Plaza in front of Seoul City Hall in Seoul

Address: 31 Taepyeongro 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul

The plaza in front of Seoul City Hall acted as the gathering place for thousands upon thousands of dedicated Seoul citizens during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, and it received global media attention. At the center of Seoul뭩 financial and business districts, it has long been a busy road with much traffic- Deoksugung Palace is nearby, adding to the congestion. Until now, the plaza has only been closed off on rare occasions for major festivals and events- but new plans are in the works to transform the area into a citizen뭩 plaza, free of traffic.

The Seoul City Hall building was constructed in 1926, a stone building with a distinctly Renaissance flair. Construction began in March of 1925 and was completed in October 1926- there is 1 basement floor and 3 above ground, made of metal and concrete.

Directions :- Seoul Subway Line 1 or 2, City Hall Station, Exit 5

Seoul (서울, listen ▶) is the capital of South Korea and is one of the most populous cities in the world, located in the northwestern part of the country on the Han River. It is a designated special city. On the establishment of South Korea (the Republic of Korea) in 1948 it became the capital of the country, except for a short time during the Korean War. Seoul is located at 37°35′N 127°0′E.

Seoul is located in the northwest of the country, south of the DMZ, on the Han River. The city is the political, cultural, social and economical centre of South Korea. It is also an international centre for business, finance, multinational corporations, and global organizations. This, along with its position as the capital of one of the world's largest economies, has continued to raise its global status. Today, it is one of the most visible symbols of the Korean economic Miracle of the Han River.

According to UN Population Division figures, Seoul's Urban Area contained 10.3 million people in 2003, making it the 22nd most populous such area in the world. This ranking can vary from different independent sources, where the metropolitan area surroundings and suburbs can make differences. Its density has allowed it to become one of the most digitally-wired cities in today's globally connected economy. It also has more than 1 million registered vehicles which cause widespread traffic-jams beyond midnight. The larger Seoul metropolitan area and commuter belt, which includes the major harbour city Incheon and the largely residential city of Seongnam, is one of the world's most heavily populated. In recent years, the metropolitan government has carried out an extensive cleanup of the city's heavy air and water pollution, transforming the previously murky atmosphere into a cleaner one, though air pollution is still problematic.

The history of Seoul can be traced back as far as 18 BC. In that year the newly established kingdom of Baekje built its capital Wiryeseong in the Seoul area. There are several city wall remains in the area dating from this time, and Pungnap Toseong, an earthen wall just outside Seoul, is widely believed to be the main Wiryeseong site. During the time when the Three Kingdoms fought for hegemony in Korea, the Seoul area was often contested. Control passed from Baekje to Goguryeo in the fifth century, and from Goguryeo to Silla in the sixth.

It was thought that only the kingdom that controlled the Han River valley would be able to control the whole of the peninsula, because it was a centre of transportation. This was the reason why in the 11th century the ruler of the Goryeo Dynasty built a palace in Seoul, which was referred to as the "Southern Capital".

At the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty, the capital was moved to Seoul (also known as Hanyang and later as Hanseong), where it remained until the fall of the dynasty.

Originally, the city was entirely surrounded by a massive circular wall (a 20-foot-high circular stone fortress) to provide its citizens security from wild animals such as the tiger, thieves and attacks. The city has grown beyond those walls and although the wall no longer stands (except in the mountains north of the downtown area), the gates remain near the downtown district of Seoul, including most notably Sungnyemun (commonly known as Namdaemun) and Honginjimun (commonly known as Dongdaemun). During the Joseon dynasty, the gates were opened and closed each day, accompanied by the ringing of large bells.

During the Korean War, Seoul changed hands between the Chinese-backed North Korean forces and the UN-backed South Korean forces several times, leaving the city heavily damaged after the war. [1] One estimate of the extensive damage states that after the war, at least 191,000 buildings, 55,000 houses, and 1,000 factories lay in ruins. [2] In addition, a flood of refugees had entered Seoul during the war, swelling the population of Seoul and its metropolitan area to an estimated 2.5 million, more than half of them homeless.

Following the war, Seoul was the focus of an immense reconstruction and modernization effort due mainly to necessity, but also due in part to the symbolic nature of Seoul as the political and economic centre of Korea. Today, the population of the Seoul area makes up 24% of the total population of South Korea, and Seoul ranks seventh in the world in terms of the number of Fortune 500 transnational companies headquartered there. [3]

Seoul was the host city of the 1988 Summer Olympics as well as one of the venues of the Football World Cup 2002.

On August 11, 2004, the South Korean Government announced that the capital city would be located in the Gongju area as of 2007, to ease the population pressure on Seoul and to get the government to a safer distance from North Korea. The Government estimated that the move would probably not be completed before 2012 [4]. Although part of the election manifesto, this plan ignited nationwide controversy. On October 21, 2004, the Constitutional Court ruled that the special law for the relocation of the capital is unconstitutional since the relocation is a serious national matter requiring national referendum or revision of the constitution, at which point most people thought the debate was over.

However, the South Korean Government later announced plans to move almost all national government branches, except the Executive Branch, to Gongju, thus evading violation of the Constitutional Court ruling and still allow Seoul to be a National Capital in name only. The plan has yet to go forward and no new announcements have arisen since then.