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Coordinates: 37 ° 34 '  N , 126 ° 59'  E

Special city Seoul
서울 특별시 Seoul Teukbyeolsi
Logo of Seoul, South Korea.svg
Hangul : 서울 특별시
Hanja : 서울 特別 市
Revised Romanization : Seoul Teukbyeolsi
McCune-Reischauer : Sŏul T'ŭkpyŏlsi
Basic data
Surface: 605.52 km²
Residents: 9,766,886 (as of 2019)
Population density : 16,130 inhabitants per km²
Structure : 25 districts ( Gu )
Administrative headquarters : Seoul ( Jung-gu )
Japan Nordkorea de-facto Japan - von Südkorea beansprucht Gyeongsangbuk-do Seoul Daejeon Busan Ulsan Daegu Gwangju Incheon Jeju-do Gangwon-do Gyeonggi-do Chungcheongnam-do Chungcheongbuk-do Jeollanam-do Jeollabuk-do Gyeongsangnam-doMap of South Korea, location of Seoul highlighted
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Seoul ( Korean 서울 ? / I [ sʌ.ul / sɔʊl ]; see also the name of Seoul ) is the capital of South Korea . The official Korean name is “Seoul Special City” ( 서울 특별시 Seoul Teukbyeolsi ). This designation points to the status as capital and to the administrative equality towards the provinces (see also administrative structure of South Korea ). Audio file / audio sample

The population of Seoul is about 9.8 million (2019). The city is the center of the metropolitan region of Sudogwon ( 수도권 , 首都圈 ), in which about 25.4 million people (2015) live and thus about a third of the entire Korean Peninsula . Sudogwon is considered to be one of the five largest metropolitan areas in the world and is the fourth largest economic area in the world.

In addition to its status as the capital, Seoul is also the financial, cultural and educational center of South Korea. Fifteen of the Fortune Global 500 companies are headquartered in Seoul, including Samsung , LG and Hyundai . The city also hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics and was one of the venues for the 2002 World Cup . As the historical center of South Korea and the origin of the Korean wave and K-pop , Seoul recorded over 9.5 million tourists in 2018 , making it the 10th most-visited city in the world.

As early as 18 BC Until 475 BC, Seoul was the capital of the Baekje Kingdom . From 1394 to 1910, it was the capital of the Joseon Empire and the Korean Empire . It became the capital of the Republic of Korea in 1945. Even North Korea's constitution looked Seoul before the rightful capital until a constitutional amendment in 1972 Pyongyang raised the capital of the People's Republic, where the North Korean leadership since the end of World War II had set up a temporary seat of government.


Geographical location

Bird's eye view of Seoul city

The city is located in the northwestern part of the country near the border with North Korea, an average of 87 meters above sea ​​level on the lower reaches of the Hangang River ( 한강 , 漢江 'Han River' ), whose upper reaches Bukhangang 'North Han River' and Namhangang 'South Han' River ' converge east of the city at Yangsu-ri . The city center is surrounded by numerous mountains. The Namsan ( 남산 , 南山 ‚Südberg ' ) with a television tower and cable car rises in the city center . The mountain Bukhansan 'mountain north of the Han [gang]' is in the north of the city, the fortress Namhansanseong in the southeast. There are many small villages and old Buddhist monasteries in the surrounding valleys . Gwanaksan Mountain is an important recreational area to the south of Seoul .

Panmunjeom is 56 kilometers north of Seoul at the 38th parallel that has formed the inner-Korean border since the Korean War . There the armistice agreement between North and South Korea was signed on July 27, 1953.

In the urban area of ​​Seoul, the Hangang flows around some islands, the most important of which is Yeouido . One arm of the river was drained for land reclamation. The historic center of Seoul is geomantically conveniently located just north of the river, the light here w-shaped and after emerging from the urban area to the northwest of the island of Ganghwa and the Yellow Sea continues to flow while seamlessly southwest Seoul in its port city of Incheon passes .

The geographical coordinates of Seoul is 37 ° 34 '  N , 126 ° 59'  O . It is roughly at the latitude of Athens (37 ° 54 'N) and Lisbon (38 ° 43' N).

City structure

Administrative division

Although Seoul as a “special city” is treated as a province in the administrative structure of South Korea , the subdivision corresponds to that of all other cities - in districts ( Stadt , Gu ) and districts ( , Dong ). Seoul is divided into 25 boroughs, the first seven of which were established in 1943. The districts are divided into 522  dong , these in turn into 13,787  tong and these finally into 102,796  ban . The latter are rarely used in everyday life. The metropolitan areas of Seoul are:


Seoul is located in the temperate zone , the average annual temperature is 12.5 ° C. The climate is characterized by strong contrasts, the annual maximum temperature averages 29.6 ° C in August, the lowest average temperature in January is -5.9 ° C. In the suburbs of Seoul, it is generally cooler than in the downtown Seoul due to the effect of the urban heat island ( urban heat effect Iceland ).

Summers are very warm and humid during the monsoon season ( called 장마 Jangma in Korean ) from June to September, especially in August. The maximum daily temperatures are often beyond 30 ° C. The highest temperature measured in Seoul is 39.6 ° C in August 2018. August is on average the hottest month in Seoul; the average temperature is 25.7 ° C. 70% of the annual precipitation, which averages 1,450.6 millimeters, falls during the monsoon season, 394.7 millimeters of it in the rainiest month of July.

The winters are strongly influenced by cold winds from Siberia and are therefore very cold but dry. Usually three very cold days and four warmer days alternate due to a certain high pressure constellation. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of −2.4 ° C, with an average of 20.8 millimeters of rainfall. The lowest temperature in Seoul was recorded on December 31, 1972 and was −23.1 ° C. Even if the coldest temperatures are from the early days of climate records, temperatures of −10 ° C are not uncommon.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: KMA, data: 1981-2010
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Seoul
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 1.5 4.7 10.4 17.8 23.0 27.1 28.6 29.6 25.8 19.8 11.6 4.3 O 17.1
Min. Temperature (° C) −5.9 −3.4 1.6 7.8 13.2 18.2 21.9 22.4 17.2 10.3 3.2 −3.2 O 8.7
Precipitation ( mm ) 20.8 25.0 47.2 64.5 105.9 133.2 394.7 364.2 169.3 51.8 52.5 21.5 Σ 1,450.6
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 5.2 5.8 6.1 6.8 6.9 6.1 3.9 4.9 5.9 6.4 5.1 4.9 O 5.7
Rainy days ( d ) 6.5 5.8 7.4 7.8 9.0 9.9 16.3 14.6 9.1 6.3 8.7 7.4 Σ 108.8
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 O 64.4
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: KMA, data: 1981-2010

Air quality

In the past few years, air pollution and particulate matter have become a growing political issue. According to data from the World Health Organization , the annual average concentration of PM2.5 in Seoul was 24 micrograms per cubic meter in 2014, which is 2.4 times higher than the maximum recommended value of the WHO air quality guidelines. The city government provides real-time data on air quality on its website. The yellow dust , emissions from China and emissions from Korea and Seoul contribute to the air pollution of Seoul.



Seoul was known in the past as Wiryeseong ( Hangeul : 위례성 ; Hanja : 慰 禮 城 , at the time of the Baekje Empire ), Hanyang ( 한양 ; 漢陽 , at the time of Silla ), Namgyeong ( 남경 ; 南京 ) and Hanseong ( 한성 ; 漢城 , zur Joseon's time ). During the Japanese occupation , Seoul was called Keijō ( 경성 ; 京城 ; RR : Gyeongseong ).

In contrast to other Korean places, there is no Hanja ( Chinese characters in Korean) spelling for Seoul . Historically, Korea used Chinese characters, but these were replaced by the Korean script Hangeul. That is why almost all Korean places have a corresponding Hanja spelling. Until 2005, the official Chinese name for Seoul was Hànchéng ( Chinese  漢城  /  汉城 ). On January 18, 2005, the Seoul government changed the name to the Chinese pronunciation for Seoul to Chinese  首 爾  /  首 尔 , Pinyin Shǒu'ěr .


Archaeological studies show that as early as around 4000 BC BC people settled on the Han River, where Seoul is today. The earliest historical records of Seoul date back to the first century BC . At the time of the Three Kingdoms , the capital of the Baekje Kingdom , Wiryeseong, was in the northeastern part of what is now Seoul. From this time there are still remains of the city wall . In 475, the capital was moved to Gongju and the Goguryeo Kingdom took control of the area. Less than a hundred years later, the Silla Empire fought for control of the area. During the Silla period, Seoul was probably just a small village called Hansanju.

Government of the Goryeo Dynasty

In the later phase of the unified Korean Empire Goryeo , the importance of Seoul grew. In 1068 King Munjong had a summer palace built in what is now Seoul , and the settlement that was developing into a city became the administrative center for the surrounding areas. The city was called Namgyeong ("southern capital"). The actual capital was, apart from very short sections, today's Kaes Kang , about 60 km further north-west .

Reign of the Joseon Dynasty

View of the Gyeongbokgung

Yi Seong-gye ended the rule of Goryeo in 1392, founded the Joseon Dynasty and decided to relocate the capital. A founding story after was under Pungsu - geomants (experts of Feng Shui ) the power of the then capital Gaegyeong as depleted. Therefore a new city should be built at the foot of the Gyeryongsan . However, from the perspective of Feng Shui, this is not well suited. Instead, the place Hanyang is intended for the capital of a future dynasty. The city was protected in the north by a mountain and in the south by a river. Therefore, in 1394, Hanyang was named the capital of Korea and construction of a new palace, the Gyeongbokgung , temples and city ​​walls began. The wall was 18 km long and connected the four mountains Bugaksan , Inwangsan , Namsan and Naksan that surround the city. Some of it is still there today. The most important city gates have also been preserved. Two of the gates, Sungnyemun (often called Namdaemun ) and Dongdaemun , are widely known. The gates were opened and closed daily. A loud bell was rung to signal this.

Further palace buildings followed. The Changdeokgung was built between 1405 and 1412, the Gyeonghuigung in 1616 . The name of the city was later changed to Hanseong ( 한성 , 漢城 ). Although the city was easy to defend due to its location and protected by strong walls, it was conquered by the Japanese in the Imjin War in 1592 after the battle of Chungju , and in 1635 it was captured by the Manchurians . Only under the rule of King Yeongjo (1724–1776) did the city flourish again, as it was able to play off its good position on the Hangang. It grew into the most important trading center.

In 1872 the king moved back to Gyeongbokgung. This palace had long since fallen into disrepair after its destruction in the Imjin War and was only rebuilt in 1865. In the meantime, the originally not intended Changdeokgung had served as the seat of government.

Introduction of Christianity in Seoul

In 1784, Yi Pyeok, Kweon Il-shin, and Yi Seung-hun established the first church in Seoul with the intention of establishing a Catholic denomination . This was subjected to severe persecution from the start. The rulers saw in the Catholics allies of the European colonial powers . The country should remain Confucian . When King Sunjo succeeded his predecessor Jeongjo to the throne, a massive persecution of Catholicism began. In the years 1801, 1839–1846 and 1866–1876 there were persecutions of Christians in Seoul, which spread across the country in waves. Nevertheless, the number of the Catholic faith grew converted Koreans. The shrine of the Korean martyrs on Jeoldusan ("Beheading Mountain") on the banks of the Hangang commemorates the time of persecution and the martyrs .

The now almost forgotten Korean alphabet ( 한글 Hangeul ), which was easier to learn than the Chinese characters ( Hanja ), was used and propagated by the missionaries . During the 19th century, the hangeul was increasingly used in popular education and became the national script of Korea. This development promoted the spread of the Christian faith, whose writings were all published in Hangeul.

With the "opening" of Korea forced by the USA in 1882, Korea was obliged to tolerate missionary activities. In 1885 the Methodist missionaries Horace Underwood and Henry Appenzellar came to Seoul. In 1886 they founded the Seoul Union Church , which still exists today, with Presbyterian missionaries . In the same year the first secret baptisms of locals took place. After Korea Protestant missionaries had already come, for example, Robert Jermain Thomas, the Bibles smuggled into Korea and in 1866 Pyongyang was executed.

When Korea became Japan's colony in 1910 , the Japanese demanded the worship of the Tennō . This has been rejected as idolatry by Korean Christians (unlike Japanese Christians). This led to the persecution of Christians by the Japanese, but also to the fact that many Christians participated in the national independence movement. This, and the persecution of Christians, resulted in numerous conversions.

Japanese colonial times

Gyeongbu Railway Line Opening Ceremony
A map of Keijō from 1937
Seat of the governor general in Keijō

Under pressure from Japan , Korea opened up to other countries on February 24, 1876. In the period that followed, embassies of Japan and western states were opened, and a German-Korean friendship and trade agreement was signed in June 1882. Foreign companies settled in Seoul and trade continued to flourish. Telegraph lines to Incheon , Ŭiju and Busan were opened in 1888, and in 1899 the Gyeongin line to nearby Incheon was the first rail link in Seoul. In the same year, the Seoul electric tram started operating. On January 1, 1905, the important Gyeongbu route to Busan was opened, and in November 1905 also for general traffic. The population, which had been 200,000 for two centuries, began to grow steadily, in 1936 it was 730,000, in 1949 1,418,000.

In 1910, Korea was annexed by Japan and incorporated into the Japanese Empire with the province name Chosen . Hanseong was named the colonial capital; The official name of the city was during this time Keijō ( Japanese 京城 ; 경성 Gyeongseong , "capital"), capital of the prefecture of the same name ( 京城 府 , Keijō-fu ; Gyeongseong-bu ). The Japanese expanded the city into the center of the province, greatly enlarged the urban area and ensured a flourishing of industry and other branches of the economy with large-scale structural measures. The architectural style of the buildings has become more modern compared to earlier. Compared to the population but was especially during the Second World War a repressive colonial policy, similar to other Japanese-occupied countries, operated: the Korean culture was suppressed, men were forced into the Japanese army or forcibly recruited and abducted women in war zones and there as a so-called comfort women in War brothels sometimes held for years. Korean farmers had to give up their land and Koreans were forced to take Japanese names. In schools was in Japanese language teaching.

After Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, this part of the Japanese colonial empire became part of the American zone of occupation and Seoul became the seat of the US military government ( USAMGIK ). Exactly one year after independence from Japan, the city was renamed Seoul. It was the first time that it officially bore this name. With the establishment of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) on August 15, 1948, Seoul became its capital. After it had been amalgamated with the surrounding province of Gyeonggi-do under Japanese rule , it was now administratively detached from this again and received the status of a special city, which corresponds to that of a province.

Korean War

US Marines retaking Seoul in September 1950

On June 25, 1950, the North Koreans crossed the demarcation line and captured Seoul just three days later. The South Koreans were pushed back to a narrow strip around Busan. Only through the landing of UN troops (of which about 90% of US troops ) in Incheon (28 km west of Seoul), the North Koreans have been badly hit. These entrenched themselves in Seoul and had to be driven out of the city in house-to-house warfare. After three days of fighting, the commander of the US troops declared Seoul liberated on September 25 - three months after the outbreak of the war - although gunfire and artillery could still be heard in the northern suburbs .

On January 3, 1951, the South Koreans and Americans had to evacuate the city again because they could not withstand the superior strength of the North Koreans, who were allied with a Chinese "volunteer army". The following day the city was occupied by North Koreans. When Seoul was retaken on March 14th, the North Koreans kidnapped a large part of the population. In addition, the city was almost completely destroyed. Eyewitnesses report that the destruction was worse than that of Berlin during the Second World War.

From the outbreak of war until August 1, 1953, Busan was the seat of government. Seoul was never denied the status of the capital of South Korea.

Newer development

The central district of Jongno
Sejongno in the city center

After the end of the Korean War, reconstruction began and Seoul grew very quickly. If the population fell again significantly during the Korean War, it rose rapidly in the following years. In 1963 the 3 million mark was exceeded. Along with the five-year plans with which the military government of Park Chung-hee started the economic boom in South Korea, a plan for the development and modernization of Seoul was also drawn up. The administration of the city was subordinated directly to the Prime Minister. The cityscape changed massively and little consideration was given to the traditional. In addition to monuments such as palaces and temples, there are hardly any buildings older than those from the 1960s. Due to its proximity to the North Korean border, Seoul was unable to expand north. The population growth was initially concentrated in areas south of the slope. Seoul grew into the political, cultural and economic center of South Korea.

In 1968 the Seoul tram ceased operations before the first subway line opened on August 15, 1974 . The route network is constantly expanding, also serves the surrounding cities and is connected to the Incheon subway to the west . It is one of the largest subway systems in the world.

In 1986, Seoul hosted the 10th Asian Games before hosting the Summer Olympics two years later . Until 1991 the mayor was appointed by the president , since then he and the city council have been directly elected by the population.

In 1994 the city celebrated its 600th birthday, and a time capsule with 600 objects representing modern life in the city was buried on the northern slope of the Namsan . The year 1995 worried residents because various buildings in the city were destroyed by construction defects and ineffective official construction supervision. It began with the collapse of the Seongsu Bridge over the Han River in October 1994 (32 fatalities), continued through two gas explosions in houses (a total of 113 deaths) and had a tragic climax with the collapse of the Sampoong building . This worst man-made disaster in South Korea cost 501 lives, left 937 injured and left six missing.

During the 2002 soccer world championships, which were held jointly in South Korea and Japan, the opening game, a preliminary round and a semi-final game took place in Seoul.

Plans by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun to relocate the country's seat of government to Chungcheongnam-do Province, 120 kilometers south of Seoul, to Gongju City or neighboring Yeongi County, followed massive protests on October 21, 2004 negative decision of the Korean Constitutional Court largely failed. The move was a promise made by Roh Moo-hyun during the 2002 presidential election campaign to achieve decentralization of the administration. Sejong City was established in 2007 and some ministries and agencies were relocated there, while many state organs remained in Seoul.

In 2009 Gwanghwamun Square became in front of Gyeongbokgung . The main gate of the palace is the Gwanghwamun, after which the square is named. There are statues of King Sejong and Yi Sun-sin in the square . King Sejong developed the Korean alphabet and renamed the Sajeongmun Gwanghwamun. The place quickly developed into the central square of Seoul. In 2016, millions of people gathered along the square to demonstrate against then President Park Geun-hye . Right behind the palace are the Presidential House and Mount Bugak.


Hiking and climbing in Bukhansan National Park are popular activities in Seoul.

The city of Seoul has a very high population density, almost twice that of New York City . The metropolitan area has the highest population density of the OECD in Asia and the second highest in the world, after Paris .

As of 2016, there were 404,037 foreign residents in Seoul. Almost 60% of all foreigners in South Korea live in Seoul and the surrounding province of Gyeonggi-do .

In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Seoul was ranked 79th out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018.

Population development

Due to its political, economic and cultural primacy, Seoul experienced uncontrolled population growth after World War II and the withdrawal of Japanese colonial power. The strong influx of mainly rural populations, the widespread destruction in the Korean War (1950–1953) and chaotic political and economic conditions led to a gap between the number of inhabitants and the urban infrastructure . After declining from 1.4 million to 650,000 during the Korean War, the population rose again to one million in 1953 and to ten million by the late 1980s. In 2019 the number of inhabitants is around 9.8 million.

Since the beginning of the 1970s attempts have been made to settle the population south of the slope. In 1975 only 30 percent of the population lived there, today it is 60 percent. Efforts to move the population to the satellite cities were also successful. Since the 1980s, population growth has stagnated in the actual urban area. These cities are connected to Seoul by a dense network of highways, bus routes and subways . The agglomeration with around 20 large cities including Seoul has a population of 25.4 million and is one of the largest metropolitan regions in the world.

The following overview shows the population of the actual urban area according to the respective area status. Up to 1952 these are mostly estimates, from 1955 on census results.

year Residents
1428 103,328
1660 200,000
1881 199,100
1890 192,900
1899 211,200
1902 196,600
1906 230,900
1910 278,958
1915 241.085
1920 250.208
October 1, 1925 336.349
October 1, 1930 355.426
October 1, 1935 404.202
October 1, 1940 930,547
October 1, 1944 947.630
year Residents
May 1, 1949 1,418,025
January 1, 1952 648.432
September 1, 1955 1,574,868
December 1, 1960 2,445,402
October 1, 1966 3,793,280
1st October 1970 5,433,198
1st October 1975 6,889,502
November 1, 1980 8,364,379
November 1, 1985 9,639,110
November 1, 1990 10,612,577
November 1, 1995 10.231.217
November 1, 2000 9,895,972
November 1, 2005 9.820.171
November 1, 2010 9,794,304
November 1, 2015 10,035,597

Development of the living situation

The urbanization of Seoul took place mainly through the construction of apartment buildings. The buildings are often closely adjacent to the agricultural or wooded surrounding area. In the 1960s and 1970s, large numbers of rural farmers came to Seoul looking for better-paying jobs in the capital's industrial plants. The dense settlements of the rural refugees, mostly built without a permit on state land, grew predominantly in existing districts. The dwellings there were partly built in massive construction with tile roofs and hardly differed from the buildings erected with official permission in the regular development areas.

However, from the late 1970s, the residents of the unofficial settlements were relocated to areas further away from the city center. These areas were poorly connected to the urban water, sewage and transport network, which led to a deterioration in the living standards of the resettlers. In the center of Seoul, numerous five- to fifteen- story high- rise apartment buildings have been built for middle- to high-income families whose rents were not affordable for the former low-income residents.

Extensive renovation work has taken place in Seoul since the 1980s and the existing public infrastructure has been significantly expanded. In this context, for example, new underground lines and motorways were built. In the wider vicinity of the capital, in a beautifully scenic location, the country houses of the upper class working in Seoul, i.e. mainly artists, business people in high positions, university teachers and high-ranking military personnel, were built. There is a construction ban for industrial companies and settlements with apartment buildings.

Since the 1990s, many planned cities have been built in the vicinity of Seoul to solve the problem of the tight living space in the overcrowded capital. These new cities, which are located outside of Seoul in the Gyeonggi-do Province , are developing into large satellite cities and together with Seoul and the other three megacities Incheon , Suwon and Goyang form the metropolitan region of Sudogwon .


City government

The Last Mayor Park Won-soon
City marketing word mark

Seoul is administered by a city council and the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The city council consists of 104 members who are elected for a four-year term. The mayor who heads the Seoul Metropolitan Government is also directly elected for a four-year term. He has three vice mayors at his side, two for administrative tasks and one for political affairs. The 25 districts are largely autonomous, and their mayors have also been directly elected by the population since 1995.

The old city hall of Seoul in front of the new one ( 청사 Cheongsa , English 'City Hall').

The 33rd Mayor of Seoul was Oh Se-hoon from the Hannara-dang (Grand National Party, GNP for short). He took office on July 1, 2006 from his predecessor Lee Myung-bak , who had ruled the city since July 1, 2002. In August 2011, he resigned one year after his re-election because of a failed referendum to abolish free school meals for all students. Park Won-soon became mayor on October 27, 2011 . He was found dead shortly after midnight on July 10, 2020.

The Cheonggyecheon.

Air pollution and traffic noise cause problems. Seoul has the worst air quality of any capital city in the OECD . The demolition of an expressway over the Cheonggyecheon (translated “clear water flow ”), a tributary of the Han, and the renaturation of the river were among the city administration's largest projects. The 3670 meter long Cheonggyecheon was concreted over in 1961 and covered with an elevated road in 1971. On October 1, 2005, the restored river and green spaces in central Seoul were officially opened to the public.

Town twinning

Seoul has a provincial partnership with the state of New South Wales in Australia . In addition, Seoul maintains the following cities partnerships :

TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan)March 23, 1968: Taipei , Republic of China (Taiwan) August 23, 1971: Ankara , Turkey October 22, 1973: Honolulu , United States May 18, 1976: San Francisco , United States April 20, 1977: São Paulo , Brazil 14. June 1982: Bogotá , Colombia July 25, 1984: Jakarta , Indonesia September 3, 1988: Tokyo Prefecture , Japan July 13, 1991: Moscow , Russia November 12, 1991: Paris , France October 5, 1992: Mexico City , Mexico 23 October 1993: Beijing , People's Republic of China October 6, 1995: Ulaanbaatar , Mongolia May 1, 1996: Hanoi , Vietnam June 20, 1996: Warsaw , Poland April 27, 1997: Cairo , Egypt March 24, 1999: Tirana , Albania May 18 , 1996: Warsaw , Poland April 27, 1997: Cairo , Egypt March 24, 1999: Tirana , Albania March 2000: Rome , Italy November 6, 2004: Nur-Sultan , Kazakhstan March 13, 2006: Washington, DC , United States March 15, 2006: Athens , Greece June 16, 2006: Bangkok , Thailand July 2, 2010: Tashkent , Uzbekistan
United StatesUnited States
United StatesUnited States
China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China
United StatesUnited States

Culture and sights

Theater and music

Many cultural performances are held in Seoul. Traditional music, dance and theater performances in a modernized or modern form, classical music and more are offered. Seoul has a variety of small stages that are scattered across the city and are often experimental. Big stages are also located in the city. Three theaters for the play Nanta are in Seoul. Daehangno is known for its many theaters and is often seen as a theater district. The New Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is also located in Seoul .

The Korean National Theater ( 국립 극장 ) was founded in 1973 and is based on Namsan. It is home to the State Orchestra, the National Dance Company, and the National Drama Company. The larger of the two halls has 1,500 seats; many of the country's important cultural events take place here. The theater also has a stage for experimental theater performances and an amphitheater for less formal performances.

The Sejong Cultural Center ( 세종 문화 회관 ), named after King Sejong , has the largest stage in the city with 4,000 seats. It is the seat of the Korea National Opera . Here you can find concerts, operas and large productions, also of foreign origin. Choirs usually perform in the smaller hall. Lectures are also given and some free performances take place in the courtyard. In addition, there are frequently changing exhibitions with calligraphy , painting and similar art.

In the 21st century, South Korea became a major player in international pop music. The big entertainment agencies like Big Hit Entertainment , JYP Entertainment , SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment are based in Seoul. These agencies specialize in developing new girl and boy groups as well as solo artists. The music of the so-called idols is known under the term K-Pop .


As the country's cultural center, Seoul is home to over 100 museums , including the National Museum of Korea . The extensive collection with over 100,000 exhibits moved to a new, significantly larger building in Yongsan Family Park in October 2005. The holdings of Baekje tiles, Silla pottery, golden Buddhas, Goryeo pale green, and Joseon calligraphy and paintings offer a panorama of Korean culture . The National Museum also houses the famous Bosingak Bell, an important cultural treasure of Korea, which marked the time during the Joseon Dynasty in Seoul. It was struck 33 times in the morning at 4 a.m. and the city gates opened, and then at 7 p.m. in the evening 28 times and the gates were locked again. The first bell was destroyed in a fire in 1455, the second bell was built in 1468 and is kept in the museum to this day. The bell, which always struck at the turn of the year in Jongno ("Bell Street"), was not made until 1985, the Bell Pavilion was built in 1979 by the city administration.

The National Folk Museum is located on the grounds of the Gyeongbok Palace, in the rear part of the complex . It shows religious rituals ( shamanism ), various home cultures, household appliances, tools and everyday objects from Korea. In total, the museum houses over 10,000 objects. The National Palace Museum of Korea is also nearby . Since 2013, a branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art has also been located in the Sogyeok-dong district of Seoul, while the main location is in the city of Gwacheon .

The War Memorial , a monumental building in the city center with a museum, provides information about various wars in which Korea was involved, especially the Korean War . In the museum's large garden, there are military equipment as well as monuments commemorating the deployment of the US military in the Korean War and the South Korean soldiers in the Vietnam War . A replica of a turtle ship is inside. The Seodaemun Prison , where at the time of the Japanese occupation of the Korean resistance was imprisoned and tortured, is now a historical museum this time. In front of the prison is the Independence Park and the Independence Gate.

The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is considered one of the largest private museums in Seoul. The Korean Film Archive operates the Korean Film Museum and the KOFA Cinematheque in Digital Media City (Sangam-dong).


Due to the long history of the city, Seoul is home to numerous cultural assets, from relics from the Stone Age to graves, temples, palaces and fortifications. Seoul combines the past with the modern. Historical buildings stand between skyscrapers and many traces of history can be discovered in the small alleys. A few are highlighted here.


Traditional Deoksugung buildings and modern buildings in central Seoul
The Gyeongbokgung Throne Hall .

As the capital of the Joseon Dynasty , Seoul had six palaces, five of which are still preserved today. The Gyeongbokgung , the Changdeokgung and the Deoksugung are particularly worth seeing . The Gyeongbokgung ( 경복궁 "Palace translucent happiness") was built in 1394 with Seoul's appointment to the capital. The Geunjeonggung Throne and Audience Hall is particularly impressive . The palace was burned down during the Imjin War in 1592, but not by the Japanese troops, but by the palace's slaves who wanted to destroy evidence of their serfdom. Reconstruction only began in 1865, which significantly exacerbated Korea's poor economic situation at the time. However, only 23 years after moving back in, the king moved back to Deoksugung, which is located in the embassy district and therefore supposedly safer, after his wife Queen Min was murdered by contract killers of the Japanese government in 1895 .


The Changdeokgung ( 창덕궁 "Palace of Illustrious Righteousness") was built from 1405 to 1412 as an extension of the Gyeongbokgung. It was also burned down during the Imjin War, but rebuilt immediately afterwards and, although not originally intended, served the country as the seat of government until 1872. In 1907 it was moved into again by King Sunjong , the last king who lived here after his abdication in 1910 until his death in 1926. The last members of the royal family lived here too, until the last one died in 1989. In addition to the palace buildings, the secret garden Biwon is particularly worth seeing. The palace was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 .

The Deoksugung ( 덕수궁 "Palace of Righteous Longevity") was built in the 15th century as a residence for the grandson of King Sejo . After all of Seoul's palaces were burned down in the Imjin War in 1592, Deoksugung served as a palace until 1623 and again in 1897 after the assassination of Queen Min until 1907.

The Changgyeonggung and the small Unhyeongung are preserved palaces from the time of the Goryeo dynasty . At the place where the Gyeonghuigung once stood, there is now a park, the Seoul Historical Museum and the Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art . In 1988 the main gate Heunghwamun , which had meanwhile been in a different location in Seoul, was moved back, and in the 1990s replicas of some of the other palace buildings were built. The visitor is shown traditional cultural rites of Korean culture, such as the introductory events for officials of the Joseon Dynasty at royal palaces, the changing of the royal guards or the wedding between King Gojeon and Queen Min.


The headquarters of the Buddhist Order of Korea Jogyejong is Jogyesa Temple. There are many shops selling Buddhist props on the main street in front of the temple. Once a year in May (8th day of the 4th month of the Chinese calendar ), Jogyesa Temple is the destination of the great lantern parade, with which the Buddha's birthday is celebrated. Up to 100,000 people in colorful costumes and delegations from many Buddhist countries take part.

The Bongeunsa Temple ( 봉은사 ), the center of the Zen Buddhist religion in the 15th century , was built next to the tomb of King Seongjong ( 성종 ) in 794 during the Silla period and was relocated north of today's World Trade Center in 1562. Next to the main temple there is an interesting collection of wooden block inscriptions. The temple burned down several times and so most of the buildings in the complex were built recently.

The Bongwonsa Temple ( 봉원사 ) was built in 889, the third year of the reign of the Silla Queen Jinseong under the supervision of the monk To-seon. The original location of the temple was near Yonsei University . In 1728 he was relocated to the back entrance of today's Ewha Women's University . Yeongsanjae takes place there every weekend. This is a ritual that celebrates the way Buddha taught the Lotos Sutra of Mahayana Buddhism . The Bongwonsa is the main temple of the Taego sect of Buddhists in the capital. A specialty of this group is the possibility of the monks to marry.


The Namhansanseong Fortress ("Fortress of the Mountain South of the Han") is a mountain fortress located about 30 kilometers south-east of Seoul and easily accessible by subway. This large-scale refuge in the mountains, with a wall about eight kilometers long and up to seven meters high, was created around 2,000 years ago under the Baekje dynasty. Most of the remaining parts of the building, however, date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, when the fortress was used to protect the Joseon kings from the Chinese invading armies. In 1637 in Namhansanseong King Injo surrendered with 14,000 soldiers to a huge Manchu armed force , whose control then passed to all of Korea.

The fortress Bukhansanseong , the "fortress of the mountain north of the Han", is together with the fortress Namhansansong the second well-known ancient fortification in the area of ​​Seoul. The fortress is located in the north of the city, built on the ridge of the Bukhan Mountains. This facility was also built in the early Baekje period and was fiercely contested several times. After armies of the Chinese Ming emperors threatened the fortress in the 16th century, the Joseon king Sukjong (1674–1720) had the walls of the fortress reinforced. Partly destroyed in the course of the Korean War, the walls have now been restored due to the historical significance of the fortress.


The Jongmyo Shrine.

In Seoul there are some royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty , which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites . The Seolleung and Jeongneung graves are located in the southern district of Gangnam. In Seocho there are Heolleung and Illeung. In northern Nowon are Taereung and Gangneung. To the east of the city are Jeongneung and Uireung. Most of the other graves are in the surrounding Gyeonggi-do Province.

The Jongmyo Shrine is also located in Seoul . This served to worship the ancestors of the Joseon rulers. The traditional rituals are held in the shrine to this day. On the first Sunday in May according to the lunar calendar, the "Jongmyo Daeje" takes place in Seoul at the Jongmyo Shrine . The procession and ritual is held to worship the queens and kings of the Joseon Dynasty.

Highest building

The tallest buildings in South Korea are in Seoul, Busan and Incheon . In 2017 the Lotte World Tower was opened in Gangnam , at 555 m one of the tallest buildings in the world. The Hyundai Global Business Center , the new corporate headquarters of Hyundai , is due to be completed in 2023 . At 569 meters high, it would be the tallest skyscraper in Korea. In 2020 the high-rise complex Parc One in Yeouido is to be opened, the highest tower of which, Parc 1 Tower A , is to be 318 m high.

rank Surname photo height Floors Construction year district annotation
1 Lotte World Tower 555  m 123 2017 Songpa-gu The tallest building in South Korea and the seventh tallest in the world .
2 Three International Financial Center Office Tower 284  m 55 2012 Yeongdeungpo-gu
3 Samsung Tower Palace 3 Tower G 264  m 69 2003 Gangnam-gu The tallest residential building in Seoul
4th Mok-dong Hyperion I Tower A 256  m 69 2003 Yangcheon-gu
5 63 Building 249  m 60 1985 Yeongdeungpo-gu When completed in 1985, it was the tallest building in Asia


The N Seoul Tower at sunset.

There are numerous parks and recreational areas in Seoul. Namsan is a public park including a botanical garden, an octagonal pavilion and a museum village displaying restored hanok (traditional houses). At the highest point is the N Seoul Tower with a rotating restaurant. The tower is considered a landmark in Seoul. Since the mountain is in the center of Seoul, the tower can be seen from almost every point in the city.

Part of the Changdeokgung Secret Garden .

The "Secret Garden", the former private park of the royal family, extends behind the Changdeok Palace. Footpaths lead through wooded, hilly terrain, past ponds and pavilions and over small bridges. The Bandoji , whose outlines trace the Korean Peninsula , was laid out in a picturesque way . In the 16th century, King Injo pursued his great fishing passion from the fan-shaped pavilion . The Naksonjae complex is only open to the public twice a year, on the occasion of the royal ceremony.

Another park in Seoul is the Seonyudo . It is located on a small island of the same name in the hillside and houses a playground, viewpoints, ponds and an interesting garden. This island used to be the central water supply of Seoul, the pumping stations have been preserved and can be visited. The Seoul Forest in Ttukseom is a park on the hillside. In addition to several green areas, a large playground and a number of bike paths, there is a photo exhibition on the subject of "forest" and also some animals. A park opened in 1983 is located around the Samjeondo monument, erected in 1639. The only national park within the metropolitan area of ​​Seoul is the Bukhansan National Park . It is endowed with numerous Buddhist temples and rare animals that inhabit the mountain area.

At Daehangno ("University Street ") is the Naksan Park, which also houses part of the Seoul city wall. The park offers a good view of the city. Lake Seokchon and its park are particularly popular during the cherry blossom season . The Tapgol Park (formerly Pagoda Park) is of particular historical importance . In the park is the Wongaksa Pagoda. On March 1, 1919, the declaration of independence was read out in the park. It was the birth of the Korean resistance to Japan's colonial rule.

Between 2007 and 2014, Dongdaemun-gu underwent modernization and restoration. The Dongdaemun Stadium was demolished in order to excavate parts of the historic fortress wall. This created the Dongdaemun History & Culture Park . The Dongdaemun Gate has also been restored. In 2014, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) was also opened. This neo-futuristic design landmark is the venue for many exhibitions and is one of Seoul's fashion centers.

Seoullo 7017 , which opened in May 2017, is a very special park . A 1 km long section consisting of a former elevated road was converted into a pedestrian crossing and inner-city park based on a similar project in New York City , the High Line , and has been an attraction of the city ever since.

There are also plans to convert the US military base in Yongsan-gu District , the area of ​​which is to be returned to South Korea in 2021, into a park. In 2004, those responsible in South Korea and the USA decided to withdraw the US army from Seoul and relocate it to the surrounding areas. The US Army Headquarters in South Korea then went to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek . However, there is also criticism of the planning that the country plans to use as a park, as Seoul also needs more living space. However, since the country has been under foreign violence since 1904 - until 1945 as the base of the Japanese army when the US military took over the base after the Second World War - the area should be open to the public as far as possible and not be privatized.

Seokchon Lake in Gangnam during the cherry blossom season.


Seoul has 12,000 sports facilities, most of which are commercial. Around 700 of the facilities are publicly owned or in-house sports facilities. There are 28 city-run sports facilities, including four stadiums for soccer, baseball, and athletics. Furthermore, ten of the 25 districts operate their own sports centers, and four other districts are currently building such facilities.

Olympic swimming stadium

Most representative are the sports facilities of the Jamsil Sports Complex in the Songpa-gu district , which extend over an area of ​​0.59 square kilometers. The Asian Games in 1986, the Summer Olympics in 1988 and the Summer Paralympics in 1988 were held here. They include the Olympic Stadium with a capacity for 100,000 spectators, a baseball stadium, an indoor swimming pool, a sports hall, a sports field and a school sports field. There is also a complex of sports facilities in Olympic Park Seoul .

One of the largest football stadiums in Asia is the World Cup Stadium in the Mapo-gu district , built for the 2002 World Cup . It has 65,000 seats, has seven floors and is based on the basic shape of the soban , a traditional Korean octagonal tea tray made of wood. In the stadium roof, the expression of the Bangpaeyeon , a traditional shield-shaped kite that carries people's hopes to heaven, is combined with the shape of the Hwangpodotbae , a traditional sailing ship on the Hangang. The natural lines of the stadium correspond to the roof as well as the eaves of traditional buildings in Korea. After around three years of construction work since October 1998, the stadium was opened in November 2001.

Local sports clubs

  • Men
level league society Home stadium
Top division K League Classic FC Seoul Seoul World Cup Stadium , North Seoul
Second highest K League Challenge Seoul E-Land FC Seoul Olympic Stadium , Southeast Seoul
Fourth highest K3 League Basic Seoul United FC
Seoul Jungnang FC
Madeul Stadium , South Seoul
Jungnang Sports Ground , East Seoul
  • Women
level league society Home stadium
Top division WK League Seoul WFC Hyochang Stadium

Seoul is home to three KBO League baseball clubs .

team Home stadium
LG Twins Jamsil ballpark
Doosan Bears
Kiwoom Heroes Gocheok Sky Dome


Seoul is considered the " Mecca " of eSports . Special interest channels focused on broadcasting eSports competitions early on. The sport has been professionalized and the Korean eSports Association is a member of the National Olympic Committee .

freetime and recreation

The partially covered amusement park Lotte World .

Hiking and mountaineering are among the most popular leisure activities in South Korea and are considered a national sport. The Baekdudaegan mountain range stretches through the entire peninsula . There are several mountains in Seoul, the highest of which is Bukhansan (Bagundae Mountain Peak). Other popular destinations are Suraksan , Gwanaksan or the Namhansanseong Fortress .

The 632 meter high Gwanaksan Mountain rises on the southern outskirts. Because of its beauty, Gwanaksan is often called Sogeumgang (small Kŭmgang mountain) or Seogeumgang (Kŭmgang mountain of the west) after Kŭmgangsan, which is considered the most beautiful mountain in Korea . Numerous hiking trails lead through the mountain range with its dense and old trees. The starting point for the excursions is usually the Seoul State University at the foot of the mountain. There is a radar station and several antenna systems on the rocky summit. The Wongaksa temple and the Yeonjuam hermitage, which King Taejo of the Joseon dynasty had built during the transfer of the Korean capital to what is now Seoul in 1394, are also located on Gwanaksan .

There are also several theme parks in Seoul , such as Lotte World , Seoul Children's Grand Park and Seoul Land . The decommissioned Yongma Land amusement park is also a popular location for films, series and music videos.

In May 2011 the world's largest floating island Floating Island ( Sebitseom ) was opened at that time . It is a floating amusement park with restaurants, conference halls and opportunities for water sports. Around 63 million euros have been invested in the floating island . Some scenes from the Hollywood film Avengers: Age of Ultron and the K-dramas Athena and She Was Pretty ( 그녀 는 예뻤다 ) were shot there. The German-Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry is holding its Innovation Awards ceremony there .

Regular events

Big fireworks are held every year in October or November. The 63 building can be seen in the background .

From the end of March to the beginning of April the cherry blossoms bloom, which can be found in abundance at Lake Seokchon and in Yeouido. On April 8th according to the lunar calendar, the festival of the lotus lanterns takes place on Buddha's birthday. The Buddhist monasteries are decorated with lanterns and a lantern parade is held from the Yeouido Plaza to the Jogyesa Temple. Since 2000, the Seoul International Fireworks Festival has been held annually on the Hangang near Yeouido in October or November . It is organized by the chemical conglomerate Hanwha and the Seoul Broadcasting System .

With Comic World there is also a regular event on Manhwa , Manga and Anime in Seoul .

Culinary specialties

Due to its size, the city has a very large selection of restaurants serving Korean and international cuisine in various price ranges. There are many restaurants that are similar to canteens but are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are also many well-known fast food chains in Seoul . Myeongdong District is known for its kalguksu dish . Barbecue restaurants, where dishes such as bulgogi , samgyeopsal and galbi are fried at the table, are very popular . These are thin strips of meat that are cut into small pieces after frying and eaten with sauces and vegetables. In the past few years, Korean-style fried chicken with beer ( Chimaek ) has also gained popularity, especially for couples and friends.

A kimchi dish in the capital region is chunggak . Here, radish is placed together with the leaves of the plant or prepared cut into several cubes. In Daerim-dong there is a Chinatown , where you can eat good Sino-Korean and Chinese food.


Myeongdong at night

The largest market in all of South Korea is the Dongdaemun market at the old east gate, the Dongdaemun (Dong = east; Dae = large; Mun = door). From household goods or electronics, shoes and clothing to furniture, everything can be bought here. Another important market in Seoul is the Namdaemun Market , which extends to the east of the south gate. There is also a specialty market there. The Myeongdong district is also popular , with numerous shopping, entertainment and street food options . In addition to the many markets, Seoul also offers the opportunity to shop in the numerous department stores and shopping streets. At the Namdaemun ro can be found directly opposite the entrance to Myeongdong right Avenuel and left Lotte Young Plaza .

Up the road is Shinsegae , across from the Bank of Korea . With Times Square , one of the largest department stores in Seoul is located in Yeongdeungpo . The second largest cinema screen in the world is also located there in the CGV Starium . There are also film premieres in Times Square. The Yongsan Electronics Market , the largest IT market in Asia, is located in Yongsan-gu .

Ssamzigil in Insadong

Insadong is a market for art and culture and primarily designed for tourists. Antiques and traditional souvenirs such as pictures, sculptures and calligraphy can be bought there. There is also the popular Ssamzigil in Insadong . Gangnam is the richest district in Seoul and is home to some popular shopping streets and houses. These include above all Apgujeong-dong , Cheongdam-dong and the local fashion street Garosu-gil as well as the COEX Mall .

Entire shopping streets - such as those below Jongno and Euljiro - were built underground. The Sogong Underground Shopping Center is directly connected to the Lotte Department Store, Young Plaza and Avenuel in Myeongdong and was popular in the 1980s; The Hoehyon Underground Shopping Center is located between Myeongdong and Namdaemun and was a popular shopping spot for LPs in the 1980s. In these and other numerous arcades you will find a wide range of clothing, jewelry, stationery, smartphones, cameras, souvenirs and reproductions of antique porcelain.

Economy and Infrastructure

According to a study from 2014, the greater Seoul area has a gross domestic product of 846 billion US dollars (KKB). In the ranking of the economically strongest metropolitan regions worldwide, he took 4th place. The technological infrastructure is highly developed. Seoul is known as the “best wired city” in the world. The city landed first in the category of technology propensity in a study by PwC . Most public places have free Wi-Fi . Since April 2019, SK Telecom and KT have been providing the 5G mobile communications standard nationwide .


COEX Convention and Exhibition Center

The capital experienced a rapid modernization process from the Korean War (1950–1953) to the present day. These include the rapid change from a premodern to an industrial society and rapid economic growth. Between 1989 and 1998, the South Korean economy grew by an average of 11.6% annually. In 1997 the unemployment rate was only 2.7%. Like all of Korea, however, Seoul was shaken by the Asian crisis at the end of 1997 , unemployment jumped to over 9%, and South Korea's GDP shrank by 5.5% in 1998. Since then, however, the situation has quickly improved.

Seoul is now home to a variety of conglomerates such as Samsung , LG , Hyundai , SK , Hanwha and utilities such as Korea Electric Power Corporation . For a long time, the city's most important industrial products were chemical products, textiles and clothing, as well as machines and print products, but were gradually replaced at the top by IT and electrical and electronic equipment. Most people are in the service sector. The most important industrial area is the Korea Export Industrial Complex , also known as the Guro Industrial Complex , where about 8,000 companies are located on an area of ​​1.98  km² . They employ over 100,000 people and are mainly active in the fields of development , IT, assembly and paper production. Most banks have their headquarters in Yeouido, where the Korea Exchange is also based.

The tourism is also of economic importance. With 10.2 million foreign visitors, Seoul was the 10th most visited city in the world in 2016. Tourists brought in $ 12.3 billion in revenue that same year. Most of the foreign visitors came from the People's Republic of China.

Soy , millet and wheat are grown in the agricultural area around Seoul .

With the nearby Incheon on the Yellow Sea, the city ​​has a large port for the import and export of industrial goods and an important passenger and freight airport. Seoul is increasingly benefiting from South Korea's central location between the People's Republic of China and Japan . These and Taiwan can be reached in less than two hours by flight, and within five hours one can reach the rapidly growing markets of Indonesia , Thailand and the Philippines .

Due to a successful decentralization policy , Seoul has lost its position as the most important industrial location in the country, which it had already established in the Japanese colonial era, but has retained its priority position in the service sector. Almost all institutions with the highest governmental and private-sector administrative, planning and control powers and their employees are located in the capital. Almost all major corporations, banks, trading companies and insurance companies in South Korea are also headquartered in Seoul.


Long-distance transport

Incheon International Airport

Incheon International Airport , which opened in 2001, is the capital's most important international airport. The majority of South Korean international air connections start or end here. It is located about 50 kilometers west of the capital on the island of Yeongjongdo and is connected to the Seoul Metro network. The airport also has a motorway connection, which is also used by a large number of shuttle buses. The airport replaces Gimpo Airport, 18 kilometers from Seoul, as the country's international hub, which today mainly serves national routes and connections to other East Asian cities.

The rapid transit train between Seoul Station and Incheon International Airport ( AREX )

Seoul has three major train stations: Seoul Station , Yongsan Station, and Cheongnyangni Station . Seoul Station was originally built by the Japanese and expanded from 1989 to 1990. Nevertheless, the Yongsan Station, which opened in 2004, had to be rebuilt to relieve the strain. The South Korean railway network connects Seoul with almost all major cities, most of which are south of the capital. On March 30, 2004, the Korea Train Express (KTX) ran the first high-speed line between Seoul and Busan . South Korea was the first Asian country to use the French technology of the TGV (high-speed train) and is now producing it under license.

Seoul is directly connected to almost every city in South Korea via an extensive motorway network of express and long-distance buses . Important bus stations for connections to other cities are the Gangnam Express Bus Terminal in the south of the city, the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal in the east and the Seoul Sangbong Bus Terminal in the north of the city. Of the 70 or so destinations that can be reached by express buses from Seoul, most are served at least every hour, the most important every 10 to 20 minutes. In addition to the lines that usually run from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., there are also some special night lines that run until 2 a.m. Intercity buses are lines that go to smaller and closer places. They do not necessarily drive on motorways, but also on other roads and often have intermediate stops. Instead, they go to significantly more destinations and are accordingly cheaper than the express buses.

Local transport

Buses in Seoul

Seoul has a dense and well-developed road network with six highways. 19 large spur roads lead away from the city center in all directions, and there are also three ring motorways around the city center. The total length of the road network is 7801 kilometers (as of 1999). All major roads are multi-lane, the widest is the Sejongno with 20 lanes.

The Seoul Subway is one of the largest subway systems in the world. The first section of the Seoul Subway opened on August 15, 1974. Today it operates on a network of nine lines with a length of 352 kilometers, which is constantly being expanded. However, the Seoul subway is also connected to the Incheons line and AREX etc., which are not included in the route length here. The underground trains run from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., on some routes even longer, usually at intervals of four to six minutes, and every three to four minutes during rush hour . The subway is used by up to seven million people every day. Some new lines have three tracks, with trains running on the middle track that only stop at transfer stations, which means that they are faster. From May 1, 1899, there was an electric tram in Seoul , but its operation was stopped on November 29, 1968.

The city bus system is also very well developed. Over seven million passengers are carried on the over 400 lines every day. There are four types of buses: main buses (blue), neighborhood buses (green), express buses (red), and circulating buses (yellow). Main traffic lines are usually served from 5 a.m. to midnight, and buses usually run every few minutes. Driving times are usually displayed electronically. Today, many passengers use their smartphone - applications , to check on the times or connections. The direct bus routes are served by more comfortable buses and stop less often. Many of these lines are commuter lines that connect Seoul to the satellite cities. Neighborhood lines connect otherwise unconnected residential areas with the rest of the bus network.

Both single journeys by bus and the distance-based journeys by underground are very cheap compared to Central European prices. As a rule, the Tmoney card or a smartphone via NFC is used for payment .

The bicycle is becoming more and more popular as a means of transportation. The Hangang is a popular place for short bike tours. There is usually more space outside of Seoul, so there are many cyclists in the parks there. The bike rental system in Seoul is called Ttareungi ( 따릉 이 ) and in English Seoul Bike .


The main gate of Seoul National University .

Seoul is the educational center of South Korea. About 40 universities are located here. In 2018, 18 of these universities were among the best 1000 universities in the world in the QS World University Ranking . The Seoul National University has always ranked as the highest in recent years. The Sungkyunkwan University, the oldest university in Asia, is also located in Seoul . Furthermore, the Dongguk University is one of the few universities that is connected to Buddhism . The three best universities in South Korea, Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University , are collectively referred to as SKY . The three universities in the Sinchon district - Yonsei University, Ewha Womans University and Sogang University - are also grouped under the acronym YES.

Alphabetically sorted list of universities in Seoul:

There are also 9 vocational colleges, 318  high schools , 384  middle schools and 601  elementary schools as well as 000000000000879.0000000000879 kindergartens (as of 2016). There are also a number of schools abroad, including the German School in Seoul . Since 1974, in most of Seoul's school districts, students have been randomly assigned to high schools. That is, the schools do not reject students, but the lot decides which student will attend which high school. This should remove inequalities between schools and relieve the students. In recent years, however, some school districts have adapted the regulation and in some cases students can indicate preferences when choosing a school.


sons and daughters of the town

Personalities who worked in Seoul

  • Kim Jeon (1458–1523), Korean politician, Neo-Confucian philosopher and poet


  • Robert Nilsen: South Korea Handbook. 3. Edition. Moon, Emeryville Cal 2004, ISBN 1-56691-418-3 , pp. 157ff.
  • Dirk Bronger: Manila-Bangkok-Seoul. Regional development and spatial policy in the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea . Institute for Asian Studies, Hamburg 1997, ISBN 3-88910-178-X .
  • Beom Chu: Housing and urban development based on tradition: Development of a concept for the reorganization of historic residential areas in Seoul. Distribution for building and planning literature, Dortmund 1999, ISBN 3-929797-53-4 .
  • Lothar Coenen (Ed.): The wind blows from the south. Testimonials from Seoul. Calwer, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-7668-3109-7 .
  • Young-Jun Lee: Air Quality Policy in the Seoul Metropolitan Area. Publishing house for science and research, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-930324-09-1 .
  • In-Ju Song: Analysis of the urban ecosystem as an ecological basis for urban planning. Using the example of Seoul. Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-86064-800-4 .
  • Martin Robinson: Seoul. Lonely Planet, Melbourne 2003, ISBN 1-74059-218-2 . (English travel guide)
  • Keith Pratt: Old Seoul. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2002, ISBN 0-19-593087-8 .
  • Peter Messingfeld: Adventure Seoul Verlag Lydia Messingfeld, 2008, ISBN 978-3-00-024362-2 (German culture and travel guide)

Web links

Commons : Seoul  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Seoul  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Seoul  Travel Guide

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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on January 4, 2006 in this version .