The traditional center of Seoul is the ancient city of the Joseon Dynasty, downtown, where most of the palaces, government offices, corporate offices, hotels, and traditional markets are located. Cheonggyecheon, a stream that runs west to east through the valley to empty into the Han River, was covered with concrete for many years, but has recently been restored through an urban renewal project in 2005.. The most historically important street in Seoul is Jongno, which means “Bell Street”, on which one can find Bosingak, a pavilion containing a large bell. The bell marked the different times of the day and therefore controlled the four most important gates of the city. The only time it is usually played now is at midnight on New Years Eve, when it is played thirty-three times. It was, however, touched the day that President Kim Dae-jung assumed the presidency. To the north of the center is the Bukhan Mountain, and to the south is the smaller Namsan. Further south are the old suburbs of Yongsan-gu and Mapo-gu. Across the Han River, you will find the newer and richer areas of Gangnam-gu, Seocho gu-and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Seoul has many places of historical and cultural interest. At the prehistoric Amsa-dong settlement site in Gangdong-gu, Neolithic remains were excavated and accidentally discovered by a flood in 1925. Urban and civil planning was a key concept when Seoul was designed to serve as the capital of the late 14th century. The Joseon Dynasty built five great palaces in Seoul: Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, Gyeongbokgung, and Gyeonghuigung, all of which are located in the Jongno-gu and Jung-gu districts. Among them, Changdeokgung was added to the List of World Heritage of UNESCO in 1997 as an “excellent example of Far Eastern palatial architecture and garden design.” The main palace, Gyeongbokgung. It is in the process of being restored to its original form. The palaces are considered representative architecture of the Joseon era. Alongside the palaces, Unhyeongung is known to be the royal residence of Regent Daewongun, the father of Emperor Gojong at the end of the Joseon Dynasty.
Seoul has been surrounded by walls that were built to regulate visitors from other regions and protect the city in case of invasion. Pungnap Toseong is a flat earth wall built on the bank of the Han River, which is widely regarded as the site of Wiryeseong. Mongchon Toseong is another earthen wall built during the Baekje period that is now located within the Olympic Park. The Seoul Castle Walls are Seoul’s remaining walls from the Joseon Dynasty.
Although many walls and fortresses were destroyed, some palace and fortress gates have played a role in the heart of the city, such as Sungnyemun and Heunginjimun. The gates are more commonly known as Namdaemun (Great South Gate) and Dongdaemun (East Great Gate). Namdaemun was the oldest wooden gate until an arson in 2008, and is currently undergoing reconstruction. Located near the gates are the traditional markets and the largest shopping mall, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun Market.
There are also many buildings built in international styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Puerta de la Independencia was built in 1897 to inspire an independent spirit. Seoul Station was opened in 1900 as Gyeongseong Station.
Major modern landmarks in Seoul include the Korea Treasury Building, N Seoul Tower, the World Trade Center, and the Tower Palace, the residence of seven skyscrapers. These and several tall office buildings, such as the Seoul Star Tower and the Jongno Tower, dominate the city’s skyline. Due to its high density, Seoul has a wide range of skyscrapers, the city council is planning a series of skyscrapers, including a 640-meter business center in the Sangam Digital Media City district and the 523-meter Lotte World 2 tower in Jamsil from Songpa-gu-gu and Gangdong district.
The World Trade Center of Korea, which is located in Gangnam-gu, hosts various exhibitions and conferences. Also in Gangnam-gu is the COEX Mall, a large indoor entertainment mall. Downstream from Gangnam-gu is Yeouido, an island that is home to the National Assembly, major broadcast studios, and a series of large office buildings, as well as the Korea Finance buildings and the world’s largest Pentecostal church. The Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Village, and Lotte World are located in Songpa-gu, on the south side of the Han River, upstream from Gangnam-gu.
In 2010, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, designed by Zaha Hadid, opened. This coincided with Seoul’s designation as the Design Capital of the World that year.
According to andyeducation, a large number of universities are located in Seoul, most of the prestigious universities in South Korea, including the so-called SKY universities: Seoul National University, universities, Korea University, and Yonsei University, which have their headquarters in Seoul. Korea’s first modern university was founded in 1924. Hanyang University was established as the first private engineering institution in South Korea. Kyung Hee University was founded in 1949.
Education from grades 1 to 10 are required. Students spend six years in elementary school, three years in middle school, and three years in high school. High schools generally require students to wear a uniform. There is no exit exam for graduating from high school, but many college-bound students are required to take the Korean SAT exam that is held every November.
Several highly specialized schools are located here, including three science schools (Seoul Science High School, Hansung Science High School, and Sejong Science High School), six foreign language schools. The Seoul Metropolitan Education Bureau.