Gireum – Dongdaemun History Culture Park
Welcome to Seoul’s metropolitan life!
As you all know, one of the most important thing about metropolitan cities is transportation, especially public transportation. In case of Seoul, as well as buses, subway is taking a big part of Seolites’ life. It connects every corners of Seoul, making Seoulites’ dynamic locomotion easy and convenient. Literally, you can go anywhere in Seoul through this underground railway. This is a really relieving fact for Seoulites. What is the best about Seoul’s subway other than its convenience is how clean it is. Seoulites can use this useful transportation with freshness in their mind. Since subway is one of the most convenient public transportations that is not bothered with weather problem or traffic jam, Seoulites use subway very often. It might be the quickest transportation, also.
That’s why I use subway so often when I happen to go somewhere in this city. I feel like I can go anywhere in Seoul by myself, and I do not worry about being lost in Seoul. If I find this yellow sign of subway, I can come back home from any strange place. This is entrance to subway station. What is special about subway stations is that where the subway station is the center of the neighborhood’s transportation. A bus station is always somewhere near subway station. That’s why Korean people always prefer a house near subway station when they move to a new house.
This kind ‘Metropolitan Railway Fare and Linemap’ tells Seoul citizens how to get to the place they want to go. Those 9 lines of subway visits every corners of Seoul and even outside of Seoul, sometiems.
<ATVM provides tranist card recharging and ticket sale service>
You can use subway through very simple and convenient process. This is a very easy process to buy a ticket that should be used once and returned after use. The fare differs according to the distance you travel and how old you are. However, if you buy a transit card, T-money, it is far more convenient. You can buy it from any convenient stores and else. After you buy it, you can recharge it anytime. Moreover, your transit card fee is cheaper.
<Entering the Gate>
What you only have to do is just touch this ‘T-money’ section with your card. What I’m holding is my ‘T-money accesssory’ that I use as cell phone accessory. I explained kinds of T-money below. With this T-money, you can do so many things including using every kind of public transportation of Seoul (Taxi, subway, bus) ,using convenient stores, and so on.
Korea Smart Card T-money Website: http://eng.t-money.co.kr/
Infinite Discoveries Seoul : T-Money Cards. Oh So Easy: http://english.visitseoul.net/visit2007en/planningvisit/transportation/transportation.jsp?cid=57&sid=2138
This is recently built ‘screen door’. It is always closed except for when doors of the subway open. This protects wind that is created from subway coming and going. I’m really glad that this kind of invention is created. People are being thankful that it prevents dusts and bad air from subway and danger of drunk citizens who fall into the railway. I’m especially glad for its protecting my skirts from blowing winds. I was always worried before when I use subway with my school uniforms on.
This is inside of Seoul subway. Total four languages are used (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) for announcement inside subway. Kindly, this screen explains stations you’re arriving.
Now I finally arrived! The place I decided to travel today by subway is Dongdaemun! To visit many fabulous places of Dongdaemun, I got off at ‘Dongdaemun History & Cultrue Park’ station. What’s funny is that this is the longest name of station in Seoul.
For comforts of Seoul citizens, several escalators and elivators are located inside the station.
Infinite Discoveries Seoul: Seoul Subway: http://english.visitseoul.net/visit2007en/planningvisit/transportation/transportation.jsp?cid=57&sid=924
This is a map of places around the subway station. There are several exits of a subway station, and through which exit you go out is very important. You should go out through proper exit so that you can easily find your destination.
The first place I visited was Dongdaemun History & Culture Park and construction site of Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), which will be finished at the end of year 2011.
Recently, Seoul was named as World Design Capital 2010 and putting hard effor to change itself into one. This is a part of DDP that is open in advance in order for its promotion.
DDP is a part of Seoul government’s design project, maybe the biggest. Seoul government put a lot of into it. Seoul held a contest exhibit, and Zaha Hadid, a famous female architect who won Pritzker Architecture Prize, was chosen to build this fabulous structure.
This is a virtual image of DDP completed. It was chosen because of its beauty of smooth curb image, which represents Korea’s traditional image of tenderness and circulation. Seoul is projecting that it will be a design mecca of the world and a landmark of Seoul, also. I’m sure this would be a great and beautiful building that represents Seoul and promotes design industry of Seoul, which is in fad nowadays. As Dongdaemun has been famous for its being a center of Seoul’s fashion industry, Seoul citizens will gratefully accept DDP’s existence when it is completely built.
This is one of Seoul’s design project, ‘Haechi’, it shows structure of Haechi made of garbages, such as plastic bottles, cans, and so on. This shows artistic and eco-friendly recycle of garbages.
Here, I found something very interesting. This building, which looks like state-of-art designed modern building, is actually a fire station of the region. I was astonished to find that, and was impressed by Seoul’s turning into a real ‘design-centered’ city.
This is Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. It was originally a Dongdaemun Stadium in the past, which was built in 1920’s in order for important events of the country and sports events. It had been used for various sports events until recent times, and was decided by Seoul governent to be changed into a citizens’ leisure place recently.
However, when Seoul government started the construction in order to make a park, many historical sites were found when they destroyed Dongdaemun stadium, which was buried in the past. Therefore, Seoul government decided to preserve the historical sites and make it as History & Culture park.
What they tried to preserve was not only Chosun Dynasty’s heritages but also memories of Dongdaemun stadium that is destroyed in order to create this park. Dongdaemun remains in many people’s memories who watched sports events of Dongdaemun Stadium and participated in events that held in Dongdaemun stadium. That’s why Seoul government didn’t destroy lights that stood at Dongdaemun stadium and flameholder of it. Also, in Dongdaemun memorial hall, many heritages of Dongdaemun stadium such as signs and baseball bats are preserved for exhibition.
Dongdaemun historical memorial hall’s main exhibition is about remains that were buried under Dongdaemun stadium. They’re mainly Chosun dynasty’s heritages. Many old ceramics and else catch people’s eyes. What is interesting about this exhibition hall is that it shows harmony of old history and today’s IT technology. There are 3D video clips playing, electronic guest book, and things that used IT technology to make history come to people more easily and interestingly.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza(DDP) Information Center Website: http://ddp.seoul.go.kr/eng/
After visiting Dongdaemun History & Culture Park, I went to have a look of Seoul Fashion Center right next to the park. I tried to go inside, but unfortunately, it opens at 8 p.m. Those buildings are all fashion industry buildings. Dongdaemun has always been well-known for its prosperous and dynamic fashion industry. These stores are usually for wholesale and imported, exported goods. Furthermore, many ingredients for fashion industry such as mannequins, fabrics, buttons, and accessories sell here. Dongdaemun is always full of many people who pursue fashion in various ways.
Besides stores that are for wholesale, Dongdaemun has also lots of fashion shopping malls for retail. They’re also crowded, too. The place I first visited was ‘Migliore’, which is the most well-known fashion shopping mall and almost a landmark of Dongdaemun shopping malls. Many people think of here when they feel need to buy clothes. What is the best about Migliore and Dongdaemun shopping malls that you can take a look around various clothes and shops that are jammed in here. Along the aisles, many stores are aligned, calling costmers to come. There are so many kinds of cloths including exclusively large sized clothes, maternity clothes, imported clothes, and various kinds of accessories. They are cheaper than department stores, too. When I was young, I used to come here for shopping, too. I have a memories of shopping here and having a meal at the top floor, watching night view of Dongdaemun. Literally, you can find everything in this shopping mall, if you’re looking for something about fashion.
This place is called ‘Doota’, which is second known shopping mall in Dongdaemun. It went through a great renovation recently, and turned into a more decent and fabulous shopping mall that is not worse than usual department stores. Overall organization is neater here than Migliore’s, so you can shop in more convenience, even though there are less stores in here. Mood of Doota is more like deparment stores. Many cafes and places to rest while you’re shopping exist for shoppers who might exploit their legs to find the best clothes for them. Personally, I like Doota more. If you go to the top floor, you can also find decent restaurant and rooftop garden. I could see many tourists, too, since Dongdaemun is one of the must-goes of tourists who visit Korea.
Dongdaemu never dies at night. It is even brighter and even more people gather here for wholesale market. The picture above is a real ‘Dongdaemun’. If the weather is good and you’ve got more free time, you might look around Dongdaemun more and go to Cheonggyecheon,which is very close to Dongdaemun shopping malls, and enjoy Seoul’s night view full of shiny lights of Dongdaemun.
After my visit to Dongdaemun, I came back home using subway again. It was dark already, showing that long time has passed while I was enthusiastically shopping. I really recommend you to use subway when you travel Seoul. This is a really convenient and cheap way of public transportation to move from place to place in Seoul. You’ll be surely impressed by their fine service, I swear.
Sub Way Guide Website:
Culture, Tourism Subway Route Map & Courses Guide: