Seoul is South Korea's capital. Seoul is by far South Korea's largest city and one of East Asia's financial and cultural hubs, with a municipal population of over 10.5 million and a metropolitan population of over 20.5 million. According to some estimates, it is the world's second largest urban agglomeration, after Greater Tokyo. Seoul is a city filled with a fascinating mix of ancient traditions and cutting-edge digital technology, endless street food vendors and vast nightlife districts, an extraordinarily high-pressure educational system and serene Buddhist temples, a dynamic trend-setting youth culture and sometimes crushing conformism, extraordinary architecture and endless monotonous rows of grey apartment buildings.
Following the popularity of Korean pop culture, Seoul has become a favorite among tourists from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Aside from native Korean, visitors will often hear Japanese, Cantonese, or Mandarin; many restaurants and shops, especially in more touristy areas like Myeongdong, will have signs in Japanese and Chinese, as well as Korean and English. However, despite its popularity among Asians, this travel destination is still relatively unknown in the West and is often bypassed by Westerners in favor of nearby Tokyo, Kyoto, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.
The visitor who does come, on the other hand, will not be disappointed. This sprawling metropolis is truly vast; while a casual traveler can see most of the key attractions in a few days, a serious traveler might spend months exploring all the alleyways and outlying neighborhoods. Seoul, as the capital of a country that has seen tremendous growth over the last sixty years, is continuously evolving at an astounding rate, rivaled only by mainland Chinese cities. This frenetic pace of life is reflected in everything: Seoul's cutting-edge modern technology, the millions of commuters commuting to work every day in the world's third largest subway system, one of the world's most lively nightlife scenes, and the thousands of high rises and apartment buildings still under construction.
Given all of this, it's easy to forget that Seoul has a long history that dates back to Korea's dynastic era. There is evidence of settlement in this area dating back to 18 BCE, but Seoul, South Korea's capital city, has a history dating back to the 14th century. From 1392 to 1910, when Korea was invaded by Japan, the city was known as Hanseong and served as the capital of the Joseon Dynasty. Most of Seoul's most recognizable landmarks, such as the Five Grand Palaces and Namdaemun, were constructed during the Joseon Dynasty. Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, the city was renamed Seoul. Seoul has served as South Korea's capital since the founding of the Republic of Korea in 1948. Having been occupied twice by Communist forces from the North during the Korean War, the city was extensively rebuilt and is now one of Asia's major metropolises. The majority of Seoul's infrastructure and services, such as buildings, stadiums, and transportation systems, are extremely modern and clean.
Seoul is a relatively well-organized city that spans over 600 square kilometers (230 square miles) and has a population of about 10.5 million people. It is a new modern city founded on an ancient and illustrious past. The city is located in northwestern South Korea, roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the Yellow Sea (Hwanghae) and 60 kilometers south of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The city is approximately divided in half by the Han River ( Hangang), which flows east to west through it. Seoul blends into its satellite cities and towns, the majority of which are also served by the Seoul metro. The largest of these is Incheon (to the west), which serves as the main airport and seaport for the metropolitan area. Other satellite cities include Ilsan (to the north), Bucheon (to the west), and Anyang (to the east) (to the south).
Last modified on 04/30/2021 - 07:35
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