In the heart of Seoul, City Hall, it is concentrated with administrative departments and high rises. Despite of the modernization, admiringly, it is surrounded by cultural heritage and nature elements.
In the early autumn, I made my study trip to Seoul, a day after when a typhoon hit Jeju Island. Fortunately, it did not spoil my trip to City Hall. It was a breezy day with the light streaming warmly through the flossy clouds. Great weather to linger in the city.
Cheonggyecheon, a river which stretches lively across the city, begins at City Hall. It was once a drain that emitted a foul smell and was a cause for pollution. In 2003, Seoul Mayor, Lee Myeung-bak launched the restoration of Cheonggyecheon, and since then, it has become a public recreational space.
In front of the Gwanghwamun Square (the national landmark of Korea), stands Admiral Yi Sunshin. He was the heroic naval commander who defeated the Japanese navy during its invasions of Korea from 1592 to 1598. Behind the noble Admiral, is the statue of King Sejong the Great. He was the fourth and most respected king of the Joseon Dynasty. Just under the great statue, there is a museum that has a collection of historical material all about the late king.
There is a belief that the creature standing in front of the gate can differentiate between bad from good.
Another great place to explore is Daehanmun, the entry gate of Deoksugong. The Changing of the Guards Ceremony is performed several times per day, I was so lucky to witness the performance. It was a grand show on the street, with traditional music and costumes.
It was a 2-hour walk, and I was unwilling to leave a dynamic place like this, a city that lives hand in hand with the past.