Seoul

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Seoul
서울시
Seoul Special City
서울특별시
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From top, left to right: Seongsan Bridge over the Han River, Deoksugung, Gangnam District, skyline at night, Gyeongdong Market, Cheonggyecheon, Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Flag of Seoul.svg
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Motto(s): 
"I   Seoul   U" [1]
Anthem: none [2]
Seoul
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Seoul
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Seoul
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Seoul
Coordinates: 37°33′36″N126°59′24″E / 37.56000°N 126.99000°E / 37.56000; 126.99000 Coordinates: 37°33′36″N126°59′24″E / 37.56000°N 126.99000°E / 37.56000; 126.99000
Country Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea
Area Seoul Capital
Districts 25 districts
Government
  Type Mayor–council
  Body Seoul Metropolitan Government
Seoul Metropolitan Council
   Mayor Oh Se-hoon (People's Power)
   National Assembly 49
Area
[3]
  Total605.21 km2 (233.67 sq mi)
Elevation
38 m (125 ft)
Population
 (2021) [4]
  Total9,765,869
  Rank 1st
  Density16,000/km2 (42,000/sq mi)
   Demonym
Seoulite
  Dialect
Gyeonggi
Bird Korean magpie
ColorSeoul Red [5]
Flower Forsythia
FontSeoul fonts (Seoul Hangang and Seoul Namsan) [6]
MascotHaechi
Tree Ginkgo
Nominal GDP
(Special City)
US$384 billion [7]
Nominal GDP per capita
(Special City)
US$39,558 [7]
Website Official website (English)
   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 are exposed to dangerous levels of fine dust.

Air pollution is a major issue in Seoul. [49] [50] [51] [52] According to the 2016 World Health Organization Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, [53] the annual average PM2.5 concentration in 2014 was 24 micrograms per cubic meter (1.0×10−5 gr/cu ft), which is 2.4 times higher than that recommended by the WHO Air Quality Guidelines [54] for the annual mean PM2.5. The Seoul Metropolitan Government monitors and publicly shares real-time air quality data. [55]

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. [56] 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. [57] As a result, the annual average PM10 concentrations decreased from 70.0 μg/m3 in 2001 to 44.4 μg/m3 in 2011 [58] and 46 μg/m3 in 2014. [53] As of 2014, the annual average PM10 concentration was still at least twice than that recommended by the WHO Air Quality Guidelines. [54] The 2nd Seoul Metropolitan Air Quality Improvement Plan (2015–2024) added PM2.5 and ozone to its list of managed pollutants. [59]

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. [50] [60] 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. [61]

Besides air quality, greenhouse gas emissions represent hot issues in South Korea since the country is among top-10 strongest emitters in the world. Seoul is the strongest hotspot of greenhouse gas emissions in the country and according to satellite data, the persistent carbon dioxide anomaly over the city is one of the strongest in the world. [62]

Government

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Seoul City Hall

Administrative districts

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Districts of Seoul

Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Korean : ; Hanja : ) (district). [63] 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 neighborhoods. Some gu have only a few dong while others like Jongno District have a very large number of distinct neighborhoods. Gu of Seoul consist of 423 administrative dongs (행정동) in total. [63] Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (;), which are further divided into 102,796 ban in total.

Demographics

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
19501,021,000    
19602,361,000+8.74%
19705,312,000+8.45%
19808,244,000+4.49%
199010,518,000+2.47%
20009,879,000−0.62%
20109,796,000−0.08%
20209,963,000+0.17%
source: [64]

Seoul proper is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York City and eight times greater than Rome. Its metropolitan area was the most densely populated among OECD countries in Asia in 2012, and second worldwide after that of Paris. [65] As of 2015, the population was 9.86 million, [66] in 2012, it was 10.44 million. As of 2021, the population is 9.59 million. [67]

[68] As of the end of June 2011, 10.29 million Republic of Korea citizens lived in the city. This was a 0.24% 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. [66]

As of 2016, the number of foreigners living in Seoul was 404,037, 22.9% of the total foreign population in South Korea. [69] 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. [70]

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. [71] According to the 2015 census, 10.8% of the population follows Buddhism and 35% follows Christianity (24.3% Protestantism and 10.7% Catholicism). 53.6% of the population is irreligious. [72]

Religion in Seoul (2015) [72]

  Not religious (53.6%)
   Protestantism (24.3%)
   Buddhism (10.8%)
   Catholicism (10.7%)
  Other (0.6%)

Seoul is home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University. [73] Native Seoulites tend to speak the Gyeonggi dialect of Korean.[ citation needed ]

Economy

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

Manufacturing

The traditional, labor-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries; [79] [80] however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries. [79] 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; [81] top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery. [82] It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Holdings, Namyang Dairy Products and Lotte.

Finance

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Yeouido

Seoul hosts large concentration of headquarters of International companies and banks, including 15 companies on fortune 500 list such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. [83] Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island), [79] which is often called "South Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s. [84] 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 & Kyobo life insurance group.

Commerce

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Myeong-dong

The largest wholesale and retail market in South Korea, the Dongdaemun Market, is located in Seoul. [85] Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. [86] The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul. [87]

Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold. [88] Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products. [89] [90] 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. [91] The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul [91] 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. [92]

Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen. [93]

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. The 2nd World trade trade center is being planned 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", [94] ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report. [95] Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure. [96] [97]

Seoul is among the world leaders in Internet connectivity, being the capital of South Korea, which has the world's highest fiber-optic broadband penetration and highest global average internet speeds of 26.1 Mbit/s. [98] [99] 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. [100] 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. [101] 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

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Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun)
Seoul, South Korea skyline with 63 Building (63 Square) in 2001 Seoul, South Korea skyline with Building 63, 2001.jpg
Seoul, South Korea skyline with 63 Building (63 Square) in 2001

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

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. [105]

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. [106] 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.

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 (Korean : 몽촌토성; Hanja : 蒙村土城) is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period that is now located inside the Olympic Park. [24] 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 23 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. [107] Located 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

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Lotte World Tower

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. It is also the 4th highest building in the world.

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. [108]

Culture

Museums

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Gyeongcheonsa Pagoda at the National Museum of Korea
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The War Memorial of Korea

Seoul is home to 115 museums, [109] including four national and nine official municipal museums. Among 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. [110] In October 2005, the museum moved to a new building in Yongsan Family Park.

The National Folk Museum is located 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. [111] 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. [112] [113]

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. [114] [115] The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is used as a historic museum. [116]

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

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Myeongdong Cathedral

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.[ citation needed ]

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. [117] [118] 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. [119]

Parks

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Seoul Botanic Park
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Han River Park

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. Among 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 located 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.

Media

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KBS headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul

Seoul is home of the major South Korean networks KBS, SBS, and MBC. The city is also home to the major South Korean newspapers Chosun Ilbo, Donga Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, and Hankook Ilbo.

Sports

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Seoul Olympic Stadium
Fireworks at the closing ceremonies of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul 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 two 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. [120]

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
TierLeagueClubHome stadium
Top K League 1 FC Seoul Seoul World Cup Stadium
2nd K League 2 Seoul E-Land Mokdong Stadium
4th K4 League Seoul Jungnang FC Jungnang Public Ground
Seoul Nowon United Nowon Madeul Stadium
  • Women's football
TierLeagueClubHome stadium
Top WK League Seoul WFC Seoul World Cup Auxiliary Stadium

Baseball

LeagueClubHome stadium
KBO League
LG Twins Jamsil Baseball Stadium
Doosan Bears
Kiwoom Heroes Gocheok Sky Dome

Basketball

LeagueClubHome stadium
KBL
Seoul SK Knights Jamsil Students' Gymnasium
Seoul Samsung Thunders Jamsil Arena

Volleyball

LeagueDivisionClubHome stadium
V-League
Men Seoul Woori Card WooriWON 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. [121] 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 longer.

Bus

Seoul buses Seoul Buses.png
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

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Seoul Station

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 is 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

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KTX Sancheon

Seoul is connected to every major city in South Korea by rail. Most major South Korean cities are linked via the KTX high-speed train, which has a normal operation speed of more than 300 km/h (186 mph). The Mugunghwa and Saemaeul trains also stop at all major stations. Major railroad stations include:

Airports

Seoul is served by two international airports, Incheon International Airport and Gimpo International Airport.

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

Incheon International Airport opened in March 2001 in Yeongjong island. It 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 International Airport opened terminal 2 on January 18, 2018.

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). [122]

Education

Universities

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Entrance of Seoul National University

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

Seoul ranked 3rd on the QS Best Student Cities 2022. [123]

Secondary education

Compulsory education lasts from grade 1–9 (six years of elementary school and 3 years of middle school). [124] Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. Secondary schools generally require students to 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.

Sister cities

Seoul has 23 sister cities: [125]

See also

Related Research Articles

Incheon City in Seoul Capital Area, South Korea

Incheon, formerly Jemulpo until the period after 1910, 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.

Seoul Metropolitan Subway Seoul metropolitan railway system

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 beyond the Seoul Metropolitan Area to rural areas in northern Chungnam province and western Gangwon province, that lie over 100 km away from the capital.

Yongin Specific city in Gyeonggi, South Korea

Yongin is a major city in the Seoul Capital Area, the largest in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. With a population over 1 million, the city has developed rapidly since the 21st century, recording the highest population growth of any city in the country. Yongin is home to Everland and Caribbean Bay, South Korea's most popular amusement and water parks. The city is also home to the Korean Folk Village, the largest of its kind. Yongin-si is a multi-nuclear city with multiple urban centers, not a single nuclear structure, and Giheung-gu crosses the Yeongdong Expressway and Dongbaek, while Suji-gu crosses Pungdeokcheon Stream and Jukjeon.

Cheongju Specific city in North Chungcheong, South Korea

Cheongju is the capital and largest city of North Chungcheong Province in South Korea.

Heunginjimun

Heunginjimun, literally "Gate of Rising Benevolence" or more commonly known as Dongdaemun, is one of The Eight Gates of Seoul in the Fortress Wall of Seoul, a prominent landmark in central Seoul, South Korea. The Korean name "Dongdaemun" means "Great East Gate," and it was so named because it was the major eastern gate in the wall that surrounded Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty. The gate is located at Jongno 6-ga in Jongno-gu.

History of Seoul Overview of the history of Seoul

The history of Seoul can be traced back as far as 18 BC, although humans have occupied the area now known as Seoul since Paleolithic Age. It has been the capital of numerous kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula since it was established.

Gangnam District Autonomous District in Sudogwon, South Korea

Gangnam District is one of the 25 local government districts which make up the city of Seoul, South Korea. Gangnam literally means "South of the (Han) River". Gangnam District is the third largest district in Seoul, with an area of 39.5 km2 (15.3 sq mi). As of the 2017 census, Gangnam District had a population of 561,052. There is a high concentration of wealth in the district with prices for an apartment as of 2020 having risen by 83 times in 40 years compared to just 6 times in the rest of Seoul. Gangnam district is generally referred to as a part of Gangnam School District Eight(강남 8학군), along with Seocho District. This district shares half of Gangnam-daero Gangnam Station area with Seocho District, which is one of the most crowded places in Korea.

Seocho District Autonomous District in Sudogwon, South Korea

Seocho District (Korean: 서초구) is one of the 25 gu which make up the city of Seoul, South Korea. Seocho is generally referred to as a part of Greater Gangnam Area, along with Gangnam District. As of 2019, Seocho District ranks as the second richest neighborhood in South Korea and among the most expensive areas in Seoul with an average sales price of 47.75 million South Korean won per 3.3 square meters. South Korea's rich are concentrated in the three Gangnam districts including Seocho, known as Gangnam District Eight(강남 8학군).

Jung District, Seoul Autonomous District in Sudogwon, South Korea

Jung District is one of the 25 districts of Seoul, South Korea.

Seongdong District Autonomous District in Sudogwon, South Korea

Seongdong District (Seongdong-gu) is one of the 25 gu which make up the city of Seoul, South Korea. It is situated on the north bank of the Han River. It is divided into 20 dong (neighbourhoods).

Jongno District Autonomous District in Sudogwon, South Korea

Jongno District is a district in central Seoul, South Korea. It takes its name from a major local street, Jongno, which means "Bell Road".

Dongdaemun District Autonomous District in Sudogwon, South Korea

Dongdaemun District is one of the 25 districts of Seoul, South Korea.

Gwangjin District Autonomous District in Sudogwon, South Korea

Gwangjin District (Gwangjin-gu) is one of the 25 wards (gu) of Seoul, South Korea. It is located on the north bank of the Han River, to the eastern end of Seoul. It was created from neighboring Seongdong District in 1995.

Jamsil station

Jamsil Station is an underground station on Line 2 and Line 8 of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway. Lotte World is continuous with the Line 2 station. The station is also called Songpa-gu Office Station (송파구청역), due to the proximity of the office building.

Express Bus Terminal station

Express Bus Terminal Station is a station on the Seoul Subway Line 3, Line 7, and Line 9. The stations are located in Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul.

Cheongdam-dong Place in South Korea

Cheongdam-dong is a ward of Gangnam District in Seoul, South Korea. The area is best known in South Korea as an affluent neighborhood populated by a disproportionately high number of high-income individuals and for having some of the most expensive real estate in the country. It is known as an upmarket shopping area, with the main shopping street dubbed 'Cheongdam Fashion Street'. Along with Apgujeong’s Rodeo Street in Apgujeong-dong and Garosu-gil in Sinsa-dong, which are connected by the main Apgujeong-ro, they are seen as fashionable and trendsetting destinations.

Sinsa-dong, Gangnam Place in South Korea

Sinsa-dong is a ward of Gangnam-gu in Seoul, South Korea. This district contains many department stores, hairshops, churches, boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

Shopping in Seoul Overview of the shopping habits in Seoul

Seoul, South Korea has many shopping areas and markets throughout the city, including Myeong-dong, Cheongdam-dong, Hongdae area, Dongdaemun and Namdaemun markets.

Seoul Capital Area Metropolitan area in South Korea

The Seoul Capital Area (SCA), Sudogwon or Gyeonggi region is the metropolitan area of Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province, located in north-west South Korea. Its population of 26 million is ranked as the fifth largest metropolitan area in the world. Its area is about 12,685 km2 (4,898 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.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Seoul, South Korea.

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Preceded by
Capital of Baekje
18 BC – 475 AD
Succeeded by
Preceded by Capital of Korea
1394–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
New creation
Capital of South Korea
1948–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent