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|Seoul Special City|
|Coordinates: 37°34′N126°58′E / 37.567°N 126.967°ECoordinates: 37°34′N126°58′E / 37.567°N 126.967°E|
|Region||Seoul Capital Area|
|• Mayor||Park Won-soon (Democratic)|
|• Body||Seoul Metropolitan Government|
Seoul Metropolitan Council
| • National Representation|
- National Assembly
49 / 30016.3% (total seats)
49 / 25319.4% (constituency seats)
|• Special City||605.21 km2 (233.67 sq mi)|
|Elevation||38 m (125 ft)|
|• Special City||9,838,892|
|• Density||16,000/km2 (42,000/sq mi)|
|• Demonym||서울시민 (Seoul-simin), Seoulite|
|GDP PPP (Special City)||US$717 billion|
|GDP PPP per capita (Special City)||US$65,000|
'Seoul' in hangul
|Seoul Special Metropolitan City|
|Revised Romanization||Seoul Teukbyeolsi|
Seoul (/soʊl/, 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.
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 Joseondynasty. 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.
Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from the South Korean economic boom – commonly referred to as the Miracle on the Han River – which transformed it into 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. Inhabitants of Seoul are faced with a high cost of living, for which the city was ranked 6th globally in 2017. Seoul is also an extremely expensive real estate market, 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.
- 9.2Domestic sports clubs
- 12International relations
- 15External links
- 15.2Tourism and living information
The city has been known in the past by the names Wiryeseong (Hangul: 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 refers to Han people or the Han dynasty 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 (Hangul: 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 Chinese name from the historic Hancheng (simplified Chinese: 汉城; traditional Chinese: 漢城; pinyin: Hànchéng), which was still in common use, to Shou'er (simplified Chinese: 首尔; traditional Chinese: 首爾; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr).
Settlement of the Han River area, where present-day Seoul is located, began around 4000 BCE.
Seoul is first recorded as Wiryeseong, the capital of Baekje (founded in 18 BCE) 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 (Hangul: 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 Bosingakbelfry. 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.
In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul, and was designated as a special city in 1949.
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.
Until 1972, Seoul was claimed by North Korea as its de jure capital, being specified as such in Article 103 of the 1948 North Korean constitution.
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 was the host city of the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Summer Olympics as well as one of the venues of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Donggwoldo, the landscape painting of Changdeokgung
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.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Seoul has a humid continental climate, also bordering a humid subtropical climate. 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.
|Climate data for Seoul (normals 1981–2010, extremes 1907–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||14.4|
|Average high °C (°F)||1.5|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−2.4|
|Average low °C (°F)||−5.9|
|Record low °C (°F)||−22.5|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||20.8|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||6.5||5.8||7.4||7.8||9.0||9.9||16.3||14.6||9.1||6.3||8.7||7.4||108.8|
|Average snowy days||8.0||5.2||3.4||0.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.1||2.1||6.1||24.9|
|Average relative humidity (%)||59.8||57.9||57.8||56.2||62.7||68.1||78.3||75.6||69.2||64.0||62.0||60.6||64.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||160.3||163.3||189.0||205.0||213.0||182.0||120.0||152.5||176.2||198.8||153.2||152.6||2,066|
|Percent possible sunshine||52.3||53.6||51.0||51.9||48.4||41.2||26.8||36.2||47.2||57.1||50.2||51.1||46.4|
|Source: Korea Meteorological Administration (percent sunshine and snowy days)|
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 (Hangul: 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.
- Dobong District (도봉구; 道峰區)
- Dongdaemun District (동대문구; 東大門區)
- Dongjak District (동작구; 銅雀區)
- Eunpyeong District (은평구; 恩平區)
- Gangbuk District (강북구; 江北區)
- Gangdong District (강동구; 江東區)
- Gangnam District (강남구; 江南區)
- Gangseo District (강서구; 江西區)
- Geumcheon District (금천구; 衿川區)
- Guro District (구로구; 九老區)
- Gwanak District (관악구; 冠岳區)
- Gwangjin District (광진구; 廣津區)
- Jongno District (종로구; 鍾路區)
- Jung District (중구; 中區)
- Jungnang District (중랑구; 中浪區)
- Mapo District (마포구; 麻浦區)
- Nowon District (노원구; 蘆原區)
- Seocho District (서초구; 瑞草區)
- Seodaemun District (서대문구; 西大門區)
- Seongbuk District (성북구; 城北區)
- Seongdong District (성동구; 城東區)
- Songpa District (송파구; 松坡區)
- Yangcheon District (양천구; 陽川區)
- Yeongdeungpo District (영등포구; 永登浦區)
- Yongsan District (용산구; 龍山區)
Seoul proper is noted for its population density, which is almost twice that of New York and eight times greater than Rome. Its metropolitan area was the most densely populated in the OECD in Asia in 2012, and second worldwide after that of Paris. As of 2015, the population was 9.86 million, in 2012, it was 10,442,426.
 As of the end of June 2011, 10.29 million Republic of Korea citizens lived in the city. This was a .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 home to the world's largest modern university founded by a Buddhist Order, Dongguk University.
Largest cities or towns in South Korea
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 Smirnoffvodka; 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.
Times Square is one of Seoul's largest shopping malls featuring the CGV Starium, the world's largest permanent 35 mm cinema screen.
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 . 2nd World trade trade center is planning 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-opticbroadband 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 KTXhigh-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.
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.
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 (Hangul: 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.
Jongmyo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Changdeokgung, one of the five grand palaces of Korea, is a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site.
Deoksugung in autumn
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.In 2010 Seoul was designated the World Design Capital for the year.
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 GyeongbokgungPalace 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 GyeongbokgungPalace. 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, 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 GyeonggiProvince. 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.
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 2 times, 1990 K League ClassiLucky-Goldstar FC (currently FC Seoul) and KBO LeagueLG Twins in 1990, K League ClassicFC Seoul and KBO LeagueDoosan 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.
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
Seoul's most well-known football club is FC Seoul.
- Men's football
|Top||K League 1||FC Seoul||Seoul World Cup Stadium (North Seoul)|
|2nd||K League 2||Seoul E-Land||Seoul Olympic Stadium (South Seoul)|
|4th||K3 League||Seoul United||Madeul Stadium|
|Jungnang Chorus Mustang||Jungnang Public Ground|
- Women's football
|Top||WK League||Seoul WFC||Hyochang Stadium, Seoul Olympic Auxiliary Stadium|
|LG Twins||Jamsil Baseball Stadium|
|Kiwoom Heroes||Gocheok Sky Dome|
|Seoul SK Knights||Jamsil Students' Gymnasium|
|Seoul Samsung Thunders||Jamsil Arena|
|Men||Seoul Woori Card Wibee||Jangchung Arena|
|Women||GS Caltex Seoul KIXX|
- Doosan Handball Club, SK Sugar Gliders and Seoul City
The Nyc Arts Cultural Guide For Seniors
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, 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. Cool edit pro 2.1 portable.
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:
- Seoul Station, Yongsan District: Gyeongbu line (KTX/ITX-Saemaeul/Nuriro/Mugunghwa-ho)
- Yongsan Station, Yongsan District: Honam line (KTX/ITX-Saemaeul/Nuriro/Mugunghwa), Jeolla/Janghang lines (Saemaul/Mugunghwa)
- Yeongdeungpo Station, Yeongdeungpo District: Gyeongbu/Honam/Janghang lines (KTX/ITX-Saemaeul/Saemaul/Nuriro/Mugunghwa)
- Cheongnyangni Station, Dongdaemun District: Gyeongchun/Jungang/Yeongdong/Taebaek lines (ITX-Cheongchun/ITX-Saemaeul/Mugunghwa)
- Suseo Station (HSR), Gangnam District: Suseo HSR (SRT)
Two international airports, Incheon International and Gimpo International, serve Seoul.
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 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 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.
Seoul ranked 10th on the QS Best Student Cities 2018.
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.
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.
Seoul has 23 sister cities:
- Taipei, Taiwan (1968)
- Ankara, Turkey (1971)
- Honolulu, United States (1973)
- San Francisco, United States (1976)
- São Paulo, Brazil (1977)
- Bogotá, Colombia (1982)
- Jakarta, Indonesia (1984)
- Tokyo, Japan (1988)
- Moscow, Russia (1991)
- New South Wales, Australia (1991)
- Paris, France (1991)
- Mexico City, Mexico (1992)
- Beijing, People's Republic of China (1993)
- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (1995)
- Hanoi, Vietnam (1996)
- Warsaw, Poland (1996)
- Cairo, Egypt (1997)
- Rome, Italy (2000)
- Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan (2004)
- Washington, D.C., United States (2006)
- Athens, Greece (2006)
- Bangkok, Thailand (2006)
- Tashkent, Uzbekistan (2010)
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|Look up Seoul in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Seoul|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Seoul.|
Tourism and living information
- i Tour Seoul – The Official Seoul Tourism Guide Site
- VisitSeoul – The Official Seoul Tourism Guide YouTube Channel
- Seoul Travel Guide – Travel information for visitors to Seoul
- Korea Travel Guide with DIY Itinerary – Useful information on Traveling to Seoul, South Korea
- Korea Tourism Organization(in English)
- Seoul Map Browser (from Seoul Metropolitan Government web site)
|Preceded by||Capital of Baekje|
18 BC – 475 AD
|Capital of Korea|
|Capital of South Korea|
Cultural Guide Ireland
|Pyongyang Directly Governed City|
|• McCune–Reischauer||P'yŏngyang Chikhalsi|
|• Revised Romanization||Pyeongyang Jikhalsi|
|• Official North Korean variant||Phyŏngyang Chikhalsi|
Clockwise from top left: Pyongyang skyline and the Taedong River; Juche Tower; Arch of Triumph; Tomb of King Tongmyeong; Puhŭng Station in the Pyongyang Metro; Arch of Reunification; and Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
Location of Pyongyang in North Korea
Location of Pyongyang in North Korea
|Coordinates: 39°1′10″N125°44′17″E / 39.01944°N 125.73806°ECoordinates: 39°1′10″N125°44′17″E / 39.01944°N 125.73806°E|
|• Chairman of Pyongyang People's Committee||Cha Hui-rim|
|• Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea Pyongyang City Committee||Kim Su-gil|
|• Total||2,000 km2 (800 sq mi)|
Pyongyang, P'yŏngyang or Pyeongyang (US: /ˌpjɒŋˈjæŋ/, UK: /ˌpjʌŋˈjɑːŋ/;Korean pronunciation: [pʰjʌŋ.jaŋ]), is the capital and largest city of North Korea. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River about 109 kilometres (68 mi) upstream from its mouth on the Yellow Sea. According to the 2008 population census, it has a population of 3,255,288. The city was split from the South Pyongan province in 1946. It is administered as a directly-administered city (직할시; 直轄市; chikhalsi) with equal status to provinces, the same as special cities in South Korea (특별시; 特別市; teukbyeolsi), including Seoul.
- 18External links
'Pyongyang' in Chosŏn'gŭl (top) and hanja (bottom)
|lit. 'Flat Soil'|
The city's other historic names include Kisong, Hwangsong, Rakrang, Sŏgyong, Sodo, Hogyong, Changan, and Heijō (during Japanese rule in Korea). There are several variants.[a] During the early 20th century, Pyongyang came to be known among missionaries as being the 'Jerusalem of the East', due to its historical status as a stronghold of Christianity, namely Protestantism, especially during the Pyongyang revival of 1907.
After Kim Il-sung's death in 1994, some members of Kim Jong-il's faction proposed changing the name of Pyongyang to 'Kim Il-sung City' (Hangul: 김일성시; Hanja: 金日成市), but others suggested that North Korea should begin calling Seoul 'Kim Il-sung City' instead and grant Pyongyang the moniker 'Kim Jong-il City', and in the end neither proposal was implemented.
The Russian transliterationПхёнья́н was adapted in Polish and Romanian as Phenian.In Poland the hyperforeignist pronunciation /ˈfɛɲ.jan/ is commoner than the original /ˈpxɛɲ.jan/.
In 1955, archaeologists excavated evidence of prehistoric occupation in a large ancient village in the Pyongyang area, called Kŭmtan-ni, dating to the Jeulmun and Mumun pottery periods. North Koreans associate Pyongyang with the mythological city of 'Asadal' (Hangul: 아사달; Hanja: 阿斯達), or Wanggeom-seong (Hangul: 왕검성; Hanja: 王儉城), the first second millennium BC capital of Gojoseon ('Old Joseon') according to Korean historiographies beginning with the 13th-century Samgungnyusa.
Historians[who?] deny this claim because earlier Chinese historiographical works such as the Guanzi, Classic of Mountains and Seas, Records of the Grand Historian, and Records of the Three Kingdoms, mention a much later 'Joseon'. The connection between the two therefore may have been asserted by North Korea for the use of propaganda. Nevertheless, Pyongyang became a major city in old Joseon.
Korean mythology asserts that Pyongyang was founded in 1122 BC on the site of the capital of the legendary king Dangun.Wanggeom-seong, which was in the location of Pyongyang, became the capital of Gojoseon from 194 to 108 BC. It fell in the Han conquest of Gojoseon in 108 BC. Emperor Wu of Han ordered four commanderies be set up, with Lelang Commandery in the center and its capital established as 樂浪 (Old Chinese: *[r]ˤawk*[r]ˤaŋ,Standard Chinese: pinyin: Lèlàng, Korean: RakRang). Several archaeological findings from the later, Eastern Han (20–220 AD) period in the Pyeongyang area seems to suggest that Han forces later launched brief incursions around these parts.
The area around the city was called Nanglang during the early Three Kingdoms period. As the capital of Nanglang (Hangul: 낙랑국; Hanja: 樂浪國),[b] Pyeongyang remained an important commercial and cultural outpost after the Lelang Commandery was destroyed by an expanding Goguryeo in 313.
Goguryeo moved its capital there in 427. According to Christopher Beckwith, Pyongyang is the Sino-Korean reading of the name they gave it in their language: Piarna, or 'level land'.
In 668, Pyongyang became the capital of the Protectorate General to Pacify the East established by the Tang dynasty of China. However, by 676, it was taken by Silla, but left on the border between Silla and Balhae. Pyongyang was left abandoned during the Later Silla period, until it was recovered by Wang Geon and decreed as the Western Capital of Goryeo. During the Joseon period, it became the provincial capital of Pyeongan Province.
During the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98), Pyongyang was captured by the Japanese until they were defeated in the Siege of Pyongyang. Later in the 17th century, it became temporarily occupied during the Qing invasion of Joseon until peace arrangements were made between Korea and Qing China. While the invasions made Koreans suspicious of foreigners, the influence of Christianity began to grow after the country opened itself up to foreigners in the 16th century. Pyongyang became the base of Christian expansion in Korea, and by 1880 it had more than 100 churches and more Protestant missionaries than any other Asian city.
In 1890, the city had 40,000 inhabitants. It was the site of the Battle of Pyongyang during the First Sino-Japanese War, which led to the destruction and depopulation of much of the city. It was the provincial capital of South Pyeongan Province beginning in 1896. Under Japanese colonial rule, the city became an industrial center, called Heijō (with the same Chinese characters 平壤 but read as へいじょう) in Japanese.
- Pyongyang in the 1920s
Pyongyang Station during the 1920s
Pyongyang City Hall during the 1920s
Pyongyang Tram during the 1920s
Sŏsŏng ward during the 1920s
View of Pyongyang during the 1920s
View of Moran Hill in Spring during the 1920s
View of Moran Hill during the 1920s
In July 1931 the city experienced anti-Chinese riots as a result of the Wanpaoshan Incident and the sensationalized media reports about it which appeared in Imperial Japanese and Korean newspapers.
By 1938, Pyongyang had a population of 235,000.
On 25 August 1945, the Soviet 25th Army entered Pyongyang and it became the temporary capital of the Provisional People's Committee for North Korea. A People's Committee was already established there, led by veteran Christian nationalist Cho Man-sik. Pyongyang became the de facto capital of North Korea upon its establishment in 1948. At the time, the Pyongyang government aimed to recapture Korea's official capital, Seoul. Pyongyang was again severely damaged in the Korean War, during which it was briefly occupied by South Korean forces from 19 October to 6 December 1950. In 1952, it was the target of the largest aerial raid of the entire war, involving 1,400 UN aircraft.
After the war, the city was quickly rebuilt with assistance from the Soviet Union, and many buildings were built in the style of Stalinist architecture. The plans for the modern city of Pyongyang were first displayed for public viewing in a theatre building. On 27 July 1953 – the day the armistice between North Korea and South Korea was signed – The Pyongyang Review wrote: 'While streets were in flames, an exhibition showing the general plan of restoration of Pyongyang was held at the Moranbong Underground Theater', the air raid shelter of the government under Moranbong. 'On the way of victory.. fireworks which streamed high into the night sky of the capital in a gun salute briefly illuminated the construction plan of the city which would rise soon with a new look'.
In 2001, North Korean authorities began a long-term modernisation programme. The Ministry of Capital City Construction Development was included in the Cabinet in that year. In 2006, Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law Jang Song-thaek took charge of the ministry.
Pyongyang is in the west-central part of North Korea; the city lies on a flat plain about 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of the Korea Bay, an arm of the Yellow Sea. The Taedong River flows southwestward through the city toward the Korea Bay. The Pyongyang plain, where the city is situated, is one of the two large plains on the Western coast of the Korean peninsula, the other being the Chaeryong plain. Both have an area of approximately 500 square kilometers.
Pyongyang has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classificationDwa), featuring hot, humid summers and cold winters. Cold, dry winds can blow from Siberia in winter, making conditions very cold; the low temperature is usually below freezing between November and early March, although the average daytime high is at least a few degrees above freezing in every month except January. The winter is generally much drier than summer, with snow falling for 37 days on average.
The transition from the cold, dry winter to the warm, wet summer occurs rather quickly between April and early May, and there is a similarly abrupt return to winter conditions in late October and November. Summers are generally hot and humid, with the East Asian monsoon taking place from June until August; these are also the hottest months, with average temperatures of 21 to 25 °C (70 to 77 °F), and daytime highs often above 30 °C (86 °F).
|Climate data for Pyongyang, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1961–present|
|Record high °C (°F)||10.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||−0.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−6.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||−10.3|
|Record low °C (°F)||−26.5|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||11|
|Average rainy days||2||3||7||9||12||13||19||14||10||9||9||5||146|
|Average snowy days||8||6||3||0.3||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||3||7||28|
|Average relative humidity (%)||70||66||63||61||66||72||82||81||77||73||72||71||71|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||184||197||231||237||263||229||181||204||222||214||165||165||2,492|
|Source #1: Pogodaiklimat.ru|
|Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun, 1961–1990)|
Major government and other public offices are located in Pyongyang, which is constitutionally designated as the country's capital. The seat of the Workers' Party Central Committee and the Pyongyang People's Committee are located in Haebangsan-dong, Chung-guyok. The Cabinet of North Korea is located in Jongro-dong, Chung-guyok.
Pyongyang is also the seat of all major North Korean security institutions. The largest of them, the Ministry of People's Security, has 130,000 employees working in 12 bureaus. These oversee activities including: police services, security of party officials, classified documents, census, civil registrations, large-scale public construction, traffic control, fire safety, civil defense, public health and customs. Another significant structure based in the city is the State Security Department, whose 30,000 personnel manage intelligence, political prison systems, military industrial security and entry and exit management.
The politics and management of the city is dominated by the Workers' Party of Korea, as they are in the national level. The city is managed by the Pyongyang Party Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and its chairman is the de factomayor. The supreme standing state organ is the Pyongyang People's Committee, responsiblefor everyday events in support of the city. This includes following local Party guidance as channeled through the Pyongyang Party Committee, the distribution of resources prioritised to Pyongyang, and providing support to KWP and internal security agency personnel and families.
Administrative status and divisions
P'yŏngyang is divided into 19 wards (ku- or guyŏk) (the city proper) and 2 counties (kun or gun).
- Chung-guyok (중구역; 中區域)
- Pyongchon-guyok (평천구역; 平川區域)
- Potonggang-guyok (보통강구역; 普通江區域)
- Moranbong-guyok (모란봉구역; 牡丹峰區域)
- Sŏsŏng-guyŏk (서성구역; 西城區域)
- Songyo-guyok (선교구역; 船橋區域)
- Tongdaewŏn-guyŏk (동대원구역; 東大院區域)
- Taedonggang-guyŏk (대동강구역; 大同江區域)
- Sadong-guyŏk (사동구역; 寺洞區域)
- Taesong-guyok (대성구역; 大城區域)
- Mangyongdae-guyok (만경대구역; 萬景台區域)
- Hyongjesan-guyok (형제산구역; 兄弟山區域)
- Ryongsong-guyok (룡성구역; 龍城區域)
- Samsok-guyok (삼석구역; 三石區域)
- Ryokpo-guyok (력포구역; 力浦區域)
- Rakrang-guyok (락랑구역; 樂浪區域)
- Sunan-guyŏk (순안구역; 順安區域)
- Unjong-guyok (은정구역; 恩情區域)
- Kangdong County (강동군; 江東郡)
Foreign media reports in 2010 stated that Kangnam-gun, Chunghwa-gun, Sangwŏn-gun, and Sŭngho-guyŏk had been transferred to the administration of neighboring North Hwanghae province.
After being destroyed during the Korean War, Pyongyang was entirely rebuilt according to Kim Il-sung's vision, which was to create a capital that would boost morale in the post-war years. The result was a city with wide, tree-lined boulevards and public buildings with terraced landscaping, mosaics and decorated ceilings. Its Russian-style architecture makes it reminiscent of a Siberian city during winter snowfall, although edifices of traditional Korean design somewhat soften this perception. In summer, it is notable for its rivers, willow trees, flowers and parkland.
The streets are laid out in a north-south, east-west grid, giving the city an orderly appearance. North Korean designers applied the Swedish experience of self-sufficient urban neighbourhoods throughout the entire country, and Pyongyang is no exception. Its inhabitants are mostly divided into administrative units of 5,000 to 6,000 people (dong). These units all have similar sets of amenities including a food store, a barber shop, a tailor, a public bathhouse, a post office, a clinic, a library and others. Many residents occupy high-rise apartment buildings. One of Kim Il-sung's priorities while designing Pyongyang was to limit the population. Authorities maintain a restrictive regime of movement into the city, making it atypical of East Asia as it is silent, uncrowded and spacious.
Structures in Pyongyang are divided into three major architectural categories: monuments, buildings with traditional Korean motifs and high-rises. Some of North Korea's most recognisable landmarks are monuments, like the Juche Tower, the Arch of Triumph and the Mansu Hill Grand Monument. The first of them is a 170-meter granite spire symbolizing the Juche ideology. It was completed in 1982 and contains 25,550 granite blocks, one for each day of Kim Il-sung's life up to that point. The most prominent building on Pyongyang's skyline is Ryugyong Hotel, the seventh highest building in the world terms of floor count, the tallest unoccupied building in the world, and one of the tallest hotels in the world. It has yet to open.
Pyongyang has a rapidly evolving skyline, dominated by high-rise apartment buildings. A construction boom began with the Changjon Street Apartment Complex, which was completed in 2012. Construction of the complex began after late leader Kim Jong-il described Changjon Street as 'pitiful'. Other housing complexes are being upgraded as well, but most are still poorly insulated, and lacking elevators and central heating. An urban renewal program continued under Kim Jong-un's leadership, with the old apartments of the 1970s and '80s replaced by taller high rise buildings and leisure parks like the Kaesong Youth Park, as well as renovations of older buildings. In 2018, the city was described as unrecognizable compared to five years before.
Notable landmarks in the city include:
- the Ryugyong Hotel
- the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
- the Arch of Triumph (heavily inspired by, but larger than, Paris's Arc de Triomphe)
- the birthplace of Kim Il-sung at Mangyongdae Hill at the city outskirts
- two large stadiums:
- the Mansu Hill complex, including the Korean Revolution Museum
Pyongyang TV Tower is a minor landmark. Other visitor attractions include the Korea Central Zoo. The Arch of Reunification has a map of a united Korea supported by two concrete Korean women dressed in traditional dress straddling the Reunification Highway, which stretches from Pyongyang to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
- Monuments and sights of Pyongyang
Juche Tower Monument to the philosophy of Juche (self-reliance)
Arch of Reunification, a monument to the goal of a reunified Korea
Pyongyang served as the provincial capital of South Pyongan Province until 1946, and Pyongyang cuisine shares the general culinary tradition of the Pyongan province. The most famous local food is Pyongyang naengmyeon, or also called mul naengmyeon or just simply naengmyeon. Naengmyeon literally means 'cold noodles', while the affix mul refers to water because the dish is served in a cold broth. Naengmyeon consists of thin and chewy buckwheat noodles in a cold meat-broth with dongchimi (watery kimchi) and topped with a slice of sweet Korean pear.
Pyongyang naengmyeon was originally eaten in homes built with ondol (traditional underfloor heating) during the cold winter, so it is also called 'Pyongyang deoldeori' (shivering in Pyongyang). Pyongyang locals sometimes enjoyed it as a haejangguk, which is any type of food eaten as a hangover-cure, usually a warm soup.
Another representative Pyongyang dish, Taedonggang sungeoguk, translates as 'trout soup from the Taedong River'. The soup features trout (abundant in the Taedong River) along with black peppercorns and salt. Traditionally, it has been served to guests visiting Pyongyang. Therefore, there is a common saying, 'How good was the trout soup?', which is used to greet people returning from Pyongyang. Another local specialty, Pyongyang onban (literally 'warm rice of Pyongyang') comprises freshly cooked rice topped with sliced mushrooms, chicken, and a couple of bindaetteok (pancakes made from ground mung beans and vegetables).
In 2018, there were many high quality restaurants in Pyongyang with Korean and international food, and imported alcoholic beverages. Famous restaurants include Okryu-gwan and Ch'ongryugwan. Some street foods exist in Pyongyang, where vendors operate food stalls. Foreign foods like hamburgers, fries, pizza, and coffee are easily found. There is an active nightlife with late-night restaurants and karaoke.
The city has water parks, amusement parks, skating rinks, health clubs, a shooting range, and a dolphinarium.
Pyongyang has a number of sports clubs, including the April 25 Sports Club and the Pyongyang City Sports Club. The most popular sport in Pyongyang is football.
Pyongyang is North Korea's industrial center. Thanks to the abundance of natural resources like coal, iron and limestone, as well as good land and water transport systems, it was the first industrial city to emerge in North Korea after the Korean War. Light and heavy industries are both present and have developed in parallel. Heavy manufactures include cement, industrial ceramics, munitions and weapons, but mechanical engineering remains the core industry. Light industries in Pyongyang and its vicinity include textiles, footwear and food, among others. Special emphasis is put on the production and supply of fresh produce and subsidiary crops in farms on the city's outskirts. Other crops include rice, corn and soybeans. Pyongyang aims to achieve self-sufficiency in meat production. High-density facilities raise pigs, chicken and other livestock.
The city still experiences frequent shortages of electricity. To solve this problem, two power stations - Huichon Power Stations 1 and 2 - were built in Chagang Province and supply the city through direct transmission lines. A second phase of the power expansion project was launched in January 2013, consisting of a series of small dams along the Chongchon River. The first two power stations have a maximum generating capacity of 300 megawatts (MW), while the 10 dams to be built under second phase are expected to generate about 120 MW. In addition, the city has several existing or planned thermal power stations. These include Pyongyang TPS with a capacity of 500 MW, East Pyongyang TPS with a capacity of 50 MW, and Kangdong TPS which is under construction.
Pyongyang is home to several large department stores including the Pothonggang Department Store, Pyongyang Department Store No. 1, Pyongyang Department Store No. 2, Kwangbok Department Store, Ragwon Department Store, Pyongyang Station Department Store, and the Pyongyang Children’s Department Store.
The city also has Hwanggumbol Shop, a chain of state-owned convenience stores supplying goods at prices cheaper than those in the jangmadang markets. Hwanggumbol Shops are specifically designed to control North Korea's expanding markets by attracting consumers and guaranteeing the circulation of money in government-operated stores.
Phaidon Cultural Guide
Pyongyang is also the main transport hub of the country: it has a network of roads, railways and air routes which link it to both foreign and domestic destinations. It is the starting point of inter-regional highways reaching Nampo, Wonsan and Kaesong.Pyongyang railway station serves the main railway lines, including the Pyongui Line and the Pyongbu Line. Regular international rail services to Beijing, Chinese border city of Dandong and Moscow are also available.
A rail journey to Beijing takes about 25 hours and 25 minutes (K27 from Beijing/K28 from Pyongyang, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays); a journey to Dandong takes about 6 hours (daily); a journey to Moscow takes six days. The city also connects to the Eurasian Land Bridge via the Trans-Siberian Railway. A high-speed rail link to Wonsan is planned.
The Metro, tram and trolleybus systems are used mainly by commuters as a primary means of urban transportation. Cycle lanes were introduced on main thoroughfares in July 2015. There are relatively few cars in the city. Cars are a symbol of status in the country due to their scarcity as a result of restrictions on import because of international sanctions and domestic regulations. Some roads are also reported to be in poor condition. However, by 2018, Pyongyang had begun to experience traffic jams.
State-owned Air Koryo has scheduled international flights from Pyongyang Sunan International Airport to Beijing (PEK), Shenyang (SHE), Vladivostok (VVO), Shanghai (PVG) and Dandong. The only domestic destinations are Hamhung,Wonsan, Chongjin, Hyesan and Samjiyon. Since 31 March 2008, Air China launched a regular service between Beijing and Pyongyang, although Air China's flights are often canceled due to the lack of passengers.
Education and science
Kim Il-sung University, North Korea's oldest university, was established in 1946. It has seven colleges, 14 faculties and 16 other institutes, graduate schools and university units. These include the primary medical education and health personnel training unit, the medical college; a physics faculty which covers a range of studies including theoretical physics, optical science, geophysics and astrophysics; an atomic energy institute and a human evolution research office which studies human evolution through a Juche point of view. Kim Il-sung University also has its own publishing house, sports club (Ryongnamsan Sports Club), revolutionary museum, nature museum, libraries, a gym, indoor swimming pool and educator apartment houses. Its two main buildings were completed in 1965 (Building 1) and 1972 (Building 2). A third building on campus is planned.
Other higher education establishments include Kim Chaek University of Technology, Pyongyang University of Music and Dance and Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies. Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) is the country's first private university where most of the lecturers are American and courses are carried out in English. A science and technology hall is under construction on Ssuk Islet. Its stated purpose is to contribute to the 'informatization of educational resources' by centralizing teaching materials, compulsory literature and experimental data for state-level use in a digital format.
Sosong-guyok hosts a 20 MeVcyclotron called MGC-20. The initial project was approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1983 and funded by the IAEA, the United States and the North Korean government. The cyclotron was ordered from the Soviet Union in 1985 and constructed between 1987 and 1990. It is used for student training, production of medical isotopes for nuclear medicine as well as studies in biology, chemistry and physics.
Medical centers include the Red Cross Hospital, the First People's Hospital which is located near Moran Hill and was the first hospital to be built in North Korea after the liberation of Korea in 1945, the Second People's Hospital, Ponghwa Recuperative Center (also known as Bonghwa Clinic or Presidential Clinic) located in Sokam-dong, Potonggang-guyok, 1.5 km (0.93 mi) northwest of Kim Il-sung Square, Pyongyang Medical School Hospital, Namsan Treatment Center which is adjacentPyongyang's Maternity Hospital, Taesongsan General Hospital, Kim Man-yoo Hospital, Staff Treatment Center and Okryu Children's Hospital.
Pyongyang is twinned with:
- Algiers, Algeria
- Baghdad, Iraq
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Kathmandu, Nepal
- Moscow, Russia
- Tianjin, China
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- Interactive virtual tour Aerial view of Pyongyang city
- Super High Resolution Image Panoramic view of Pyongyang city
- 22 minute video of bus ride through Pyongyang, DPRK on YouTube
- North Korea Uncovered, (North Korea Google Earth), a comprehensive mapping of North Korea, including all of the locations mentioned above, on Google Earth
- Pyongyang at Curlie
Pyongyang at night
- Pyongyang at Night! on YouTube
- Pyongyang at Night on 15 April 2012 on YouTube
- Pyongyang at Night on YouTube
- Pyongyang at Night River View DPRK on YouTube
Largest cities or towns in North Korea
|Rank||Name||Administrative division||Pop.||Rank||Name||Administrative division||Pop.|
|1||Pyongyang||Pyongyang Capital City||3,255,288||11||Sunchon||South Pyongan||297,317|
|2||Hamhung||South Hamgyong||768,551||12||Pyongsong||South Pyongan||284,386|
|3||Chongjin||North Hamgyong||667,929||13||Haeju||South Hwanghae||273,300|
|4||Nampo||South Pyongan Province||366,815||14||Kanggye||Chagang||251,971|
|6||Sinuiju||North Pyongan||359,341||16||Tokchon||South Pyongan||237,133|
|7||Tanchon||South Hamgyong||345,875||17||Kimchaek||North Hamgyong||207,299|
|8||Kaechon||South Pyongan||319,554||18||Rason||Rason Special Economic Zone||196,954|
|9||Kaesong||North Hwanghae||308,440||19||Kusong||North Pyongan||196,515|
- ^United Nations Statistics Division; 2008 Census of Population of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted on 1–15 October 2008 Retrieved on 2009-03-18.