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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.
Designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is one of the most iconic landmark structures in Seoul. The cutting-edge modernity of this mega-structure coupled with its unique design won Seoul city the title of World Design Capital in 2010. The structure of the building is curvaceous and fluid, devoid of any straight lines or walls. It houses as many as five spaces inside, namely an art hall, a museum, a design lab, the Oullim square and the Dongdaemun History and Culture park. Visit the DDP at night for a dazzling view of this modern wonder.
This Korean-style village is nestled at the foot of Pukansan between Gyeongbok Palace and the secret garden. There are over 2,000 buildings of which more than half are Korean-style houses. Most of these structures have antique tiled roofs and stone walls. The village is a fascinating walk down olden times and a much needed escape from the otherwise modern environs of the city. Some of the attractions that are incorporated in the Bukchon Hanok Village include Gahoe Museum, Han Sangsu Embroidery Museum and Rakgojae.
Located in the heart of Seoul city, the Lotte World Tower stands at a height of 555.7 meters (1823.16 feet). The super-tall skyscraper was opened to the public on April 3, 2017 and is one of the tallest building in South Korea and the world. The tower is home to several stores, cafes, restaurants, galleries, an aquarium and even a concert hall. In addition they have a theme park that contains an ice rink and folk museum. On the top floors of the tower they have an observation deck, a sky-walk, and a luxury hotel. The tower is very popular with locals and tourists who spend the entire day exploring and enjoying a plethora of activities under one roof.
Established in 1994, the War Memorial of Korea is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Occupying the former army headquarters, it honors those who lost their lives fighting for their country throughout the course of the Korean War. The memorial comprises both indoor and outdoor exhibition halls that display a curated selection of numerous military relics, artillery, ammunition, documents, photographs, and other artifacts from the museum's vast collection pertaining to the nation's war history. Although primarily focusing on the Korean War, the museum also delves into battles preceding it to facilitate a 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.
Built in 1971, the N Seoul Tower, located at the peak of Mt.Namsan is 236.7 meters (777 feet) tall. The iconic landmark, built for transmitting signals of radio and television, is visible from nearly everywhere in the city. Now, a famed tourist attraction, the tower offers stunning views from the top. One of the most romantic places in Seoul, the N Seoul Tower or Namsan Tower is a favorite for couples and as any Korean Drama fan will recognize, is the top spot to profess undying love, much like the Eiffel Tower in France. Around the roof terrace, there are locks in a colorful display, proclaiming messages of true love, as couples come here to leave a love lock as a symbol of their devotion to each other. Accessible by cable car, car or hiking, the tower has other attractions including art exhibitions, restaurants, and a cultural experience center.
This impressive gate was originally constructed in 1395 as the main entrance from the majestic Sejong Boulevard into Kyongbuk Palace. The three arched gates and a two-story pavilion are typical of the architectural design and shape of that period. It has been completely reconstructed after years of conflict and falling into disrepair and it is now made of modern materials such as concrete and steel. It presently serves as a secondary entrance to Kwanghwamun Park.
Established in 1905, Gwangjang Market was the nation's first traditional bazaar. This permanent mart houses over 5,000 enterprises, most of which were inherited from previous generations and bustles with the lively banter of merchants and shoppers. It features numerous vendors selling ibaji food and local specialties, foreign imports, fresh produce, vintage fashion, antiques and handcrafted items. Its main attraction remains retailers of the authentic Korean dress, hanbok, whose top-quality silk and satin varieties in vibrant colors available at bargain prices, here. The clothing has a simple silhouette and is popularly worn during festivals and special occasions. The market is also a popular dining destination, with food stalls serving up a wide variety of favorite traditional Korean foods.
Established in 1414, Namdaemun Market is one of the oldest and largest traditional market in Korea. There are more than 10,000 stores offering a large selection of products including clothes, accessories, silverware and much more at reasonable prices. After long hours of walking around, you are sure to get hungry. Luckily, there are many restaurants and food stands where you can try a variety of traditional Korean foods. Tourists from across the world visiting Seoul make it a point to stop by and buy something from the popular Namdaemun Market.
The National Museum of Korea is one of the most extensive museums in Seoul, housing art and archaeological objects from Korean prehistory through to the end of the Chosun Dynasty (1910). Throughout the three-floor museum, there are 13,000 artifacts in six permanent galleries on display. Audio guides, touch screens, and video rooms all help to bring the ancient world alive here. In addition to regular exhibitions, the museum offers special educational programs such as public lectures, arts and crafts classes, and special tours. There are over 220,000 objects in the collections. In addition there are special exhibition halls, education facilities, a children's museum, a huge outdoor exhibition area, restaurants, cafes, shops, and other amenities.