City Overview


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Located at the heart of the Korean Peninsula, Seoul has always been an important strategic point throughout the centuries in terms of defense and the economy, from one kingdom to the next. The three kingdoms of Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla (BCE 57 – CE 688) all fought over the area that is now Korea’s capital. Indeed, whichever kingdom claimed Seoul became the dominant power. The Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1910) declared Seoul its capital, a role that Seoul still plays to this day.


World History

266 BC
Rome unifies the Italian Peninsula
221 BC
Emperor Qin Shi Huang unifies China


Seoul’s History

Seoul’s History 30,000 BC

30,000 BC
The site in Myeonmok-dong, Seoul, is formed.
20,000 BC
The sites in Yeoksam-dong and Garak-dong, Seoul, are formed.
5000 BC
The site in Amsa-dong, Seoul, is formed.
The site in Garak-dong, Seoul, is formed.  


World History

Pompeii is buried by the eruption of Vesuvius
Later Han of China is divided into Wei, Shu, and Wu
The West Roman Empire falls.
The Tang Dynasty of China is established.
China’s paper-making skills spread to the Saracens in the wake of the Battle of Talas




2~3 Century AD
Pungnaptoseong Fortress is built.
3~4 Century AD
The tombs in Seokchon-dong, Seoul, are built. Mongchontoseong Fortress is built.
Baekje occupies the lower reaches of the Han (River)
Silla occupies the lower reaches of the Han (River)
A monument of King Jinheung of Silla is erected on Bukhansan (Mountain)
Goguryeo attacks Silla’s Bukhansan Fortress.
Silla establishes Bukhansan-ju(referring to its newly occupied area north of the Han River).


Silla establishes Jangeuisa Temple in Hansan-ju (present-day Seoul) to pray for the peace of the spirits of two military commanders killed in action
Incorporation of the present-day Seoul area into Hansan-ju
The area of  present-day Seoul is renamed Hanyang-gun


World History

Europe engages in seven major Crusades against Muslim territories in the East
Genghis Khan of Mongolia leads an expedition against Europe



A stone inscribed with Yangju

The area of present-day Seoul is renamed Yangju (during the Goryeo period)
The area of present-day Seoul is renamed Namgyeong
Kim Wi-je recommends relocation of the capital to Namgyeong
Royal palaces are built in Namgyeong.
Namgyeong is renamed Hanyang-bu in the fifth year of the reign of King Gongmin of Goryeo
Hanyang-bu is renamed Namgyeong
Royal palaces and castle walls are built in Namgyeong (in the sixth year of the reign of King Gongmin).
King U of Goryeo decides to relocate the capital to Hanyang (in the eighth year of his reign).
King U relocates the capital to Gaegyeong
King U attempts to relocate the capital to Hanyang in the 13th year of his reign. Jungheungsanseong Fortress is built.


World History

Columbus discovers the New Continent
The Industrial Revolution
The American Revolution
The French Revolution
The Opium Wars between China and Great Britain
Alexander Bell invents the telephone
The first modern Olympic Games are held in Athens
The Berlin Wall l falls.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is established.
America’s Apollo 11 lands on the Moon
The Vietnam War comes to an end.
The Xinhai Revolution takes place in China
World War I
World War II
Windows 95 marks a milestone in software development.



The appearance of Hanyang

The appearance of Hanyang

October 1394
Joseon relocates the capital to Hanyang
Hanyang-bu is renamed Hanseong-bu
September 1396
Construction of the castle walls surrounding Hanyang is completed.
February 1398
Construction of Sungnyemun Gate is completed.
The capital is moved from Hanseong to Gaeseong.
September 1404
Construction of Gyeongbokgung Palace is completed.
October 1405
The capital is moved to Hanseong. Changdeokgung Palace is built.
April 1407
The five bridges, along with the streets, in Hanseong-bu are named.
Stores to be leased to people in Sijeon (a government-operated market) are built.
February 1426
Houses and 116 stores in Sijeon are destroyed by a large fire in Hanseong-bu.
February 1506
The boundaries of the capital are designated.
September 1601
Donggwanwangmyo (known as Dongmyo), a shrine for Guan Yu, a third Century Chinese military commander, is built in Hanseong.
November 1619
1,000 houses and Nambyeolgung Palace are destroyed by a large fire in Hanseong.
Gyeonghigung Palace is repaired.
Construction of Bukhansanseong Fortress commences.
The capital’s boundaries are re-designated.
Work commences on the overhaul of streams in Hanseong, based on a newly formulated plan. Juncheon Jeolmok (Regulations on Streams) is drawn up.
Stream banks in Hanseong are reinforced with stones
May 1842
Streams in the capital are dredged.
January 1852
The Hanseong-bu building is destroyed by fire.
April 1864
Stores between Gwangtonggyo (Bridge) and Jonggak are destroyed by fire.
April 1865
Repair work on Gyeongbokgung Palace begins.


The country’s first clock/watch shop opens in Gurigae (present-day Euljiro 1-ga)
April 1894
The country’s first dental clinic opens on Namdaemun-ro
July 1896
Seoul City re-arranges districts within the city and commences work to improve Seoul’s sewage system.
September 1896
Seoul City announces urban planning between Hwangtohyeon and Heunginmun Gates and between Daegwangtonggyo (Bridge) and Sungnyemun Gate.
January 1897
Appearance of the first oil-fueled street lights in Seoul.
May 1899
A single-track streetcar begins operating between Seodaemun and Cheongnyangni.
April 1899
Severance Hospital is built by an American.
April 1900
Hanseong Electric Company installs three street lights on Jongno 3-ga.
June 1902

Hanseong Phone Exchange begins operations (13 customers, one of which is Korean)

June 1904
Public toilets are installed. Relieving oneself in the street is prohibited.
March 1908
Part of the Seoul City Wall is demolished to build tracks for a streetcar.
August 1906∼ August 1908

The installation of water supply pipes is completed.

October 1909
Installation of underground gas supply pipes at Jingogae (Ridge) commences.
June 1910
Construction of the stone embankment at the Hang River Wharf (Yongsan-Seogang) commences.
December 1910
Siheung-gun is incorporated into Yeongdeungpo-gu.

A historical photograph of Seoul

The first Japanese-owned taxi business is launched in Gyeongseong.
December 1912
Construction of the double-track of Hangangcheolgyo (Railroad Bridge) is completed.
January 1913
Gyeongseong land value and grading is reassessed.
June 1915
The decision is made to relocate Jonggak following a re-zoning of Gyeongseong.
October 1917
Construction of the Hangang Indogyo (Bridge) is completed.
December 1919
Public markets open in Myeong-dong and Jongno.
July 1925
Yongsan and Ttukseom areas are flooded.
October 1925
Gyeongseong Stadium opens.
December 1925
A ridge beam installation ceremony is held at the Gyeongseong-bu Office building (Seoul City Hall).
April 1928
Gyeongseong-bu commences operation of intra-city bus lines (base fare: 7 jeon).
April 1929
Yeouido Airport opens.
January 1930

Construction of the Gyeonseong branch (present-day Shinsegae) of Japan’s Mitsukoshi Department Store is completed.

August 1934~October 1936
Hangang Indogyo (Bridge) is built.
July 1938
Price labels for consumer goods are introduced in Gyeongseong.
August 1938
Gyeongseong-bu restricts liquor licenses and business practices at alcohol-serving establishments.
September 1939
Construction of Gyeongseong Chojiya Department Store (present-day Midopa) is completed.

Hangang Indogyo

The city’s name is changed from Gyeongseong to Seoul.
August 1948
The number of registered vehicles in Seoul stands at 4,706.
March 1949
The first Seoul Culture Prize is awarded.
July 1952
The Hangangcheolgyo (Railroad Bridge) re-opens following repairs.
September 1953
The Seoul Intra-City Bus Cooperative is established.
January 1954
The Seoul Tax Cooperative is established.
May 1955

Seoul City commences demolition of unauthorized buildings.

May 1958
Hangang Indogyo (Bridge) re-opens.

Seoul Subway

1958~December 1961
The Cheonggyecheon (Stream) is paved over with concrete.
December 1961
Mapo Apartments, the country’s first apartment complex, is built.
January 1962
Seoul Metropolitan Government’s announcement of the Seoul Citizens’ Charter.
May 1962

Seoul Metropolitan Government announces the Seoul Citizens’ Charter.

Construction of a pedestrian underpass at Gwanghwamun is completed.
January 1966~December 1969
Construction begins on Hanganggyo 1 (Bridge) (present-day Hannamdaegyo)
June 1967
The Seun Arcade and a pedestrian underpass on Taepyeong-ro are opened.
August 1967
Construction of the Cheonggye Overpass is completed.
April 1968
A bronze statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin is erected on Sejong-ro.
November 1968
Street cars in Seoul cease operation.
March 1969~August 1970
Namsan Tunnels 1 and 2 are built.
April 1970
Wau Apartments in Mapo collapse.
December 1971
Daeyeongak Hotel is destroyed by fire.
April 1971~August 1974
Seoul Subway Line 1 is built.
July 1972

Jamsildaegyo (Bridge) opens.

May 1973
Seoul Children’s Grand Park opens in Neung-dong.
May 1976~May 1978
Namsan Tunnel 3 is built.
April 1978
Sejong Center for the Performing Arts opens.
September 1979
Seongsudaegyo (Bridge) opens.

Seoul Subway

January 1977~May 1984
Seoul Grand Park opens in Gwacheon.
March 1978~May 1984
Seoul Subway Line 2 is built.
October 1985
Seoul Subway Lines 3 and 4 open.
May 1986
The 88 Olympic Expressway opens.
October 1986
The first cruise boats commence operation on the Han River.
The country’s first McDonald’s opens in Apgujeong-dong.
February 1991
Regulations on automobile-use are enacted with the intention of reducing the amount of automobile traffic by 10%.
October 1994
Seongsudaegyo (Bridge) collapses.
November 1994
Seoul City celebrates the 600th year of Seoul’s establishment as the capital of the Joseon Dynasty, culminating in the burial of a commemorative time capsule.
January 1995
The pay-per-bag household waste disposal system is adopted.
February 1995
Bus-only traffic lanes are introduced.
June 1995
Sampoong Department Store collapses.
May 1990~November 1995
Construction of Seoul Subway Line 5 is carried out.
April 1996
Construction of Seoul Park, in Yeouido Plaza, begins.
November 1998
Construction of Seoul World Cup Stadium, in Sangam-dong, begins.


World History

March 2000
Taiwan’s first regime change in 50 years takes place.
December 2000
George Bush of the Republican Party is elected as President of the United States.
September 2001
The 9/11 terrorist attacks occur in the United States.
March 2003
US invades Iraq.
February 2005
Kyoto Protocol officially enacted.
December 2006
Ban Ki-moon takes office as the eighth UN Secretary General.
January 2008
Obama inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States.
May 2008
Earthquake strikes in Sichuan, China.
September 2008
Global Financial Crisis begins.
March 2011
Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami strikes.
November 2015
Terror attacks occur in Paris, France.



Seoul World Cup Stadium

August 2000
Seoul Subway Line 7 is opened.
September 2000
Media City 2000 is held.
October 2000
The Third Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is held.
October 2000
Seoul City Tour Buses begin operation.
October 2000
Insadong-gil is opened as part of a plan to create pedestrian walkways in historic and cultural areas.
October 2000
Seoul Drum Festival 2000 is held.
December 2000
Gwanghwamun Gallery is opened in Gwanghwamun Station on Subway Line 5
December 2000
Seoul Subway Line 6 is opened.
December 2001
The Seoul World Cup Stadium is opened in Sangam-dong.
May 2002
The Korea-Japan World Cup Games begin.
October 2005
The Cheonggyecheon (Stream) Restoration Project is completed.
July 2009
Seoul Subway Line 9 is opened.
November 2010
The 2010 G20 Seoul Summit is held.
February 2011
Sinbundang Line (Railroad) is opened.
March 2012
The 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit is held.
October 2015
Seoul City celebrates the 10th year of Cheonggyecheon (Stream) Restoration Project