COME & VISIT
Tourists in Seoul will find that the capital has two rivers. One is the Hangang (River), running through the center of the city and the other is Cheonggyecheon (Stream) flowing through the downtown areas. Clear water streaming through the very heart of Seoul is sure to astonish anyone who visits it.
Seoul is the most cutting-edge and futuristic Korean city, and its urban beauty is well known abroad as well. High-rises stand proudly in great number, and roads and the roads and other facilities also boast of the traditional and modern grace of the city.
An all-gray urban view, however, could strike both residents and visitors as dry and dreary. No one could fully enjoy his or her travel in a city that is apparently chic but feels cold and suffocating.
Fortunately, various streams run throughout the city of Seoul. Today, these streams, where dirty water and sewage once flowed, have been reborn as new cultural and recreational areas for Seoulites and visitors. The streams help to wash away soulless images of downtown as well as offer a natural touch and eco-friendly warmth.
In particular, Seoul streams are welcomed as a precious place to experience nature living in the heart of a metropolis. Chattering through a forest of buildings like in a fairytale landscape, with a shoal of fish lively swimming in them, Seoul streams give a clean and clear image to the city.
Four major streams of Seoul are Cheonggyecheon (Stream), Jungnangcheon (Stream), Yangjaecheon (Stream) and Hongjecheon (Stream), and their banks have been recently remodeled in a fancy and modernized way. They have now become public parks, with a variety of leisure and recreational facilities newly built. Fountains, bridges and various sculptures stand above the streams for a picture-perfect view. A stroll around any of these parks with a cup of coffee will give visitors to Seoul an unforgettable memory of their stay.
Especially, different trees and flowers in the environs of Seoul streams present very different scenic spectacles each season. The sweet-smelling flowers along the banks also wonderfully refreshing.
Situated near the Donga Ilbo building at Sejong-ro, where Cheonggyecheon begins, Cheonggye Plaza offers its visitors the pleasant sight of a candle fountain illuminated by differently colored lights, and a four meter high waterfall. There is also a pond called "Palseokdam" made of stones collected from all eight of the nation’s provinces. This fantastic symphony of water and light fascinates visitors every night. A miniature of the Cheonggyecheon area is also a must see attraction in the plaza.
Gwangtonggyo, in front of the SK Building at Seorin-dong, has been restored to its original shape, that of the tomb of Queen Shindeok , the second wife of Joseon Dynasty founder Lee Seong-gye (King Taejo), at Jeongneung, northeastern Seoul . The area around the bridge was a commercial center of the city during the Joseon period, with people trading all manner of goods.
Your entertainment options in this area are further increased due to the close proximity of the Seoul Gallery or the chance to dine at "nakjigolmok", where most restaurants serve extremely spicy grilled octopus dishes.
On display between Gwanggyo (Bridge) and Samilgyo (Bridge) is "Jeongjo Daewang Neunghaeng Banchado", a portrayal of the 8 day procession, in 1795, of King Jeongjo (the 22nd king of Joseon) as he escorted the Queen Mother, Hyegyeonggung Hong, to Hwaseong (currently in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do). They were making this trip to visit the tomb (Hyeollyungwon) of King Jeongjo's late father, so as to celebrate his 60th birthday.
This magnificent artwork, 63 pages long in its original form, displays a procession consisting of 1,779 people and 779 horses. Under the direction of the most famous Joseon artist, Kim Hong-do, the dynasty’s greatest painters at that time (such as Kim Deuk-sin, Lee In-mun, Chang Han-jong and Lee Myung-kyu) worked together to create this colossal piece of great artistic and historical value.
Fashion Square, located between Beodeuldari (Bridge) and Ogansugyo (Bridge), offers visitors the Culture Wall, numerous works of art, a stream fountain, and small cultural stage. Popular clothes shopping malls like Doota and Migliore are scattered around here.
The Culture Wall stands on the upper stream of Ogansumun (Floodgates) and consists of works each of which measures 10 meters wide and 2.5 meters high by five contemporary Korean artists. Their theme is harmony between man and nature.
As a place where women washed clothes and children went swimming, Cheonggyecheon, for a long period, was the main stage where the everyday life of the country's common people was conducted. One such laundry site has been restored in an area between Dasangyo (Bridge) and Yongdogyo (Bridge) and offers an opportunity to feel a tad of Korea's traditional sentiment. Decorated with 16 willow trees, the laundry site keeps Korean history intact in the hearts of its modern people.
About 20,000 people painted their wishes on this monumental wall stretching between Hwanghakgyo (Bridge) and Biudanggyo (Bridge). From Seoulites to provincial residents, from the displaced in North Korea to overseas Korean nationals, various Korean citizens participated in the creation of this pair of 50 meter wishing walls. Each wall is composed of 10 centimeter square ceramic tiles, each of which contains the written wishes.
The removal of the old Cheonggye Expressway in Seoul was completed in August 2003. However, three of its support pillars were left in place between Biudanggyo (Bridge) and Muhakgyo (Bridge) as a symbol of the nation's industrialization. The message in this was clear: to signify to future generations the historical significance of this restoration.
Visitors of Biudanggyo (Bridge) also can walk under a splendidly illuminated overhead fountain. This fountain, which spurts from 42.5 meter stone pillars, is 50 meters long and 16 meters wide.
This is a man-made swamp which acts as a natural habitat to various aquatic plants and other wild flora and fauna. Here, Cheonggyecheon visitors can experience unaffected nature by observing wild ducks, white herons and spot-billed ducks, as well as mudfish, carp, dace, catfish and minnows.