The Things You Should Know About Seoul
Seoul is the capital and largest city in South Korea. It’s considered a megacity because it has a population of over ten million people. Having been settled for over 2,000 years, the city has a remarkable history and plenty of sights of historical and cultural importance. From its dancing fountains to high-speed trains to crowded flight paths, here are 7 interesting facts about Seoul.
If you are planning a trip to Seoul, or simply intrigued about the country, here are 7 interesting facts
1. Its official name is Seoul Special City
The city of Seoul has had many different names. Seoul was called Wiryeseong during the Baekje era – one of the Three Kingdoms which ruled over ancient Korea from the 1st century BCE to the 7th century CE. Then, it was called Wiryeseong during the Goryeo era (918–1392). During the Joseon era (1392–1910) it was called Hanyang. During colonial times (1910 – 1945) it was called Keijo. In 1945, the city was officially named Seoul and was designated as a special city in 1949.
2. Seoul is a megacity
Seoul is the capital and biggest city in South Korea. It has a population of almost 10 million which is about 1/5 of the Korean population. It’s considered a megacity because it has a population of over ten million people. Nearly half of Seoul’s population resides in the National Capital Area (which also includes Incheon and Gyeonggi). The Seoul Capital Area is the second largest metropolitan in the world with more than 25.6 million people. It is the sixth most populated city in the world. With an area of 610 km² – about 0.6 per cent of South Korea – Seoul is the seventh most crowded city in the world.
3. The KTX high-speed train runs in Seoul
South Korea’s HEMU-430X had an intended maximum speed of 430 km/h (267 mph). HEMU-430X stands for High-Speed Electric Multiple Unit 430 km/h eXperimental. With this train, South Korea became the fourth country (after France, Japan, and China) to develop a train that runs over 261 mph (420 km/h). The train connected Seoul in the northwest and Busan in the southeast of the country. This train was a prototype and today, Seoul is connected to every big Korean city by the KTX high-speed train, which goes more than 186 mph (300 km/h).
4. Seoul has four UNESCO Sites
Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, first settled the city in 18 B.C. So, therefore, Seoul has been continuously settled for over 2,000 years and because of its very long history, the city is home to a number of historic sites and monuments. The Seoul National Capital Area has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Changdeokgung Palace Complex, the Hwaseong Fortress, the Jongmyo Shrine, and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. In fact, South Korea has a massive 15 properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List – 13 cultural and 2 natural.
5. Seoul doesn’t have much green space
Though famous for its skyscraper-filled skyline, South Korea actually has a wonderful, and large, natural landscape. Some 64 per cent of the country is covered in forest and the country also has 2,413 kilometres of coastline. However, despite being surrounded by nature, Seoul has the lowest availability of urban green space per capita in South Korea. In Seoul, the urban green space available for each resident is more than 4.38㎡. For comparison, the amount of green space available to residents in Paris is 13㎡, in New York it is 23㎡, and in London it is 27㎡.
6. Seoul is home to the world’s longest bridge fountain
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Banpo Grand Bridge in Seoul as the world’s largest fountain bridge. The Seoul Metropolitan Infrastructure Headquarters constructed the 1,140-metre (3,740 ft 1 in) bridge that spans the Han River. Located along the length of the bridge are 380 nozzles that spray 54 tonnes (60 tons) of water horizontally and vertically into the river every minute. In the evening, this turns into a spectacle as LED lights illuminate the fountains which move in time to 100 different pieces of music. This makes the water look like it is dancing.
7. The world’s busiest air route is over Seoul
With more than 1.5 million seats, the 280-mile route between Seoul Gimpo (GMO) and Jeju (CJU) is currently the busiest airline route in the world. The Jeju province encompasses the South Korean island of Jeju in the Korea Strait. In fact, it is the only route in the world with more than 1 million seats.