With over ten millions inhabitants, Seoul, the capital of South Korea, represents
the country's centre for business, education, and modern culture.
Seoul is located in north-western South Korea and is circled by mountains on all sides with Namsan (South Mountain) springing up in the centre.
Although the Han River once marked the southern boundary, the city has sprawled across to the southern side with some 2 dozen bridges crossing it and one subway tunnel underneath. Across the Han River the modern city is dominated by Korea's World Trade Center, and the Coex Mall, a shopper's delight.
The name of Seoul comes from the ancient word 'Seorabeol' or 'Seobeol', meaning "capital".
Seoul was an early fortress and a trade centre during the Paekche Kingdom, more than 1,500 years ago.
But the city's true genesis occurred in 1394, when it became the capital of the Chos n Dynasty, which ruled Korea until the country became a colony of Japan in 1910 (the vestiges of the Chos n Dynasty are still today prominent features of the city's landscape).
Seoul became the capital of South Korea in 1948. North Korean forces captured the city on June 28, 1950 during the Korean War. The capital then changed hands several times until UN troops took it in March, 1951, and it became the headquarters of the UN command in Korea.
Today, Seoul has grown into a cosmopolitan city replete with a variety of modern facilities and world renowned shopping areas such as Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Market, Itaewon and Insa-dong. The nightlife is brilliant.
Seoul is about 30 miles from Incheon International Airport.
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