Seoul is South Korea’s capital and its largest city, home to World Heritage sites like the Jongmyo Shrine and Changdeokgung Palace.
With a population of 10.4 million, Seoul, which means ‘capital’ in the traditional Korean language, is the fifth largest city in the world.
Traversed by the Han River and surrounded by mountain ranges, Seoul has long been the centre of political and economic rule in South Korea. Its history dates back to 18BC, when it was first documented as Wiryeseong, the capital of the Baekje Dynasty. In 1910, Seoul fell under a brief spell under the Japanese, but the post-war years after 1948 led the city to rapid recovery and modernisation.
Today, Seoul is a highly modern city and has since developed into an economic and cultural megacity with over 700 museums and 400 galleries. However, the old palaces and the city’s ancient walled gates of Namdaemun and Dongdaemun still stand, and it is this blend of modern and traditional that makes this city so unique.
Seoul is also South Korea’s fashion and shopping capital, with areas like Myeongdong, Dongdaemun and Namdaemun Market attracting millions of shoppers daily. Some of these stores are even open 24 hours, a definite highlight for shopaholics. Seoul’s growing nightlife scene is located in Itaewon and Gangnam, where extremely popular clubs are crowded every weekend.