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Located opposite the National Theater, this institute teaches traditional Korean customs and culture. Classes offered here include tea ceremony, cooking, dancing, how to wear hanbok (Korean traditional clothes), kimchi making, and the etiquette of a traditional Korean wedding ceremony. These traditions are learned through direct participation. Tour groups are provided with special programs. The average class lasts from one to two hours and anyone is welcome to attend. A fee of KRW400,000 per lesson is charged for a group of ten.
Located just north of Namsan Park, Namsangol Hanok Village is a re-creation of a small village which depicts the architecture and gardens of the Joseon Dynasty (1393-1910). There are five restored traditional houses decorated with authentic furniture and fittings from that era. A large pavilion overlooks a beautiful pond and an outdoor theater hosts dance and drama performances on weekends. There is also a hall displaying traditional handicrafts and a kiosk selling souvenirs.
The 27,000 square meter(6.67 acres) Samsung Museum of Art Complex was designed in 1997. It provides support to cultural and artistic activities, thus increasing their life span and raising their historical value. The Institute is involved in the following: conservation of metal and ceramic works, Korean paintings and contemporary and modern art works. Artworks are preserved here through application of the most advanced technology. The experts undertake the material study to establish appropriate environmental conditions and develop better conservation and restoration techniques.
Established in 1994, the War Memorial of Korea is one of the largest of its kind in the world and occupies the former army headquarters. It honors those who lost their lives fighting for their country through the course of the Korean War. The memorial comprises both indoor and outdoor exhibition halls that display a curated selection of 10,000 military relics, artillery, ammunition, documents, photographs and other artifacts from the museum's 33,000-strong collection pertaining to the nation's long and illustrious war history. Although primarily focused on the events of the Korean War, the museum also delves into battles preceding it and the international wars that Korean troops were involved in to provide a wider and more comprehensive understanding of the topic. An evocative memorial to the cost of war, as well as a testament to the nation's military prowess, the War Memorial of Korea is a chronicle of the events that shaped the geo-political history of the Korean Peninsula.
Amidst the city's modern landscape, the signature Korean roof of the Jogyesa is not hard to find. This major temple of the Jogye Order is an advocate of Korean Buddhism and attracts a large number of locals and visitors throughout the year. The Dancheong or traditional, artistic motifs hand-painted on the exterior facade are exceptional and colorful buntings ooze a festive feel. The shrine houses three Seokgamoni statues and overlooks an exquisite Jinsinsari pagoda. Across the street, pick up Buddhist prayer beads, scriptures and incense that make for great gifts and souvenirs.
Gyeongbok Palace, sometimes referred to as Gyeongbokgung Palace, was constructed in 1395 by King Taejo. Largest among the Five Grand Palaces built in Seoul around this time, Gyeongbok served as the central palace during the Joseon dynasty, doubling as the official kingly residence and seat of the Joseon government. The palace was designed with majestic towers, grand facades, intricate furnishings, a massive royal court, and no fewer than 7,700 individual rooms. Much of the palace was restored in the 19th century, and it continues to undergo work as part of a campaign to restore the site to its original glory. At once visually stunning and culturally significant, Gyeongbok Palace and its onsite museums offer excellent insight into Korean history.
Encased in glass and glazed with gold, 63 Square or 63 Building as it is also known is a shimmering beauty that makes a prominent appearance on the city's skyline. Overlooking the Hangang River, this landmark skyscraper holds its own as its glistening form soars above the rest of the city, measuring in at a height of 249 meters (817 feet). Having opened in 1985, the building was intended as a landmark for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and is regarded today as one of the most emblematic buildings in Seoul. It is home to the popular 63 Seaworld, 63 Sky Art Gallery and 63 Wax Museum, but is most well known for its Love Elevators; these elevators offer a brief romantic escape to couples by taking them on a minute-long ride through the building.
The Trick Eye Museum exemplifies the trompe l'oeil art technique that creates optical illusions on two-dimensional paintings. Up for viewing are creative and imaginative pieces and funny renditions of renowned artwork like the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo's David. The unique establishment is housed in the Santorini Seoul, the city's cultural hub, and features thematic rooms, including backdrops of Venetian canals and Amsterdam windmills. A visit here is truly a one-of-a-kind experience; and with strategic posing, you can be a part of the interactive images.
Over 500 exotic species and 40,000 fascinating marine life call Coex Aquarium their home. The aquarium is divided into six different categories. The Deep Blue Sea, as the name suggests are for underwater creatures from the deep end of the ocean. Seven Seas are reserved for species from the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Red Sea, Pacific Ocean and North and South Poles. Marine Touch allows you to be in touching distance of the enchanting beings, quite literally. Ocean Kingdom comprises of sharks, stingrays, groupers, napoleons and so on. The Inca Empire features relics from the empire of the same name while Amazon World showcases tropical fish from the Amazon forest. Head here for a breath-taking and unforgettable experience.
The granite peaks of this mountain are a famous sight in Korea. Between the peaks are beautiful valleys with areas of woodland, where you will find many rare plants and interesting flowers. In the vicinity are historical sites, too, such as Bukhan Fortress, and some 100 temples dot the nearby hills. For those seeking a bit of exercise, various paths have been laid out, allowing walkers and climbers of all ages and levels to discover the natural joys of this famous landmark.
Children's Grand Park is one of the largest children's parks in Asia. It includes a zoo, a botanical garden, an amusement park, outdoor concert stages and physical training facilities. In spring and fall, many young children and their teachers can be seen here on school picnics. As an educational venue, it is not only fun, it also provides interesting information about plant and animal life. Budget a full day for your visit.
Located in the heart of the city, the Olympic Park was built when the Summer Olympics visited Seoul in 1988. It houses tennis courts, weight-lifting and fencing gymnasiums, a gymnastics arena and an indoor swimming pool. With the games done and dusted, these venues now play host to numerous cultural and sporting events, and the park is a popular tourist attraction by itself. Enter through the majestic Peace Gate with the Olympic flame atop, and soak in the freshness of manicured lawns donned with stone and metal sculptures. An inanimate version of Hodori, the games' mascot welcomes you at the Olympic Museum to celebrate the history of the games and witness various exhibitions.