Chungmuro 4-ga, Jung-gu
HOURS: Daily 24 hours
SUBWAY: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park (Lines 2, 4, 5)
Another ambitious result of the current Seoul administration’s focus on aesthetics, this new development aims to showcase the historical assets and future possibilities of the area near Seoul ’s ancient East Gate, formerly given over to sports fields—in fact, many older maps still refer to the park and the nearby subway station by their shared old name, Dongdaemun Stadium.
The “park” name is somewhat misleading—while portions of the 65,000-square-meter zone are given over to highly sculpted green space, it’s equal parts museum and industry incubation center.
The park’s most striking feature is the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a ground-hugging, aqua-hued structure conceptualized by renowned British architect Zaha Hadid that’s vaguely reminiscent of a flying saucer. Because of its high-tech convention center, exhibition halls, and training facilities, authorities envision the building becoming a focal point for the international design and fashion industries. Though it’s too early to say whether this rather ambitious vision will become a reality, do take the time to check out one of modern Seoul’s most iconic developments.
The park also contains several less futuristic attractions, including a museum housing artifacts unearthed during its construction and intact segments of the old fortress wall and sluice gates that encircled Seoul long ago.