Seoul – South Korea
Seoul is the capital of South Korea. The word ’Seoul’ means capital in traditional Korean. Seoul is a city in which the Han River flows through, from east to west, and is surrounded by great mountains, and the city contains both history and tradition, as well as the latest IT technology, making it a kind of a city which is quite rare anywhere on the globe.
Seoul first became the capital of the Korean people in the year 18 BC, when the Baekjae Dynasty established it as the capital of its establishing dynasty. The dynasty then kept Seoul as the capital for 476 years and presented prosperous culture, which served as the basis of today’s Seoul’s traditional culture.
Seoul ended its role as the capital after 476 years when Baekjae moved the capital to present day Gongju area, but it still remained as a prominent area. After the moving of the capital, Baekjae, Goguryeo and Shinra fought for control over the area of Seoul near the Han River, which showed exactly how important Seoul was in the Korean peninsula. In 1394, after the Unified Shinra Era and the Goryeo Era, Seoul became the capital again, and since then has developed into a cultural and economic center.
Seoul, which was called “Hanyang” during the Choseon dynasty and “Gyeongseongbu” during the Japanese Imperialism was referred back to as “Seoul” after Korean’s independence on August 15th of 1945. In 1946, Seoul became a “do” a reference to a specific type of region, and was chosen as the capital with the establishment of the Korean government.
Seoul, the Icon of Korean Culture
Seoul is a city of various culture and variation. The city has over 700 museums, including the National Museum and the National Folk Museum, which all contain countless number of articles, a number of performance centers, such as the Sejong Center for Performing Arts, National Theater and more, and has over 400 galleries which all the people to see various art works.
In Seoul, various traditional or traditional aristocratic culture can be met. One can enjoy traditional festive dances and palace food to feel like the king of “Choseon, the nation of quiet morning,” and one can also experience the life of the past in the Bukcheon traditional house (Hanok) Town of the Choseon dynasty.
Tradition is not the only thing which can be met in Seoul. There is a wide range of modern and fusion culture of the West and the East, along with up-to-date, cutting edge technology, and a number of world class performances, including ‘NANTA’, ‘JUMP’ and B-boy performances can be enjoyed in Seoul as well.
Seoul is also filled with cultural spaces in countless parts of the city center. Daehakro and Seoul Playground are known as the representative outdoor cultural spaces in Seoul, and the Citizen’s park near the Han River are also widely used as a cultural ground. Furthermore, the ‘Hi-Seoul Festival,’ which is the representative festival in Seoul, is held every May.
Seoul, the capital of Korea, which has become one of the top 10 in the world for economics, has become a center of economics and culture. Now, Seoul is opening a new Renaissance Period as the city which takes into deep consideration the environment, centering around Cheonggyecheon and the Han River.
[text source: visitseoul.net]