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Travel, Teach, Live in Korea

Interesting Facts About Seoul, Korea
By:Richard Long

Seoul is the capital city of the Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea. South Korea occupies the southern portion of the Korean peninsula, which juts into the sea off the northeastern coast of China. Seoul is served by Incheon International Airport, which receives daily direct flights from across Asia, Europe and North America.

The current city of Seoul is officially six hundred years old, though the city and surrounding area have been at the center of Korean life and politics for over 2,000 years. Seoul became the official capital of the Joseon dynasty in 1394 and has retained its status as a capital city through various kingdoms and state structures ever since. Seoul has been known by various names throughout history, including Hanyang and Gyeongseongbu, and received its current name on August 15th, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered and Korea was liberated from Japanese rule.

Seoul is a very large, busy and modern city. There are more than 10.5 million people living in Seoul, of whom more than 25 percent have home access to broadband Internet connections, the highest broadband penetration rate in the world. Seoul ranked first in the International Telecommunications Union digital opportunities index in 2005 and 2006. Seoul is also an "around-the-clock" city, with more than 25,000 shops open 24 hours a day.

International Events
Seoul has played host to a number of major international events. Seoul hosted the Asian Games in 1986 and the Summer Olympics in 1988. Korea shared hosting duties with Japan for the 2002 FIFA World Cup of soccer finals, with many matches played in Seoul. Seoul is also hosting the G20 leaders summit in November 2010 and the city regularly welcomes more than 80 international conventions and conferences every year.

Seoul has a modern and efficient transportation system and, while traffic in a city of more than 10 million people can be stifling, it is an easy city to get around. In addition to buses, the Han River water taxi and very affordable regular taxis, Seoul has one of the more modern subway networks in the world. The subway system has nine lines, in addition to three more lines of above-ground railways. The subway can take you virtually everywhere in the city of Seoul for less than one U.S. dollar a ride.

While there are a few historical sites to see in Seoul, such as the 600-year-old Changdeokgung palace, most of the architecture in Seoul is distinctly modern. This is partly due to modern Korea’s pace of development but also is a result of the massive destruction of Seoul during the Korean war between 1950 and 1953. Pre-1950 buildings in Seoul are few and far between.

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