Seoul City, the capital of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the nation’s largest metropolis, has developed into a political, economic, and cultural hub over a period spanning back to prehistoric times. Seoul was designated as a capital city in 1948, when the Government of the Republic of Korea was established, and gained the current official name of Seoul Special City in 1949. The economic development that followed during the 1960s has evolved the city into the present economic center of Korea. Seoul has enhanced its international competitiveness in fields such as finance and high-tech IT and has become a global hub for trading and logistics based on its outstanding transportation system. By virtue of these accomplishments, Seoul is now internationally recognized as the business hub of Northeast Asia.
Seoul is located in the midwestern part of the Korean Peninsula, at 37° 34´ north latitude and 126° 59´ east longitude. The Hangang traverses the city from east to west. Surrounded by mountains such as Bukhansan, Gwanaksan, and Dobongsan, Seoul displays a basin topography. The city is divided into 25 gu (autonomous administrative districts); the downtown mainly consists of Jung-gu and Sejong-daero at Jongno-gu.
Seoul has four distinct seasons. Spring begins in March. Summer (June-August) is sweltering and humid, and a very heavy rainy (monsoon) season comes around mid-July. The average temperature in August, the hottest month of the year, is 27°C. Autumn reaches its peak in October, when the leaves turn red and yellow. The temperature plummets during the winter season (December-February). The best seasons for visiting are spring and autumn.
AREA & POPULATION
Seoul comprises an area of 605.15km2
. It accounts for only 0.6% of the Korean territory, but has a population of 10.4 million (as of June 2015), one-fifth of the Republic of Korea’s total population.
Seoul has hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, 2010 G-20 Seoul Summit, and 2012 Nuclear Security Summit. A cosmopolitan city in every sense of the world, Seoul is the cultural center of Korea, boasting numerous museums, galleries, libraries, newspaper companies, concert halls, and broadcasting companies. Hallyu (Korean Wave), an initial step in the export of contemporary Korean culture overseas to countries in Asia, the Americas, and Europe, was first driven by K-Pop and K-Drama. International audiences who have come to know Korea through music, movies, and soap operas are now visiting Korea to discover in person Seoul’s various attractions. The city has met this increase in the number of visitors with provision of convenient facilities in and around the popular tourist destinations.
Seoul has been a major site of modern architectural construction–major modern landmarks include the N Seoul Tower, the 63 Building, the Lotte World Tower, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, Trade Tower, COEX, and the Parc1 Tower. Also the birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul received a huge number of international visitors recent years, making it the world's 9th most visited city and 4th largest earner in tourism. While Seoul today is mostly known as a super-modern mega-city that is home to skyscrapers, malls, and millions of electronic-mad Koreans, the city contains over 2,000 years of history. It contains 4 UNESCO sites marking important monuments from its 505 years as the capital of the Joseon Dynasty.