has many historical royal palaces (Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Deoksu, etc.), museums, Christian churches, Buddhist temples, theatres, libraries, zoos, botanical gardens and universities (with Seoul National University being the largest one).

Seoul
Photo taken by shutterstock.  Seoul

The historical part of the city, called Jung-gu, is one of Seoul’s 25 districts. The centre is located on the northern bank of the Han River. The historical Doksugung Palace and the Namdemun Gate are located in Jung-gu. This part of the city is also known for the Mjongdong Cathedral, the Bank of Korea Money Museum, located near the N Seoul Tower on Namsan Mountain, and the Namdemun Market.

Seoul is characterised by high population density (around 17,000 people per sq. km.) and its ethnic homogeneity – only about 2.5% of its 1 million inhabitants are Chinese, Japanase and other minorities. The main religions here are Buddhism and Christianity.

The history of Seoul is thought to have begun in the 18th century BCE, and is related to the establishment of the Baekje Kingdom. Its capital, called Virjesong, was located in the territory of today’s Seoul. Several segments of the city walls remain to this day. At that time, Seoul was a stronghold and a centre of commerce.

Seoul
Photo taken by veroyama | Flickr.  Seoul

During the mid-20th century, Seoul changed hands between several different powers: the US military, the South Korean government, North Korea and then finally, on March, 1951, the United Nations. Badly damaged during the war, the city was later rebuilt in accordance with the most modern of principles.

Seoul is a mix of the ancient world and today’s modern life, ancient temples and skyscrapers. One of the most frequented objects in the city is the 262-metre-tall Golden Tower on the Yeouido Island. It’s one of the tallest buildings in Asia. At the top of the tower you’ll find an overview that opens up on a scenic view of the city, its surroundings and the Yellow Sea. The tower also has an aquarium with over 20,000 sea critters.

Where to stay

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