سِئول (به کرهای: 서울) پایتخت و بزرگترین شهر جمهوری کره (که معمولاً به عنوان کره جنوبی شناخته میشود) است. قلب سئول از دو منطقه شامل اطراف کلانشهر اینچون (Incheon) و منطقه گیونگی (Gyeonggi) تشکیل شده و شانزدهمین شهر بزرگ جهان است. ناحیه پایتختی سئول نیمی از جمعیت ۵۰/۲۲ میلیون نفری کشور را همراه با ۶۷۸٫۱۰۲ نفر از ساکنان خارجی در خود جای دادهاست. و شهر سئول جمعیتی حدود ۱۰ میلیون نفر دارد.
شهر سئول از ساختار زیربنایی بسیار پیشرفتهای برخوردار است و متروی آن که هرساله بیش از ۲۰۰ میلیون مسافر را جابهجا میکند. متروی سئول سومین شبکه بزرگ مترو در جهان است.
سئول بیش از دو هزار سال است که از سکونتگاههای اصلی منطقه خود بهشمار میآید و بنیاد آن به سال ۱۸ پیش از میلاد بازمیگردد.
در سالهای (۱۸ ق.م. - ۶۶۰ ب. م) یکی از سه پادشاهی اصلی کره، پایتخت خود را در جایی که هماکنون جنوب خاوری سئول است قرار داد. این شهر پایتخت دودمان چوسان (۱۳۹۲–۱۹۱۰) هم بودهاست.
سئول، پایتخت کرهٔ جنوبی (جمهوری کره)، در شمال غربی این کشور و بر رودخانهٔ هان (Han River)، واقع شدهاست. این شهر در ۳۱ کیلومتری بندر دریای زرد ((Yellow Sea شهر اینچئون (Incheon) و در حدود ۴۰ کیلومتری مرز کره شمالی قرار دارد. سئول بزرگترین شهر و مرکز مهم تجاری، تولیدی، اداری و فرهنگی کرهٔ جنوبی است. واژهٔ Seoul اصطلاحی کرهای و به معنای شهر پایتخت است. این شهر از بدو شکلگیری با عنوان هانسانگ (Hansong) شناخته میشد ولی در سال ۱۹۱۱ به کیونسانگ Kyongsong)) تغییر نام پیدا کرد. این شهر بهطور رسمی از سال ۱۹۴۵، هنگامیکه کره پس از ۳۵ سال از حکومت مستعمراتی ژاپن آزاد شد، سئول نامیده میشود. سئول دارای آب و هوایی قارهای با چهار فصل مجزاست که شامل تابستانهای گرم و مرطوب و زمستانهای سرد و نسبتاً خشک هستند. میانگین درجهٔ بالای حرارت برابر یک درجهٔ سانتی گراد در ماه ژانویه و ۲۹ درجهٔ سانتی گراد در ژوئیه است. میزان متوسط بارندگی سالیانهای که سئول دریافت میکند برابر با ۳۷۰/۱ میلیمتر است که ۷۰ درصد آن بهطور معمول بین ماههای ژوئیه و سپتامبر میبارد.
سئول و نواحی کلانشهری آن[ویرایش]
سئول پهنهای با مساحت ۶۰۵ کیلومتر مربع را پوشش میدهد که ۳۷ کیلومتر آن از شرق به غرب و ۳۰ کیلومتر آن از شمال به جنوب امتداد مییابد. شهر توسط کوههایی احاطه شده که بلندترین آنها کوه بوکَنسان (Bukhansan) با ارتفاعی برابر ۸۳۶ متر از سطح دریاست. با شروع پادشاهی چوسان (Choson) در سال ۱۹۳۲، سئول با دیوار مستحکمی که دور تا دور آن را فرامیگرفت ساخته شد. این دیوار شامل ۴ دروازهٔ اصلی و ۴ دروازهٔ فرعی بود: دروازهٔ اصلی در مسیرهای مهم تعبیه شده بود و دروازهٔ فرعی در میانهٔ این مسیرها قرار داشت. بخش اندکی از این دیوار سنگی هنوز هم وجود دارد و تنها دو دروازهٔ اصلی و یکی از دروازههای فرعی باقیماندهاند. همچنین برج ناقوس داری در پارک نامسان (Namsan Park)) قرار گرفته که شامل ناقوس برنزی بزرگی است که در سال ۱۴۶۸ ساخته شدهاست.
سئول توسط رودخانهٔ هان که از شرق به غرب و به سمت دریای زرد جریان دارد، به دو بخش تقسیم شدهاست. شهر به لحاظ اداری شامل ۲۲ بخش (gu) است که به ۵۲۶ ناحیهٔ زیرمجموعه تقسیم شدهاند. مراکز تجاری و بازرگانی در نواحی مرکزی و به گونهای فزاینده در بخش جنوبی رودخانهٔ هان، واقع شدهاند. کارخانهها در قسمت غربی شهر و به ویژه در ناحیهٔ یانگ دِنگ پو (Yeongdeungpo) تمرکز یافتهاند. فقیرترین نواحی مسکونی شهر اغلب در قسمت شرقی شهر قرار دارند. ضلع شمالی شهر کوهستانی است و پارکهای زیادی دارد چنانچه کاخ ریاست جمهوری با عنوان چونگ وادا ((Chongwadae یعنی خانهٔ آبی، شناخته میشود. دو تا از بزرگترین بازارهای خارج از شهر در نزدیکی دروازهٔ جنوبی (South Gate) (نامداِمون Namdaemun) و دروازهٔ شرقی (East Gate) (Dongdaemun دانگ داِمون) واقع شدهاند. میونگ دانگ، واقع در بخش مرکزی سئول، (Myongdong)، که پس از ناحیهٔ شیک High fashion توکیو، گینزای سئول لقب گرفتهاست، مرکز خرید و مدهای زنانه و همچنین جایگاه استقرار بزرگترین کلیسای جامع کاتولیک رومی (Roman Catholic) است. از سال ۱۹۶۰ تا میانهٔ سالهای ۱۹۹۰ بخش جنوبی رودخانهٔ هان شاهد رشد بیسابقه در ساخت و ساز فروشگاهها و آپارتمانهایی برای قشر متوسط رو به بالا، بود. بناهای یادبود معماری از جمله اَرک استقلال (Independence Arc) در سال ۱۸۹۶ و نزدیک به دروازهٔ قدیمی غربی شهر، ساخته شدهاند. مجسمهٔ فرمانده یی سانسین (Yi Sunsin)، که از کره در برابر حملات سالهای ۱۵۹۲ تا ۱۵۹۷ ژاپنیها دفاع کرد، در جزیرهای در مرکز سی جانگنو Sejongno))، معبر اصلی مرکز شهر، واقع شدهاست. مجسمهای از پادشاه سی جانگ، کسی که مخترع الفبای کرهای با عنوان Hangeulدر سال ۱۴۴۶ بود نیز در کاخ دیکسو (Deoksu Palace) قرار دارد.
سئول مشتمل بر بناهایی است که از دورهٔ پادشاهی چوسان (۱۹۱۰–۱۹۳۲) بر جای ماندهاند، این بناها شامل چهار کاخ اصلی هستند: کاخ چانگ دِئوک (Changdeok Palace)، کاخ چانگی یونگ Palace) (Changgyeong، کاخ جیونگ بوک (Geongbok Palace) و کاخ دوکسا (Deoksu Palace). معبد جانگ میو (Jongmyo Shrine) جایگاه لوحهای اجدادی خاندان سلطنتی چوسان است و تشریفات یادبودی کنفوسیوسیها برای خانوادهٔ سلطنتی همه ساله در این معبد برگزار میشود. ساختمانهای مهم کشوری از جمله تالار شهر سئول و دادگاه عالی در بخش مرکزی شهر مستقر هستند و ساختمان مجلس ملی نیز در جزیره یوئیده Youido در جنوب غربی رودخانهٔ هان، واقع شدهاست. ساختمان سنگی با ابهتی مقابل کاخ جونگ بوک در سال ۱۹۲۶ توسط ژاپنیها ساخته شد تا جایگاهی برای حکومت مستعمراتی همگانی باشد. این ساختمان پس از سال ۱۹۴۵ توسط دولت کرهٔ جنوبی اشغال و در سال ۱۹۸۵ به موزهٔ ملی بدل شد. در ۱۵ آگوست ۱۹۹۵برابر با پنجاهمین سالگرد استقلال از ژاپن، دولت کرهٔ جنوبی شروع به ایجاد تغییراتی در شیوهٔ ساخت و ساز کرد تا بدین ترتیب یکی از قابل رؤیتترین بقایای بر جای مانده از حکومت مستعمراتی ژاپنیها را، بزداید.
سئول مرکز حکومتی، تجاری، مالی و تولیدی کرهٔ جنوبی است. بخشهای حکومتی شهری و فدرالی کارفرمایان اصلی شهر هستند.. کارخانجات تولیدی عمده شامل نساجی، پوشاک، تولیدات فلزی، محصولات شیمیایی، غذای آماده شده، تجهیزات الکترونیکی و الکتریکی، ماشین آلات و مواد چاپی هستند. بورس سهام تجاری کره نیز در جزیرهٔ یوئیدو واقع است. ایستگاه راهآهن سئول ایستگاه نهایی برای خطوط راهآهن اصلی شمال-جنوب و شرق-غرب در کرهٔ جنوبی بهشمار میآید. سئول همچنین برای راههای اتوبوسرانی با فواصل زیاد و بزرگراههای اصلی کاربری دارد. فرودگاه بینالمللی اینچئون (Incheon (International Airport در غرب بخش مرکزی سئول واقع شدهاست.
جمعیت: در سال ۲۰۰۳، ۹٬۷۱۴٬۰۰۰ نفر یا قریب به یک چهارم جمعیت کرهٔ جنوبی در سئول زندگی میکردند. از سال ۱۹۴۵ مهاجرت از نواحی روستایی به شهری در سراسر کرهٔ جنوبی افزایش یافتهاست و سئول بزرگترین دریافتکنندهٔ این مهاجرتها بودهاست. جمعیت سئول پس از جنگ کره (۱۹۵۳–۱۹۵۰) رشد سریعی داشت به گونه ایکه از میزانی کمتر از یک میلیون در سال ۱۹۴۵ به چیزی بالغ بر ۲ میلیون در سال ۱۹۶۰، ۵ میلیون تا سال ۱۹۷۰، ۸ میلیون تا سال ۱۹۸۰ و ۱۰ میلیون تا سال ۱۹۸۸ رسید. در سال ۱۹۹۵ تراکم جمعیتی شهر در حدود ۱۶٬۹۰۰ نفر در هر کیلومتر مربع بود. همچون کرهٔ جنوبی به عنوان یک کل، سئول نیز دارای جمعیتی همگن بود و تنها درصد بسیار اندکی از افراد با نسب غیر کرهای و اغلب شامل بازدیدکنندگان خارجی و چینیهای مقیم، بودند. رشد سریع جمعیت در سئول فشارهای فراوانی را بر زیرساختها و محیط وارد ساخت که از جمله شامل تراکم ترافیک، کمبود مسکن و آلودگی آب و هوا، هستند. سئول ۱٫۶۵ میلیون وسیلهٔ نقلیهٔ ثبت شده دارد که در حدود ۷۰ درصد از آنها ماشینهای مسافرتی هستند. سامانهٔ مترو ابتدا در سال ۱۹۷۴ ساخته شد و در سال ۱۹۸۰ گسترش زیادی یافت و همه روزه۵٫۳۲ میلیون مسافر را جابجا میکرد. برنامهٔ توسعه خطوط مترو هنوز هم کمتر نشانگر حل مشکلاتی همچون تراکم ترافیک است مشکلی که علت آلودگی هوایی و صوتی، تصادفات جدی و ناسازگاریهای بسیاری در شهر بهشمار میرود. برای تخفیف مشکلات ناشی از تراکم بسیار جمعیت در سئول، در اوایل سالهای ۱۹۷۰ آپارتمانهایی برای ساکنین شهری ساخته شد. ساختمانهای آپارتمانی چند طبقه اکنون در سرتاسر سئول گسترش یافته و به آرامی دامنهٔ کوههای مجاور را در بر میگیرند. بیش از نیمی از ۱٫۷ میلیون خانواده در سئول ساکن مجموعههای آپارتمانی هستند. در اواخر سالهای ۱۹۸۰، دولت کرهٔ جنوبی از طریق پروژههای مختلفی همچون تصفیه و پاکسازی رودخانهٔ بسیار آلوده شدهٔ هان و تصویب قانون منع آلودگی در کارخانهها و وسائط نقلیهٔ خصوصی، به مسئلهٔ آلودگی محیطی پرداخت. در حالیکه این قبیل پروژهها به درجاتی از موفقیت دست یافتهاند ولی آلودگی، به ویژه آلودگی ناشی از اتومبیلها و کارخانهها، هنوز هم خطر جدی برای کیفیت زندگی در سئول بهشمار میآید.
فرهنگ و آموزش[ویرایش]
سئول مرکز آموزشی و فرهنگی کرهٔ جنوبی است. این شهر دارای بیش از ۵۰ کالج و دانشگاه است که این میزان چیزی بیش از یک چهارم نهادهای آموزشی عالی در کشور کرهٔ جنوبی است. تمامی دانشگاههای رده بالای کرهٔ جنوبی در سئول واقع اند که شامل: دانشگاه چانگ آنگ (Chung-ang) (۱۹۱۸)، دانشگاه زنان Ewha (۱۸۸۶)، دانشگاه کره (۱۹۰۵)، دانشگاه ملی سئول (۱۹۴۶)، دانشگاه سوگانگ ((Sogang (۱۹۶۰)، دانشگاه سانگ کیون کوآن ((Sung Kyun Kwan (۱۹۳۸) و دانشگاه یانسِی (Yonsei) (۱۸۸۵)، هستند. موزهٔ ملی کره مجموعههایی از هنر و محصولات مصنوعی کره را به نمایش میگذارد و موزهٔ ملی علوم نیز ارائه گر تکنولوژی مدرن کرهاست. کتابخانهٔ ملی کره، بزرگترین کتابخانه در کشور، در سئول واقع است. تعداد زیادی سینما و تئاتر در سرتاسر شهر وجود دارد و مرکزیت بیشتر تئاترهای سینمایی motion-picture theaters در ناحیهٔ Jongno است. مراکز اصلی هنری از جمله مرکز فرهنگی سی جانگ Sejong))، بزرگترین مرکز هنرهای نمایشی کرهٔ جنوبی، در سیجونگو Sejongno، مرکز سئول، واقع شدهاست. مرکز هنرهای نمایشی سنتی کره که رقص و موسیقی سنتی کرهایها را به نمایش میگذارد نیز در محلهٔ سو چو (Seocho) قرار دارد.
تفریح و سرگرمی[ویرایش]
بیون Biwon یا باغ اسرارآمیز (Secret Garden) که پیش از این تفرجگاهی برای حاکمان یی Yi از خاندان چوسان بودهاست، اکنون پارک عمومی است که مساحتی برابر با ۳۲ هکتار را دقیقاً در شمال کاخ چانگ دوک (Changdeok)، اشغال میکند. پارک نامسان (Namsan) بر کوه نامسان در جنوب مرکزی شهر واقع شدهاست. در قلهٔ این کوه قلعهٔ نامسان قرار دارد که شامل یک رستوران و ایوان دیدهبانی است. پارک ساجیک (Sajik) جایگاه محرابهایی است که پیش از این توسط پادشاهان یی مورد استفاده قرار میگرفت همچون معبدی برای قوم تانگون Tangun که از نیاکان افسانهای مردم کره بهشمار میرود.
پارک پاگودا (Pagoda) در اول مارس ۱۹۱۹ محل گردهمایی برای قرائت اظهارنامهٔ کرهایها در مورد آزادی بود که موجی از اعتراضات علیه حکومت مستعمراتی ژاپنیها، به راه انداخت. پارک کودکان سئول محل مهیجی برای کودکان بهشمار میآید و پارک بزرگ سئول (Seoul Grand Park) دارای باغ وحشی است که بیش از ۴۰۰۰ حیوان از ۱۸۷ گونهٔ متفاوت را در بر میگیرد.
استادیوم دانگ دائِمون (Dongdaemun) در شرق کره محل برگزاری بازیهای فوتبال و بیس بال و همچنین سایر ورزش هاست. اگرچه بزرگترین مرکز ورزشی در جنوب شرقی شهر و منطقهٔ جامسیل (Jamsil) واقع شده؛ محل استقرار مجموعههای ورزشی اصلی که به منظور برگزاری بازیهای المپیک تابستانی در سال ۱۹۸۸ ساخته شد. این مرکز شامل استادیوم المپیک، مجموعهٔ ورزشی، استخر شنای سرپوشیده، استادیوم بیسبال و سایر تجهیزات ورزشی است. در شرق این مرکز پارک المپیک ((Olympic Park قرار دارد که مساحت آن در حدود ۳ کیلومتر مربع است، قلعهٔ نظامی مانگ آن (Mongch' on) نیز در مرکز این پارک جای گرفتهاست. پارک شامل امکاناتی برای ورزش، گرد هم آییهای عمومی و هنرهای نمایشی است.
خواهرخواندگی با تهران[ویرایش]
نامگذاری خیابان تهران در سئول و خیابان سئول در تهران به همین مناسبت انجام شدهاست. خیابان تهران در سئول در منطقه گانگنام قرار دارد مرکز تجمع ساختمانهای بزرگ و دفاتر شرکتهای عمده تجاری، بانکها و شرکتهای صنعتی مانند سامسونگ و الجی است.
پانویس و منبع[ویرایش]
Wikipedia contributors, "Seoul," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Seoul&oldid=439090212 (accessed July 14, 2011).
Seoul (//, like soul; Korean: 서울 [sʌ.ul] (listen); lit. "Capital"), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. With surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, Seoul forms the heart of the Seoul Capital Area. Ranked as an alpha world city, Seoul was the world's 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$635.4 billion 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. In 2017, the cost of living in Seoul was ranked 6th globally. In 2018, Seoul's real estate market was ranked 5th in the world for the price of apartments in the downtown center.
With major technology hubs centered in Gangnam and Digital Media City, the Seoul Capital Area is home to the headquarters of 15 Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, 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. Seoul has hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, and more recently the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit.
Strategically situated along 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. 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 IFC Seoul. 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, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism.
The city has been known in the past by the names Wiryeseong (Korean: 위례성; 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).
During Japan's annexation of Korea, "Hanseong" (漢城) was renamed "Keijō" (京城) by the Imperial authorities to prevent confusion with the hanja '漢' (a transliteration of an ancient Korean word "Han" (한) meaning "Great"), which coincidentally refers to Han people or the Han dynasty in Chinese and in Japanese is a term for "China".
Its current name originated from the Korean word meaning "capital city", which is believed to have descended from an ancient word, Seorabeol (Korean: 서라벌; Hanja: 徐羅伐), which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla. 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 name in Chinese characters from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng) to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr).
Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BC) in the northeastern area of modern Seoul. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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 (Korean: 북악산; Hanja: 北岳山), north of the downtown area), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Heunginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun). During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells at the Bosingak belfry. 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 and a decade later Seoul also implemented electrical street lights.
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. 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."
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.
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. 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.
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. From the 1970s, the size of Seoul administrative area greatly expanded as it annexed a number of towns and villages from several surrounding counties.
According to 2012 census data, the population of the Seoul area makes up around 20% of the total population of South Korea, Seoul has become the economic, political and cultural hub of the country, with several Fortune Global 500 companies, including Samsung, SK Holdings, Hyundai, POSCO and LG Group headquartered there.
Seoul is in the northwest of South Korea. Seoul proper comprises 605.25 km2 (233.69 sq mi), 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). 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.
Seoul has a humid subtropical climate influenced by the monsoons (Köppen: Cwa). Being in the extreme east Asia, the climate can be described as humid continental with great variation of the precipitation throughout the year and warm to hot summer (Dwa, by 0 °C isoterm). The suburbs of Seoul are generally cooler than the center of Seoul because of the urban heat island effect. 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.
Air pollution is a major issue in Seoul. According to the 2016 World Health Organization Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, 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 for the annual mean PM2.5. The Seoul Metropolitan Government monitors and publicly shares real-time air quality data.
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. 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. As a result, the annual average PM10 concentrations decreased from 70.0 μg/m3 in 2001 to 44.4 μg/m3 in 2011 and 46 μg/m3 in 2014. As of 2014, the annual average PM10 concentration was still at least twice than that recommended by the WHO Air Quality Guidelines. The 2nd Seoul Metropolitan Air Quality Improvement Plan (2015–2024) added PM2.5 and ozone to its list of managed pollutants.
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. 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.
Seoul is divided into 25 gu (Korean: 구; Hanja: 區) (district). 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" (동; 洞) 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. Dong are also sub-divided into 13,787 tong (통; 統), which are further divided into 102,796 ban in total.
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. As of 2015, the population was 9.86 million, in 2012, it was 10.44 million.
 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.
As of 2016, the number of foreigners living in Seoul was 404,037, 22.9% of the total foreign population in South Korea. 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.
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.
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, and the city generated 23 percent of the country's GDP overall in 2012. In 2008 the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index ranked Seoul No.9. The Global Financial Centres Index in 2015 listed Seoul as the 6th financially most competitive city in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Seoul 15th in the list of "Overall 2025 City Competitiveness" regarding future competitiveness of cities.
The traditional, labour-intensive manufacturing industries have been continuously replaced by information technology, electronics and assembly-type of industries; however, food and beverage production, as well as printing and publishing remained among the core industries. 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; top selling beer producers Hite (merged with Jinro) and Oriental Brewery. It also hosts food giants like Seoul Dairy Cooperative, Nongshim Group, Ottogi, CJ, Orion, Maeil Holdings, Namyang Dairy Products and Lotte.
Seoul hosts large concentration of headquarters of International companies and banks, including 15 companies on fortune 500 list such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Most bank headquarters and the Korea Exchange are located in Yeouido (Yeoui island), which is often called "South Korea's Wall Street" and has been serving as the financial center of the city since the 1980s. 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.
The largest wholesale and retail market in South Korea, the Dongdaemun Market, is located in Seoul. Myeongdong is a shopping and entertainment area in downtown Seoul with mid- to high-end stores, fashion boutiques and international brand outlets. The nearby Namdaemun Market, named after the Namdaemun Gate, is the oldest continually running market in Seoul.
Insadong is the cultural art market of Seoul, where traditional and modern Korean artworks, such as paintings, sculptures and calligraphy are sold. Hwanghak-dong Flea Market and Janganpyeong Antique Market also offer antique products. 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. The Gangnam district is one of the most affluent areas in Seoul 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.
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.
Seoul has been described as the world's "most wired city", ranked first in technology readiness by PwC's Cities of Opportunity report. Seoul has a very technologically advanced infrastructure.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. Jongno street, meaning "Bell Street", has been a principal street and one of the earliest commercial streets of the city, 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
Seoul is home to 115 museums, 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. 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. 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.
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. The Seodaemun Prison is a former prison built during the Japanese occupation, and is currently used as a historic museum.
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.
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.
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. 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[update], Seoul has hosted Ultra Music Festival Korea, an annual dance music festival that takes place on the 2nd weekend of June.
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 home of the major South Korean networks KBS, SBS (Yangcheon), and MBC (Mapu). The city is also home to the major South Korean newspapers Chosun Ilbo, Donga Ilbo, Joongang Ilbo, and Hankook Ilbo.
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.
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.
Domestic sports clubs
Seoul's most well-known football club is FC Seoul.
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. 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[update], 25% of the population has a commute time of an hour or more.
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.
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.
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:
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 International Airport expanded its size by opening terminal 2 on January 18, 2018.
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).
Seoul is home to the majority of South Korea's most prestigious universities, including Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Sogang University, Hanyang University and Sungkyunkwan University.
Compulsory education lasts from grade 1–9 (six years of elementary school and 3 years of middle school). 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[update].
Tourism and living information