Intro to Seoul

Since we are waiting and it will likely be a number of months before we actually get to travel to Korea I thought it best to start planning sites and places that we will try and visit while we are there. Along the way I hope to learn some of the history and culture. I think it will also help pass some of the time and distract me a little bit from the wait (at least I’m hoping that it does).

To start with Seoul is actually the 2nd largest metropolitan area in the world, behind Tokyo. The population is over 26 million and more then ½ of South Koreans live in the greater metropolitan area of Seoul. It is the 10th most visited city in the world. Seoul is the world’s most wired city and has the largest subway network in the world.

However one only has to travel a generation or two back to find a much different Seoul. From 1910-1945 Seoul and the rest of Korea were annexed by Japan. With the end of World War II, Korea was split along the 38th parallel into North Korea (ruled by USSR) and South Korea. After a surprise attack by the North on Seoul in 1950 the Korean War went on for 3 years and Seoul changed hands between the north and south many times leaving much of the city in ruins. After the war, the 38th parallel was established as the border between North Korea and South Korea and there is an area that runs along the 38th parallel known as the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ.

After the war Seoul focused in on reconstruction and modernization. And over the last 50-60 years it has exploded into the metropolitan area that it is now.

Seoul is located in the north west section of South Korea. The city of Seoul is split into a northern and southern half by the Han River that flows through the middle of it. Seoul is also surrounded by 8 mountains, although they only consider 4 of them as their guardian mountains.

And so that is the beginning. There is much more to learn about and areas to explore. I could find a number of photos (ie google images), but I think I’ll wait until I actually get to go and can show you Seoul through my camera lens.

The info came from a number of different sources including google, Wikipedia, websites, and Lonely Planet Seoul.