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Top Rated Attractions in Seoul

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Gyeongbok Palace

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.

The War Memorial of Korea

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.

Jogyesa Temple

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.

N Seoul Tower

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.

Gwanghwamun (Gate)

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.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)

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.

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