Seoul

Seoul (/soʊl/, like soul; Korean: 서울 [sʰʌ.ul] (listen); lit. "Capital"), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital[9] and largest metropolis of South Korea.[10] With surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, Seoul forms the heart of the Seoul Capital Area. Seoul is ranked as the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world and is larger than London and Paris.[11][12]

Strategically situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back over two thousand years, when it was founded in 18 BCE by the people of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. The city was later designated the capital of Korea under the Joseon dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by a mountainous and hilly landscape, with Bukhan Mountain located on the northern edge of the city. As with its long history, 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.[13] More recently, Seoul has been a major site of modern architectural construction – major modern landmarks include the N Seoul Tower, the 63 Building, the Lotte World Tower, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, Trade Tower, COEX, and the Parc1 Tower. Seoul was named the 2010 World Design Capital. As the birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received over 10 million international visitors in 2014,[14] making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.[15]

Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from the South Korean economic boom - commonly referred to as the Miracle on the Han River - which transformed it into the world's 7th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$635.4 billion[16] in 2014 after Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. International visitors generally reach Seoul via AREX from the Incheon International Airport, notable for having been rated the best airport for nine consecutive years (2005–2013) by the Airports Council International. In 2015, it was rated Asia's most livable city with the second highest quality of life globally by Arcadis, with the GDP per capita (PPP) in Seoul being $39,786. Inhabitants of Seoul are faced with a high cost of living, for which the city was ranked 6th globally in 2017.[17][18][19] Seoul is also an extremely expensive real estate market, ranked 5th in the world for the price of apartments in the downtown center.[20] With major technology hubs centered in Gangnam and Digital Media City,[21] the Seoul Capital Area is home to the headquarters of 15 Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung,[22] LG, and Hyundai. 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.[23] Seoul has hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, and more recently the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit.

Seoul

서울시
Seoul Special City
서울특별시
Seoul montage.
Flag of Seoul
Flag
Official seal of Seoul
Seal
Coat of arms of Seoul
Coat of arms
Official logo of Seoul
Wordmark
Map of South Korea with Seoul highlighted
Map of South Korea with Seoul highlighted
Seoul is located in South Korea
Seoul
Seoul
Map of South Korea with Seoul highlighted
Seoul is located in Asia
Seoul
Seoul
Seoul (Asia)
Seoul is located in Earth
Seoul
Seoul
Seoul (Earth)
Coordinates: 37°34′N 126°58′E / 37.567°N 126.967°ECoordinates: 37°34′N 126°58′E / 37.567°N 126.967°E
CountrySouth Korea
RegionSeoul Capital Area
Districts
Government
 • TypeMayor–Council
 • MayorPark Won-soon (Democratic)
 • BodySeoul Metropolitan Government
Seoul Metropolitan Council
 • National Representation
 - National Assembly
49 / 300
16.3% (total seats)
49 / 253
19.4% (constituency seats)
Area
 • Special City605.21 km2 (233.67 sq mi)
Elevation
38 m (125 ft)
Population
(2018[2])
 • Special City9,838,892
 • Density16,000/km2 (42,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
25,600,000
 • Demonym
서울시민 (Seoul-simin), Seoulite
 • Dialect
Gyeonggi
BirdKorean magpie
ColorSeoul Red[3]
FlowerForsythia
FontSeoul fonts (Seoul Hangang and Seoul Namsan)[4]
MascotHaechi
Slogan"I·SEOUL·U"[5]
Song"S.E.O.U.L"
TreeGinkgo
GDP PPP (Special City)US$717 billion[6]
GDP PPP per capita (Special City)US$65,126[7][8]
Websiteseoul.go.kr
Seoul
Seoul in Hangul (RS)
"Seoul" in hangul
Revised RomanizationSeoul
McCune–ReischauerSŏul
Seoul Special Metropolitan City
Revised RomanizationSeoul Teukbyeolsi
McCune–ReischauerSŏul T'ŭkpyŏlsi

Etymology

The city has been known in the past by the names Wiryeseong (Hangul위례성; Hanja慰禮城, during the Baekje era), Hanyang (한양; 漢陽, during the Goryeo era), Hanseong (한성; 漢城, during the Joseon era), Keijō (경성; 京城, during the colonial era).[24]

During Japan's annexation of Korea, "Hanseong" (漢城) was renamed to "Keijō" (京城) by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja '' (a transliteration of an ancient Korean word "Han" () meaning "Great"), which refers to Han people or the Han dynasty and in Japanese is a term for "China".[25]

Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city", which is believed to have descended from an ancient word, Seorabeol (Hangul서라벌; Hanja徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla.[26] Ancient Gyeongju was also known in documents by the Chinese-style name Geumseong (金城, literally "Gold Castle/City" or "Metal Castle/City"), but it is unclear whether the native Korean-style name Seorabeol had the same meaning as Geumseong.

Unlike most place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding hanja (Chinese characters used in the Korean language). On January 18, 2005, the Seoul government changed its official Chinese name from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng), which was still in common use, to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr).[27][28][29]

History

Donggwol-do
Donggwoldo, the landscape painting of Changdeokgung

Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, began around 4000 BCE.[30]

Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BCE) in the northeastern Seoul area.[30] There are several city walls remaining in the area that date from this time. Pungnaptoseong, an earthen wall located southeast Seoul, is widely believed to have been at the main Wiryeseong site.[31] 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.[32]

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.[30] When Joseon replaced Goryeo, the capital was moved to Seoul (also known as Hanyang or 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.[30] After Joseon changed her name to the Korean Empire in 1897, Hwangseong also designated Seoul.

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 (Hangul북악산; Hanja北岳山), north of the downtown area[33]), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Heunginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun).[34] During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells at the Bosingak belfry.[35] 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[36] and a decade later Seoul also implemented electrical street lights.[37]

Much of the development was due to trade with foreign countries like France and the 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.[38] 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."[39]

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 by US forces at the end of World War II.[30]

In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul, and was designated as a special city in 1949.[30]

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.[30] 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.[40]

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.[40] From the 1970s, the size of Seoul administrative area greatly expanded as it annexed a number of towns and villages from several surrounding counties.[41]

Until 1972, Seoul was claimed by North Korea as its de jure capital, being specified as such in Article 103 of the 1948 North Korean constitution.[42]

According to 2012 census data, the population of the Seoul area makes up around 20% of the total population of South Korea,[43] Seoul has become the economic, political and cultural hub of the country,[30] with several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, SK Holdings, Hyundai, POSCO and LG Group headquartered there.[44]

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

Geography

Seoul is in the northwest of South Korea. Seoul proper comprises 605.25 km2 (233.69 sq mi),[1] with a radius of approximately 15 km (9 mi), 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).[45] 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, Bukhansan 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

Under the Köppen climate classification, Seoul has a humid continental climate, also bordering a humid subtropical climate. The suburbs of Seoul are generally cooler than the center of Seoul because of the urban heat island effect.[46] Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until September. August, the hottest month, has average high and low temperatures of 32.6 and 23.4 °C (91 and 74 °F) with higher temperatures possible. Winters are usually cold to freezing with average January high and low temperatures of 1.5 and −5.9 °C (34.7 and 21.4 °F) and are generally much drier than summers, with an average of 24.9 days of snow annually. Sometimes, temperatures drop dramatically to below −10 °C (14 °F), and on some occasions as low as −15 °C (5 °F) in the mid winter period of January and February. Temperatures below −20 °C (−4 °F) have been recorded.[47]

Air quality

2015 PM2.5 Air Pollution Index in Seoul (hourly)
   Very Unhealthy
   Unhealthy
   Unhealthy for sensitive groups
   Moderate
  Good
According to the Environmental Performance Index 2016, South Korea ranked 173rd out of 180 countries in terms of air quality. More than 50 percent of the populations in South Korea exposed to dangerous levels of fine dust.[52][53]

Air pollution is a major issue in Seoul.[54][55][56][57] According to the 2016 World Health Organization Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database,[58] the annual average PM2.5 concentration in 2014 was 24 micrograms per cubic metre (1.0×10−5 gr/cu ft), which is 2.4 times higher than that recommended by the WHO Air Quality Guidelines[59] for the annual mean PM2.5. The Seoul Metropolitan Government monitors and publicly shares real-time air quality data.[60]

Since the early 1960s, the Ministry of Environment has implemented a range of policies and air pollutant standards to improve and manage air quality for its people.[61] The "Special Act on the Improvement of Air Quality in the Seoul Metropolitan Area" was passed in December 2003. Its 1st Seoul Metropolitan Air Quality Improvement Plan (2005–2014) focused on improving the concentrations of PM10 and nitrogen dioxide by reducing emissions.[62] As a result, the annual average PM10 concentrations decreased from 70.0 μg/m3 in 2001 to 44.4 μg/m3 in 2011[63] and 46 μg/m3 in 2014.[58] As of 2014, the annual average PM10 concentration was still at least twice than that recommended by the WHO Air Quality Guidelines.[59] The 2nd Seoul Metropolitan Air Quality Improvement Plan (2015–2024) added PM2.5 and ozone to its list of managed pollutants.[64]

Asian dust, emissions from Seoul and in general from the rest of South Korea, as well as emissions from China, all contribute to Seoul's air quality.[55][65] A partnership between researchers in South Korea and the United States is conducting an international air quality field study in Korea (KORUS-AQ) to determine how much each source contributes.[66]

Administrative districts

01-00-seoul-en
Seoul Districts
Lotte World Tower and Namsan Tower in Seoul
Seoul City and Lotte World Tower

Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Hangul; Hanja) (district).[67] The gu vary greatly in area (from 10 to 47 km2 or 3.9 to 18.1 sq mi) 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" (; ) 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 (행정동) in total.[67] Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (; ), 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.[68] As of 2015, the population was 9.86 million,[69] in 2012, it was 10,442,426.

[70] 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, urban sprawling to Gyeonggi region's satellite bed cities and an aging population.[69]

As of 2016, the number of foreigners living in Seoul was 404,037, 22.9% of the total foreign population in South Korea.[71] As of June 2011, 186,631 foreigners 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 Taiwanese citizens, at 8,717.[72]

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 Christian congregations, Yoido Full Gospel Church, which has around 830,000 members.[73]

Seoul is home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University.[74]

Economy

Gangnam Seoul January 2009
Gangnam Commercial Area

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,[75] and the city generated 23 percent of the country's GDP overall in 2012.[76] In 2008 the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index ranked Seoul No.9.[77] The Global Financial Centres Index in 2015 listed Seoul as the 6th financially most competitive city in the world.[78] The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Seoul 15th in the list of "Overall 2025 City Competitiveness" regarding future competitiveness of cities.[79]

Manufacturing

The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries;[80][81] however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries.[80] 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;[82] top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery.[83] It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Holdings, Namyang Dairy Products 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.[84] Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island),[80] which is often called "South Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s.[85] The Seoul international finance center & SIFC MALL, Hanhwa 63 building, the Hanhwa insurance company head office. Hanhwa is one of the three largest South 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.[86] Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets.[87] The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul.[88]

Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold.[89] Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products.[90][91] Some shops for local designers have opened in Samcheong-dong, where numerous small art galleries are located. While Itaewon had catered mainly to foreign tourists and American soldiers based in the city, Koreans now comprise the majority of visitors to the area.[92] The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul[92] 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.[93]

Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen.[94]

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 in time for the Seoul Olympics . 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.

Technology

Seoul has been described as the world's "most wired city",[95] ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report.[96] Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure.[97][98]

Seoul is among the world leaders in Internet connectivity, being the capital of South Korea, which has the world's highest fibre-optic broadband penetration and highest global average internet speeds of 26.1 Mbit/s.[99][100] Since 2015, Seoul has provided free Wi-Fi access in outdoor spaces through a 47.7 billion won ($44 million) project with Internet access at 10,430 parks, streets and other public places.[101] Internet speeds in some apartment buildings reach up to 52.5Gbit/s with assistance from Nokia, and though the average standard consists of 100 Mbit/s services, providers nationwide are rapidly rolling out 1Gbit/s connections at the equivalent of US$20 per month.[102] In addition, the city is served by the KTX high-speed rail and the Seoul Subway, which provides 4G LTE, WiFi and DMB inside subway cars. 5G will be introduced commercially in March 2019 in Seoul.

Architecture

Sungryemun of seoul
Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun)

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.[103] Jongno street, meaning "Bell Street", has been a principal street and one of the earliest commercial streets of the city,[104][105] 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

Changdeokgung-Injeongjeon
Changdeokgung, one of the five grand palaces of Korea, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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.[106]

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 Jongno and Jung Districts. 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.[107] 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.

Deoksugung-02
Deoksugung in autumn

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 (Hangul몽촌토성; Hanja蒙村土城) is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period that is now located inside the Olympic Park.[31] The Fortress Wall of Seoul was built early in the Joseon dynasty for protection of the city. After many centuries of destruction and rebuilding, about 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.[108] 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, Namsan Seoul Tower, and the Lotte World Tower, dominate the city's skyline. The tallest building is Lotte World Tower, reaching a height of 555m. It opened to the public in April 2017.

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. Three new modern landmarks of Seoul are Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, designed by Zaha Hadid, the new wave-shaped Seoul City Hall, by Yoo Kerl of iArc, and the Lotte World Tower, the 5th tallest building in the world designed by Kohn Pederson Fox.

In 2010 Seoul was designated the World Design Capital for the year.[109]

Culture

Museums

Seoul is home to 115 museums,[110] 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.[111] 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.[112] 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.[113][114]

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.[115][116] The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is currently used as a historic museum.[117]

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. Sajikdan, 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 in Seoul 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. And Yakhyeon Catholic Church in Jungnim-dong, Jung District is first Catholic parish in Korea. It has been the first Gothic church ever built in Korea.

There are many Protestant churches in Seoul. The most numerous are Presbyterian, but there are also many Methodist and Baptist 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.

The St. Nicholas Cathedral, but sometimes called bald church, is the only Byzantine-style church in Seoul. It is located in Ahyeon-dong, Mapo District, and is cathedral of the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea. In 2015, it was designated as a Seoul Future Heritage.

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.[118][119] 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.[120]

Parks

Despite the city's population density, Seoul has a large quantity of parks. One of the most famous parks is Namsan Park, which offers recreational hiking and views of the downtown Seoul skyline. The N Seoul Tower is located at Namsan Park. Seoul Olympic Park, located in Songpa District and built to host the 1988 Summer Olympics is Seoul's largest park. Amongst the other largest parks in the city are Seoul Forest, Dream Forest, Children's Grand Park and Haneul Park. The Wongaksa Pagoda 10 tier pagoda is situated In Tapgol Park, a small public park with an area of 19,599 m2 (210,962 sq ft). Areas around streams serve as public places for relaxation and recreation. Tancheon stream and the nearby area serve as a large park with paths for both walkers and cyclists. Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs nearly 6 km (4 mi) through downtown Seoul, is popular among both Seoul residents and tourists. In 2017 the Seoullo 7017 Skypark opened, spanning diagonally overtop Seoul Station.

There are also many parks along the Han River, such as Ichon Hangang Park, Yeouido Hangang Park, Mangwon Hangang Park, Nanji Hangang Park, Banpo Hangang Park, Ttukseom Hangang Park and Jamsil Hangang Park. The Seoul National Capital Area also contains a green belt aimed at preventing the city from sprawling out into neighboring Gyeonggi Province. These areas are frequently sought after by people looking to escape from urban life on weekends and during vacations. There are also various parks under construction or in project, such as the Gyeongui Line Forest Trail, Seoul Station 7017, Seosomun Memorial Park and Yongsan Park.

Seoul is also home to the world's largest indoor amusement park, Lotte World. Other recreation centers include the former Olympic and World Cup stadiums and the City Hall public lawn.

Sports

Fireworks at the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Summer Games.JPEG
Fireworks at the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul

Seoul is a major center for sports in South Korea. Seoul has the largest number of professional sports teams and facilities in South Korea.

In the history of South Korean major professional sports league championships, which include the K League, KBO League, KBL, V-League, Seoul had multiple championships in a season 2 times, 1990 K League Classi Lucky-Goldstar FC (currently FC Seoul) and KBO League LG Twins in 1990, K League Classic FC Seoul and KBO League Doosan Bears in 2016.[121]

International competition

Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, also known as Asiad, 1988 Olympic Games, and Paralympic Games. It also served as one of the host cities of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Seoul World Cup Stadium hosted the opening ceremony and first game of the tournament.

Taekwondo is South Korea's national sport and Seoul is the location of the Kukkiwon, the world headquarters of taekwondo, as well as the World Taekwondo Federation.

Domestic sports clubs

Football

Seoul's most well-known football club is FC Seoul.

  • Men's football
Tier League Club Home stadium
Top K League 1 FC Seoul Seoul World Cup Stadium (North Seoul)
2nd K League 2 Seoul E-Land Seoul Olympic Stadium (South Seoul)
4th K3 League Seoul United Madeul Stadium
Jungnang Chorus Mustang Jungnang Public Ground
  • Women's football
Tier League Club Home stadium
Top WK League Seoul WFC Hyochang Stadium, Seoul Olympic Auxiliary Stadium

Baseball

League Club Home stadium
KBO League
LG Twins Jamsil Baseball Stadium
Doosan Bears
Nexen Heroes Gocheok Sky Dome

Basketball

League Club Home stadium
KBL
Seoul SK Knights Jamsil Students' Gymnasium
Seoul Samsung Thunders Jamsil Arena

Volleyball

League Division Club Home stadium
V-League
Men Seoul Woori Card Hansae Jangchung Arena
Women GS Caltex Seoul KIXX

Handball

Transportation

Seoul has a well developed transportation network. 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.[122] 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 (155 mi), with one additional line planned. As of 2010, 25% of the population has a commute time of an hour or more.

Bus

Seoul Buses
Seoul Buses

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 handles traffics mainly from Gangwon and Chungcheong provinces.

Urban rail

Seoul has a comprehensive urban railway network of 21 rapid transit, light metro and commuter lines that interconnects every district of the city and the surrounding areas of Incheon, Gyeonggi province, western Gangwon province, and northern Chungnam province. With more than 8 million passengers per day, the subway has one of the busiest subway systems in the world and the largest in the world, with a total track length of 940 km (580 mi). 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, 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 (186 mph). Another train that stops at all major stops are the Mugunghwa and Saemaeul trains. Major railroad stations include:

Airports

Two international airports, Incheon International and Gimpo International, serve Seoul.

Gimpo International Airport opened in 1939 as Japanese Imperial Army airfield, and opened for civil aircraft in 1957. Since opening of Incheon International, Gimpo International handles scheduled domestic flights along with selected short haul international shuttle flights to Tokyo Haneda, Osaka Kansai, Taipei Songshan, Shanghai Hongqiao, and Beijing Capital.

Incheon International Airport, opened in March 2001 in Yeongjong island, is now responsible for major international flights. Incheon International Airport is Asia's eighth busiest airport in terms of passengers, the world's fourth busiest airport by cargo traffic, and the world's eighth busiest airport in terms of international passengers in 2014. In 2016, 57,765,397 passengers used the airport.

Incheon and Gimpo are linked to Seoul by expressway, and to each other by the AREX to Seoul Station. Intercity bus services are available to various destinations around the country.

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 (and named Seoul Bike in English).[123]

Education

Universities

Seoul is home to the majority of South Korea's most prestigious universities, including Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University.

Seoul ranked 10th on the QS Best Student Cities 2018.[124]

Secondary education

Compulsory education lasts from grade 1–9 (six years of elementary school and 3 years of middle school).[125] Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Secondary schools generally require 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 Koreans take the test.

Seoul is home to various specialized schools, including three science high schools, and six foreign language High Schools. 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. In addition, Seoul hosts many embassies of countries it has diplomatic ties with.

1988 Summer Olympics

The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad (Korean: 서울 하계 올림픽; Seoul Hagye Ollimpik; [sʌul xɑɡʲə ɔlːimpʰik̚]), was an international multi-sport event celebrated from 17 September to 2 October 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.

In the Seoul Games, 159 nations were represented by a total of 8,391 athletes: 6,197 men and 2,194 women. 237 events were held and 27,221 volunteers helped to prepare the Olympics. 11,331 media (4,978 written press and 6,353 broadcasters) showed the Games all over the world.These were the last Olympic Games for the Soviet Union and East Germany, as both ceased to exist before the next Olympic Games. The Soviets utterly dominated the medal table, winning 55 gold and 132 total medals. No country came close to this result after 1988.

The games were boycotted by North Korea and its ally, Cuba. Ethiopia, Albania and the Seychelles did not respond to the invitations sent by the IOC. Nicaragua did not participate due to athletic and financial considerations. The participation of Madagascar had been expected, and their team was expected at the opening ceremony of 160 nations. However, the country withdrew because of financial reasons. Nonetheless, the much larger boycotts seen in the previous three Summer Olympics (1976, 1980 and 1984) were avoided, resulting in the largest number of participating nations during the Cold War era.

FC Seoul

FC Seoul (Korean: FC 서울) is a South Korean professional football club based in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, that plays in the K League 1. The club is owned by GS Sports, a subsidiary of GS Group.

The club was officially founded as Lucky-Goldstar Football Club in 1983, by the Lucky-Goldstar Group. FC Seoul have won six League titles, two FA Cups, two League Cups and one Super Cup. FC Seoul is one of the most successful and popular clubs in the K League 1, with financial backing from the GS Group.

In 2012, FC Seoul was evaluated as the most valuable football brand in the K League Classic.

Gimpo International Airport

Gimpo International Airport (Korean: 김포국제공항 [kimpʰoɡuktɕ͈eɡoŋhaŋ]), commonly known as Gimpo Airport (IATA: GMP, formerly SEL, ICAO: RKSS) (formerly Kimpo International Airport), is located in the far western end of Seoul, some 15 km (9 mi) west of the Central District of Seoul. Gimpo was the main international airport for Seoul and South Korea before being replaced by Incheon International Airport in 2001. It now functions as Seoul's secondary airport. In 2015, 23,163,778 passengers used the airport, making it the third largest airport in Korea, as it has been surpassed by Jeju International Airport.

The airport is located south of the Han River in western Seoul. The name "Gimpo" comes from the nearby city of Gimpo, of which the airport used to be a part.

On 29 November 2003, scheduled services between Gimpo and Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan resumed. Services to Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport resumed on 28 October 2007. Services to Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan started on 26 October 2008. Services to Beijing Capital International Airport started on 1 July 2011. Services to Taipei Songshan Airport started on 30 April 2012.

Gyeonggi Province

Gyeonggi-do (Hangul: 경기도, Korean pronunciation: [kjʌŋ.ɡi.do]) is the most populous province in South Korea. Its name, Gyeonggi means "the area surrounding the capital". Thus Gyeonggi-do can be translated as "province surrounding Seoul". The provincial capital is Suwon. Seoul—South Korea's largest city and national capital—is in the heart of the province but has been separately administered as a provincial-level special city since 1946. Incheon—South Korea's third-largest city—is on the coast of the province and has been similarly administered as a provincial-level metropolitan city since 1981. The three jurisdictions are collectively referred to as Sudogwon and cover 11,730 km2 (4,530 sq mi), with a combined population of 25.5 million—amounting to over half of the entire population of South Korea.

IU (singer)

Lee Ji-eun (Hangul: 이지은; born May 16, 1993), professionally known as IU (Hangul: 아이유), is a South Korean singer-songwriter and actress. While still in middle school, IU auditioned for various talent agencies with ambitions of becoming a singer. She signed with Kakao M (formerly LOEN Entertainment) in 2007 as a trainee and began her music career at the age of 15 with her debut album, Lost and Found. Her follow-up albums, Growing Up and IU...IM, brought her mainstream success, but it was through "Good Day" (Korean: 좋은 날), the lead single from her 2010 album Real, that she achieved national stardom. "Good Day" spent five consecutive weeks at the top position of South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart, a joint record along with Psy's "Gangnam Style".With the success of her 2011 albums, Real+ and Last Fantasy, IU established herself as a formidable force on the music charts of her native country and further cemented her girl next door image as Korea's "little sister". 2011 also saw her first foray into songwriting with "Hold My Hand", which was written for the television series The Greatest Love. IU's third full-length album release, Modern Times (2013), showcased a more mature style that was a departure from her established girlish image, with several tracks reaching the top 10 positions on Gaon Digital Chart. While her subsequent releases, including albums A Flower Bookmark, Chat-Shire, and Palette continued to deviate from the mainstream K-pop style, IU retained her dominance on music charts. Chat-Shire marked the first time she is credited as the sole lyricist and producer of her own album.IU has released four studio albums and nine extended plays, scoring three number-one albums and twenty number-one singles on the Gaon Music Charts. As one of the best-selling solo artists in the K-pop industry, which is dominated by boy and girl groups, she has been included on Forbes magazine's annual Korea Power Celebrity list since 2012, reaching a peak ranking of number three in 2012. Billboard recognized IU as the all-time leader of its Korea K-Pop Hot 100 chart with the most number-one songs and the artist who has held the number-one position for the most number of weeks.

According to a Gallup Korea survey, she was the most popular idol and artist among South Koreans in 2017.Aside from her music career, IU has also ventured into hosting radio and television shows, as well as acting. Following her supporting role in teen drama Dream High and minor appearances in several television series, IU starred in You're the Best, Lee Soon-shin, Pretty Man, The Producers, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo and My Mister.

Incheon

Incheon (Hangul: 인천; Hanja: 仁川; Korean pronunciation: [intɕʰʌn]; formerly romanized as Inchŏn; literally "kind river"), officially the Incheon Metropolitan City (인천광역시), is a city located in northwestern South Korea, bordering Seoul and Gyeonggi to the east. Inhabited since the Neolithic, Incheon was home to just 4,700 people when it became an international port in 1883. Today, about 3 million people live in the city, making it South Korea's third most-populous city after Seoul and Busan. The city's growth has been assured in modern times with the development of its port due to its natural advantages as a coastal city and its proximity to the South Korean capital. It is part of the Seoul Capital Area, along with Seoul itself and Gyeonggi Province, forming the world's fifth largest metropolitan area by population.

Incheon has since led the economic development of Korea by opening its port to the outside world, ushering in the modernization of Korea as a center of industrialization. In 2003, the city was designated as Korea's first free economic zone. Since then, large local companies and global enterprises have increasingly invested in the Incheon Free Economic Zone, including Samsung which chose Songdo International City as its new investment destination for its bio industry.

As an international city, Incheon has held numerous large scale international conferences, such as the Incheon Global Fair & Festival in 2009. The 17th Asian Games Incheon 2014 was also held in Incheon on 19 September 2014. Incheon has established itself as a major transportation hub in northeast Asia with the Incheon International Airport and Incheon Port. The city is also home to the Green Climate Fund, an international organization addressing environmental issues.

Incheon International Airport

Incheon International Airport (IIA) (IATA: ICN, ICAO: RKSI) (sometimes referred to as Seoul–Incheon International Airport) is the largest airport in South Korea, the primary airport serving the Seoul Capital Area, and one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. Since 2005, it has been rated the best airport worldwide by Airports Council International every year. It is also rated as the world's cleanest airport and the world's best international transit airport by Skytrax.The airport has a golf course, spa, private sleeping rooms, an ice skating rink, a casino, indoor gardens, and a Museum of Korean Culture. Airport authorities claim that average departure and arrival takes 19 minutes and 12 minutes, respectively, as compared to worldwide average of 60 minutes and 45 minutes, respectively, ranking it among the fastest airports in the world for customs processing. Its duty-free shopping mall has been rated the world's best for three years in a row in 2013 by Business Traveller. Incheon International Airport also claims that it has only a 0.0001% baggage mishandling rate.The airport opened for business on March 29, 2001 to replace the older Gimpo International Airport, which now serves mostly domestic destinations and shuttle flights to several East Asian metropolitan areas including Tokyo, Osaka, Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei.

Incheon International Airport is located west of Incheon's city center, on an artificially created piece of land between Yeongjong and Yongyu Islands. The two islands were originally separated by shallow sea. That area between the two islands was reclaimed for the construction project, effectively connecting the once separate Yeongjong and Yongyu islands. The reclaimed area as well as the two islands are all part of Jung-gu, an administrative district of Incheon.

The airport holds a record of being ranked the Best Airport Worldwide for 11 consecutive years by the Airports Council International (ACI)'s Airport Service Quality Award from 2005 to 2016, and has also been rated the world's best among airports of its size (25–40 million passengers) and region (Asia-Pacific) since 2012 due to the institution's decision to discontinue the Best Airport Worldwide category.Incheon International Airport's terminal has 111 boarding gates altogether, with 44 in Terminal 1, 30 in Concourse A (connected to terminal 1), and 37 in Terminal 2.

The airport was constructed to share the demand for air transport in the 21st century and to serve as a hub airport in Northeast Asia.

Kakao M

Kakao M (Hangul: 카카오M; formerly Seoul Records, YBM Seoul Records and LOEN Entertainment) is a South Korean entertainment company established by Min Yeong-bin in 1978. It is currently one of the largest co-publisher companies in South Korea. The company operates as a record label, talent agency, music production company, event management, concert production company and music publishing house.

As of 2015, the company was the leading record company in South Korea by net revenue according to the statistics compiled by the Korea Music Content Industry Association (KMCIA) through the Gaon Music Chart (30.4%); it is also the second leading company in terms of album sales (25.4%). LOEN Entertainment became a subsidiary of Kakao in January 2016 and was subsequently renamed two years later.Online music sales account for most of the company's profit, with 93.9% of revenue coming from online music sales. The label also distributes CDs of some other entertainment agencies in South Korea through its branch LOEN Music, but makes less than 5% of its revenue through them.As of February 2018, the company's chief executive officer is Lee Jae-wook.

List of districts of Seoul

The Districts (Gu) of Seoul are the twenty-five gu ("districts"; 구; 區) comprising Seoul, South Korea. The gu vary greatly in area (from 10 to 47 km²) and population (from less than 140,000 to 630,000). Songpa is the most populated, while Seocho has the largest area. Gu are similar to London's or New York's boroughs or Tokyo's 23 special wards, and a gu's government handles many of the functions that are handled by city governments in other jurisdictions. This city-like standing is underscored by the fact that each gu has its own legislative council, mayor and sister cities.

Each gu is further divided into dong or neighborhoods. Some gu have only a few dong while others (like Jongno-gu) have a very large number of distinct neighborhoods.

Lotte World Tower

Lotte World Tower (Hangul: 롯데월드타워) is a 123-floor, 555-metre (1,821 ft) supertall skyscraper located in Seoul, South Korea. It opened to the public on April 11, 2017 and is currently the tallest building in South Korea, and is the 5th tallest building in the world.

Olympic symbols

The Olympic symbols are icons, flags, and symbols used by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to elevate the Olympic Games. Some—such as the flame, fanfare, and theme—are more commonly used during Olympic competition, but others, such as the flags, can be seen throughout the years. The Olympic flag was created under the guidance of Baron Coubertin in 1913 and was released in 1914. But it was first hoisted in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium at the 1920 Summer Olympics in the main stadium.

Samsung

Samsung (Hangul: 삼성; Hanja: 三星; Korean pronunciation: [samsʌŋ]; means "tristar" in English) is a South Korean multinational conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest South Korean chaebol (business conglomerate).

Samsung was founded by Lee Byung-chul in 1938 as a trading company. Over the next three decades, the group diversified into areas including food processing, textiles, insurance, securities, and retail. Samsung entered the electronics industry in the late 1960s and the construction and shipbuilding industries in the mid-1970s; these areas would drive its subsequent growth. Following Lee's death in 1987, Samsung was separated into four business groups – Samsung Group, Shinsegae Group, CJ Group and Hansol Group. Since 1990, Samsung has increasingly globalised its activities and electronics; in particular, its mobile phones and semiconductors have become its most important source of income. As of 2017, Samsung has the 6th highest global brand value.Notable Samsung industrial affiliates include Samsung Electronics (the world's largest information technology company, consumer electronics maker and chipmaker measured by 2017 revenues), Samsung Heavy Industries (the world's 2nd largest shipbuilder measured by 2010 revenues), and Samsung Engineering and Samsung C&T (respectively the world's 13th and 36th largest construction companies). Other notable subsidiaries include Samsung Life Insurance (the world's 14th largest life insurance company), Samsung Everland (operator of Everland Resort, the oldest theme park in South Korea) and Cheil Worldwide (the world's 15th largest advertising agency measured by 2012 revenues).Samsung has a powerful influence on South Korea's economic development, politics, media and culture and has been a major driving force behind the "Miracle on the Han River". Its affiliate companies produce around a fifth of South Korea's total exports. Samsung's revenue was equal to 17% of South Korea's $1,082 billion GDP.

Seoul Broadcasting System

Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) (Hangul: 에스비에스; RR: Eseubieseu) is a national South Korean television and radio network company. In March 2000, the company legally became known as SBS, changing its corporate name from Seoul Broadcasting System (서울방송). It has provided terrestrial digital TV service in the ATSC format since 2001, and T-DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) service since 2005. Its flagship terrestrial television station is Channel 6 for Digital and Cable.

Seoul Capital Area

The Seoul Capital Area (SCA), Sudogwon (Hangul: 수도권; Hanja: 首都圈; RR: Sudogwon; MR: Sudokwŏn, [sudoɡwʌn]) or Gyeonggi region (Hangul: 경기 지방; Hanja: 京畿地方; RR: Gyeonggi Jibang; MR: Kyŏnggi Jibang) is the metropolitan area of Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi-do located in north-west South Korea. It has a population of 25 million (as of 2017)[1] and is ranked as the fifth largest metropolitan area in the world. Its area is about 11,704 km2 (4,519 sq mi). It forms the cultural, commercial, financial, industrial, and residential center of South Korea. The largest city is Seoul, with a population of approximately 10 million people, followed by Incheon, with 3 million inhabitants.

Seoul Metropolitan Subway

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is a metropolitan railway system consisting of 22 rapid transit, light metro, commuter rail and people mover lines located in northwest South Korea. The system serves most of the Seoul Metropolitan Area including the Incheon metropolis and satellite cities in Gyeonggi province. Some regional lines in the network stretch out to rural areas in northern Chungnam province and western Gangwon province that lie over 100 km away from the capital as well as Suwon.The network consists of numbered lines 1–9, which serve Seoul City proper and its surroundings and named regional railways that serve the greater metropolitan region and beyond. Most of the system is operated by three companies – Seoul Metro, Korail (Korea National Railroad) and Metro 9. However, there are several other lines stretching out to regional provinces.

Its first metro line, Line 1, started construction in 1971 and opened in 1974, with through-operation to Korail suburban railways. Today, the network is one of the largest and most efficient urban railway systems in the world, with 331.5 km (206.0 mi) of track on lines 1–9 alone; wireless and internet service on all trains; and platform screen doors at all stations apart from a few.

Seoul National University

Seoul National University (SNU; Hangul: 서울대학교; Hanja: 서울大學校; RR: Seoul Daehakgyo, colloquially Seouldae) is a national research university located in Seoul, South Korea.

Founded in 1946, Seoul National University is considered to be the most prestigious university in the country. The university has three campuses: the main campus in Gwanak and two additional campuses in Daehangno and Pyeongchang. The university comprises sixteen colleges, one graduate school and nine professional schools. The student body consists of nearly 17,000 undergraduate and 11,000 graduate students. According to data compiled by KEDI, the university spends more on its students per capita than any other university in the country that enrolls at least 10,000 students.Seoul National University holds a memorandum of understanding with over 700 academic institutions in 40 countries, the World Bank and a general academic exchange program with the University of Pennsylvania. The Graduate School of Business offers dual master's degrees with Duke University, ESSEC Business School and Peking University, double-degrees with the MIT Sloan School of Management and Yale School of Management and MBA-, MS- and PhD-candidate exchange programs with universities in ten countries on four continents. Following a government mandate to globalize Korean universities, the university's international faculty head count peaked at 242 or 4% of the total in 2010, but subsequently declined.Seoul National University, or its undergraduate liberal arts college in particular, finds its roots in Keijo Imperial University, one of the Imperial Universities founded by the Japanese Empire. In the 1940s, with US Military Ordinance No.102 of United States Army Military Government in Korea, Keijo Imperial University was abolished. Later the Government of Republic of Korea merged the remaining part with various colleges and professional schools, and the consolidated institution was renamed as Seoul National University in accordance with the Act of the National University Seoul enacted in the National Assembly.

Seoul Olympic Stadium

The Seoul Olympic Stadium (Hangul: 서울올림픽주경기장; Hanja: 서울올림픽主競技場), also known as Jamsil Olympic Stadium (formerly romanised as Chamshil), is a multi-purpose stadium in Seoul, South Korea. It is the main stadium built for the 1988 Summer Olympics and the 10th Asian Games in 1986. It is the centrepiece of the Seoul Sports Complex in the Songpa District, in the southeast of the city south of the Han River.

Seoul station

Seoul Station is a major railway station in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The station is served by the Gyeongbu Line, its high-speed counterpart and the Gyeongui Line, with frequent high-speed, express, and local services to various points in South Korea.

South Korea

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and lying to the east of the Asian mainland. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. South Korea lies in the north temperate zone and has a predominantly mountainous terrain. It comprises an estimated 51.4 million residents distributed over 100,363 km2 (38,750 sq mi). Its capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of around 10 million.

Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period (2.6 Ma–300 Ka). The history of Korea begins with the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BCE by the mythic king Dangun, but no archaeological evidence and writing was found from this period. The Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in 11th century BCE, and its existence and role has been controversial in the modern era. The written historical record on Gojoseon (Old Joseon) was first mentioned in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Unified Silla in CE 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U.S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea (ROK), while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was established in the Soviet zone. The United Nations at the time passed a resolution declaring the ROK to be the only lawful government in Korea.The Korean War began in June 1950 when forces from North Korea invaded South Korea. The war lasted three years and involved the U.S., China, the Soviet Union and several other nations. The border between the two nations remains the most heavily fortified in the world. Under long-time military leader Park Chung-hee, the South Korean economy grew significantly and the country was transformed into a G-20 major economy. Military rule ended in 1987, and the country is now a presidential republic consisting of 17 administrative divisions.

South Korea is a highly developed country and a high-income economy, with a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world. The country is considered a regional power and is the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 12th largest by PPP as of 2010. South Korea is a global leader in the industrial and technological sectors, being the world's 5th largest exporter and 8th largest importer. Its export-driven economy primarily focuses production on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics. South Korea is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, the United Nations, Uniting for Consensus, G20, the WTO and OECD and is a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit.

Climate data for Seoul (normals 1981–2010, extremes 1907–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.4
(57.9)
18.7
(65.7)
23.8
(74.8)
29.8
(85.6)
34.4
(93.9)
37.2
(99.0)
38.4
(101.1)
39.6
(103.3)
35.1
(95.2)
30.1
(86.2)
25.9
(78.6)
17.7
(63.9)
39.6
(103.3)
Average high °C (°F) 1.5
(34.7)
4.7
(40.5)
10.4
(50.7)
17.8
(64.0)
23.0
(73.4)
27.1
(80.8)
28.6
(83.5)
29.6
(85.3)
25.8
(78.4)
19.8
(67.6)
11.6
(52.9)
4.3
(39.7)
17.0
(62.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.4
(27.7)
0.4
(32.7)
5.7
(42.3)
12.5
(54.5)
17.8
(64.0)
22.2
(72.0)
24.9
(76.8)
25.7
(78.3)
21.2
(70.2)
14.8
(58.6)
7.2
(45.0)
0.4
(32.7)
12.5
(54.5)
Average low °C (°F) −5.9
(21.4)
−3.4
(25.9)
1.6
(34.9)
7.8
(46.0)
13.2
(55.8)
18.2
(64.8)
21.9
(71.4)
22.4
(72.3)
17.2
(63.0)
10.3
(50.5)
3.2
(37.8)
−3.2
(26.2)
8.6
(47.5)
Record low °C (°F) −22.5
(−8.5)
−19.6
(−3.3)
−14.1
(6.6)
−4.3
(24.3)
2.4
(36.3)
8.8
(47.8)
12.9
(55.2)
13.5
(56.3)
3.2
(37.8)
−5.1
(22.8)
−11.9
(10.6)
−23.1
(−9.6)
−23.1
(−9.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 20.8
(0.82)
25.0
(0.98)
47.2
(1.86)
64.5
(2.54)
105.9
(4.17)
133.2
(5.24)
394.7
(15.54)
364.2
(14.34)
169.3
(6.67)
51.8
(2.04)
52.5
(2.07)
21.5
(0.85)
1,450.5
(57.11)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 6.5 5.8 7.4 7.8 9.0 9.9 16.3 14.6 9.1 6.3 8.7 7.4 108.8
Average snowy days 8.0 5.2 3.4 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 2.1 6.1 24.9
Average relative humidity (%) 59.8 57.9 57.8 56.2 62.7 68.1 78.3 75.6 69.2 64.0 62.0 60.6 64.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 160.3 163.3 189.0 205.0 213.0 182.0 120.0 152.5 176.2 198.8 153.2 152.6 2,066
Percent possible sunshine 52.3 53.6 51.0 51.9 48.4 41.2 26.8 36.2 47.2 57.1 50.2 51.1 46.4
Source: Korea Meteorological Administration[48][49][50] (percent sunshine and snowy days)[51]

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