Seoul – “Capital City”, from ancient Sillan “Seorabeol”, officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of more than 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world. The Seoul National Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, is the world’s second largest metropolitan area with more than 25 million inhabitants. Nearly one of every four South Koreans lives in Seoul; half of South Koreans live in the metropolitan area, as well as 275,000 international residents. Situated on the Han River, Seoul has been a city of national importance for more than 2,000 years. It was founded in 18 BCE when Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, established its capital in what is now southeast Seoul. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Empire. The Seoul National Capital Area contains four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeokgung, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Today, Seoul is considered a leading global city. The metropolis is involved in many global affairs, exerting rising influence as the host of the fifth most international conferences worldwide in 2010. It is one of the world’s top ten financial and commercial centers, home to major multinational conglomerates such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2008, Seoul was named the world’s sixth most economically powerful city by Forbes. Seoul was voted the top travel destination by Chinese, Japanese and Thai tourists for a third consecutive year in 2011. Seoul has much technologically advanced infrastructure. It was the world’s first city to introduce Digital Multimedia Broadcasting for television and radio, and WiBro for data, both serviced in all subway lines and buses along with 4G LTE and WiFi. It has a fibre-optic broadband network which has a 34.4% penetration rate. Its tap water treatment plants make tap water safe to drink. Seoul Station is the main terminal of the KTX bullet train and the Seoul Subway is the world’s second most highly used, featuring the longest circular line and second longest fully underground line in the world. Seoul shares a unified public transportation system with Incheon and Gyeonggi, allowing passengers to transfer freely from subway or bus using the T-money smart card, and is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated the best airport worldwide since 2005 by Airports Council International. Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. The city was named the World Design Capital for 2010 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.
The N Seoul Tower, officially the CJ Seoul Tower and commonly known as the Namsan Tower and Seoul Tower, is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, South Korea. Built in 1969, and at a cost of approximately $2.5 million, it was opened to the public in 1980. Since then, the tower has been a landmark of Seoul and measures 236.7 m in height and tops out at 479.7 m above sea level. Many visitors ride the Namsan cable car up the mountain, and then walk to the tower. The tower features a gift shop and restaurants on the ground floor. Visitors may go up the tower for a fee. There are four observation decks (the 4th observation deck, which is the revolving restaurant, rotates at a rate of one revolution every 48 minutes), as well as gift shops and two restaurants. Most of the city of Seoul can be seen from the top. Close to N Seoul Tower is a second lattice transmission tower.