Special City Night Tour
Namsangol Hanok Village
Namsan Mountain has been famous for centuries for its beautiful landscapes and had been visited by many vacationing aristocrats. Sitting on the pavilion and listening to the sound of water and wind in Namsan Hanok Village, you can feel the arts that were loved by our ancestors. In Hanok Village, situated at the northern foot of Namsan Mountain, experience the beauty of hanok and enjoy traditional culture of Korea.
Entering the village, you will see Cheonghakji Pond and Cheonugak Pavilion. Many visitors naturally take a rest here for a while before looking around the village. Some people draw pictures and some read books. They are just like our ancestors enjoying nature and arts.
There are five hanok (Korean traditional houses) in Namsan Hanok Village:
House of the Yun Clan in Ogin-dong where Empress Sunjeong lived when she was young, Shrine to Yun Taek-yeong, House of the Min Clan who in Gwanhun-dong was the son-in-law of King Cheoljong, House of Kim Chun-yeong who protected the kings in the late Joseon Dynasty, and House of Yi Seung-eop who protected Gyeongbokgung Palace in the Joseon Dynasty. You can view the different living conditions of the Joseon Dynasty, ranging from commoners to aristocrats.
House of the Yun Clan, which was constructed in 1910 in Ogin-dong of Jongno-gu, couldn't be moved to Hanok Village due to its outdated conditions, but restored as it was. The house is known as the house of Yun Deok-yeong, an uncle of Empress Sunjeong who was the last emperor of the Joseon Dynasty. It is a good example of noblemen's houses with a spacious main building, living room, and beautiful columns and doors.
Shrine to Yun Taek-yeong in Jegi-dong was the house of Yun Taek-yeong (honorary title: Haepungbuwongun), who was the father-in-law of King Sunjong. The house is one of the rare examples of Korean buildings constructed after the Chinese character yuán (元), with the ancestral shrine on the upper side and the main building on the lower side. High-quality wood, rectangular stone columns and square cornerstones add a luxurious atmosphere.
During the Joseon Dynasty, the House of the Min Clan in Gwanhun-dong was considered to be one of the largest houses in Seoul. The house is very spacious and its guest house and main building are completely separated. The house also has a terraced garden. The size of the kitchen attached to the main building is six-kan (a unit of measurement referring to the distance between two columns).
The House of Kim Chun-yeong was built in Samcheong-dong, during the late Joseon Dynasty. At that time, many rich noblemen were living in Samcheong-dong. Therefore, many houses were efficiently constructed in a small space, using a staple-shaped main building and an I-shaped guest house. It is considered to be a type of hanok in an urban setting.
This house was built by master builder Yi Seung-eup who constructed Gyeongbokgung Palace in the 1860s. Only the main building and the guest house remain now, but the gate rooms and servants' rooms were known to have surrounded the main building and the guest house. The house features roofs with different heights and lengths.
As its name, Hanok Village provides a variety of traditional experience programs. A Taekwondo performance is held regularly and visitors can participate in the tea ceremony program. In addition, you can enjoy a high standard of traditional performances at the Namsan Traditional Theater of Namsan Hanok Village.
Namsan Hanok Village looks even more beautiful because it is harmonized with nature. The traditional garden of Namsan Hanok Village is in harmony with the valleys, pavilions, rocks, and trees of Namsan Mountain.
Walking through the traditional garden, you will find New Millennium Time Capsule Plaza. The time capsules were buried under the ground in commemoration of the 600th anniversary of Seoul. They will be opened at the 1000th anniversary, in 2394. In the future, Seoul will greatly change, but Namsan Hanok Village will still remain the same, just like the Joseon Dynasty.
SEOUL N TOWER
N Seoul Tower is Korea’s first tower-oriented tourist attraction. The tower reaches 480m in actual length, including the height of Namsan Mountain, 243m, and the height of N Seoul Tower, 236.7m. The construction began in December 1969 and was completed in July 1975, and it became a famous attraction of Seoul when it was opened to the general public on October 15, 1980.
Seoul Tower had enjoyed great popularity among tourists for 30 years until December 9, 2005 when it remodeled old facilities and developed the neat and splendid image. Also, the initial of the new tower ‘N’, developed by abbreviating ‘New Namsan’, was used to introduce a brand image that emphasizes the expectations for the new Seoul Tower, its newness, and the new cultural brand of Seoul.
It expressed the younger and newer dynamism following the global trend. N Seoul Tower combined “Namsan” and “New” into the alphabet letter, “N”, and it adopted the lighting system which changes color and pattern depending on the season and the contents of event on the exterior of the tower, and 6 search lights are shot into the sky in various angles on ‘Blossom of Seoul’ theme to present a fully bloomed blossom from 7 p.m. to midnight every night. 3 private broadcasting stations including Tongyang, Donga and Munhwa broadcasting companies received the permit for integrated radio facility and tour observatory in August 1969 and constructed the tower in August 1975.
The Ministry of Communication acquired the tower 3 months later and did not open the tower to the general public for security reasons, and opened it from October 1980. The news exclusive television broadcasting company, YTN, acquired the building in 2000 and remodeled it in 2005, and renamed it ‘N Seoul Tower’ (officially, ‘YTN Seoul Tower’). At N Seoul Tower, Bugaksan Mountain and Bukhansan Mountain as well as Songaksan Mountain in Gaeseong come in sight, and the view of Hangang River, Namhansanseong Fortress, and Gwanaksan Mountain creates a panorama behind the apartment towns of Gangnam.
The magnificent view at the tower is the setting sun subsiding in the West Sea, coloring the Seogang up to the estuaries of Hangang River in the evening. The sky bathroom on the second floor is also interesting. With a variety of facilities, the latest N Seoul Tower is not just an observation tower but is a combined cultural space winning the favor of tourists and citizens as the famous attraction and the rest area. Digital Observatory provides a variety of cultural information and contents about Seoul and Namsan Mountain with the display using the latest media equipment. It also has convenience facilies for exhibition and food such as Teddy Bear Museum, N Restaurant, and N Shopping. Recently, the tower is operating year-round events such as music concert and festival, and Locks of Love through the Event N, the marketing strategy targeting the young generation.
With Namsan Palgakjeong Pavilion, Namsan Cable Car, Hanyang City Wall, and Namsan Outdoor Botanical Garden, N Seoul Tower wearing a new image for the new century has become the rest area for citizens and tourists to enjoy the nature and cultural landscape of Seoul, the combined cultural space, and is the symbol of Seoul. The number of tourists who visited the observatory exceeded 20 million in 2001. The opening hours are between 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. all year round.
Myeongdong Street may be the epitome of downtown Seoul now, but during the Joseon Dynasty it was a residential neighborhood. Having become a business district since the Japanese Colonial Period, it is now the center of shopping where culture and art and all kinds of brands are concentrated, and there are things to see and things to eat galore making it one of Korea’s most prominent tourist attractions.
Myeongdong is, above all things, a shopping heaven. Along a street about 1km long are a cluster of various large shopping centers including Noon Square, Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, and famous store brands from both Korea and abroad, attracting both fashion-savvy youngsters and middle-aged shoppers alike. Foreign tourists need not to fear, either. The merchants on Myeongdong Street not only speak English, but Chinese and Japanese as well. Hence you will hear the sound of various foreign languages flowing ceaselessly from cosmetic stores and clothing shops.
With the influence of “K-beauty fever,” Myeongdong Street is packed with various cosmetic road shops. It offers a variety of language services, and it has established itself as a globally-acknowledged Mecca of cosmetic shopping—so much so that now, more and more tourists are coming to Korea simply to shop for cosmetics.
If all the shopping causes you to work up an appetite, head to Myeongdong Street. There is nothing that the street vendors lined up and down Myeongdong’s main street do not serve. There is everything from Korean beef steak to tteokbokki (spicy rice cake), roasted clams and tropical fruit, foods of a variety and fanciness that surpass the imagination—and their smells—all tempt us. All the food is reminiscent of a buffet, filling the streets and clutching at the feet of tourists. But that does not mean there are only new foods available in Myeongdong.
In every alley there are also local restaurants that have existed for long periods of time, taking pride in the unchanging tastes of their dishes passed down from generation to generation. Myeongdong Gyoja and Hadonggwan are some of the decades-old restaurants that add depth to the tastes of Myeongdong Street.
The streets are filled with foreigners because of the Hallyu (Korean Wave) so it might feel like there are more foreign tourists here than Koreans. Here and there posters of famous celebrities hang from buildings, and tourists frequently pause in their steps to take pictures of them. Products with the faces of celebrities printed to them sell like.
You can also enjoy the styles and tastes of Korea at the K-Style Hub and Seoul Global Cultural Center, as well as take part in various experiences related to major celebrities who major figures in Hallyu; the ranges to which you can enjoy Myeongdong are endless. The hanbok experience is especially popular among tourists. Myeongdong is a place where not only shopping but also Korean traditional culture can be enjoyed; so it has become Korea’s number one tourist attraction sought by people from around the world.
If you get tired of mingling with too many people, it is also nice to take a look around Myeongdong Cathedral or Myeongdong Theater. You can see excellent plays at Myeongdong Theater, and the quietude you will find at Myeongdong Cathedral will especially bring you peace of mind.
Not only is Myeongdong Street one of the most prominent downtown areas of Seoul City, its name is being used as a pronoun of downtowns; in provinces like Chuncheon and Hongseong, streets where business are most concentrated often add the name “Myeongdong Street” to their street names.
In the past it attracted people with its romance, now with its shopping and tourism. As Korea’s representative downtown street, Myeongdong’s reputation is still valid.
Cheonggye Plaza is a plaza in front of Dong-a Ilbo Newspaper, or at the beginning point of Cheonggyecheon Stream, which was restored by the Seoul City in 2005. The area of plaza is 2,445 ㎡, and stones of various colors based on the Korean traditional design of cloth was used to bring up the traditional beauty. It is a space to enter into the Eco Park of Cheonggyecheon Stream, and the 3-color candlelight fountain, 2-layer waterfall and Palseokdam are installed. At the both side of fall, "Palseokdam" made of 8 stones from each province of the country is installed.
At one side, there is a "Cheonggye Miniature", which is one hundredth of restored Cheonggyecheon Stream for people to view the entire feature of Cheonggyecheon Stream at once, and there are explanation boards for 22 bridges on the stream.
At the entrance of plaza, a "Spring", a 20 m high, 6 m wide, and 9 tons of gigantic sculpture by an American pop artist Claes Oldenburg, is installed. Called also as "Soratap (Tower of Conch Sheel)" as it has a feature of conch shell, "Spring" becomes an amazing Christmas tree in winter.
It is a facility to enter into Cheonggyecheon Stream, and there is a staircase entryway at the northern side of plaza, and at the southern side, Cheonggyetambang-ro begins. The Seoul City manages the vehicle-free promenade on holidays to offer the plaza and waterfront as the rest and cultural place for citizens. From April to November, the "Cheonggyecheon Culture Festival" is held every weekend.