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Streets of Youth

Streets of Youth

Streets of Youth

Jongno and Cheonggyecheon

Jongno was one of the two districts, the other being Myeong-dong, that typified the early economic and cultural vibrancy of Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. There were, and still are, between today’s Jongno 2(i)-ga and 3(sam)-ga some of Seoul’s oldest movie theaters, the nation’s major bookstores, and famous private educational institutions including foreign language schools which keep the districts perpetually crowded with students.

Cheonggyecheon, a historic stream cutting across the heart of Seoul, was restored and remodeled a few years ago and quickly emerged as one of the city’s top attractions. In the past the stream was a source of water for the families living around it, but it began to be covered over in the 1950s, and the overpass built over it came to be regarded as a symbol of Korea’s industrial growth during the 1960s and 1970s. The overpass, however, was demolished in 2003 as part of the project to restore the stream, which was completed two years later.

Cheonggyecheon Stream Plaza (up). An attractive space for relaxation and refreshment in the heart of downtown Seoul. Hongdae District. Streets crowded with young and ambitious artists and spectators

Cheonggyecheon Stream Plaza (up). An attractive space for relaxation and refreshment in the heart of downtown Seoul. Hongdae District. Streets crowded with young and ambitious artists and spectators



Hongdae Street (Hongik University Street)

It was during the early 1990s that Hongdae, or the area around Hongik University, saw an explosion of cafes and live music clubs drawing young music lovers from all across Seoul, gradually turning it into one of Seoul’s most dynamic cultural areas packed with fun-seeking youngsters. What differentiate the streets of Hongdae from other similar districts are the live performances of indie bands held at the clubs scattered around the district. The bands cover a variety of popular music genres, including rock, funk and techno music, for the young audiences that gather there every evening.

The Hongdae district also contains numerous art galleries committed to displaying original works by emerging young artists. Some of these artists join with others devoted to other forms of art such as music and dance, to put on collaboration performances in the streets. Garosu-gil Street of Sinsa-dong Literally “the tree-lined street of Sinsa-dong”, Sinsa-dong Garosu-gil is a street in Sinsa-dong in Gangnam-gu that is lined with gingko trees on both sides. The street and nearby alleys have recently grown into one of Seoul’s main attractions, attracting tens of thousands of fashion-minded people to its array of high-end coffee houses, art galleries, luxury boutiques and other fashion stores every day.

In the 1990s Garosu-gil began to attract ambitious young fashion designers, who opened shops along the road, eventually transforming it into a “fashion street.” The success of their shops was followed by the opening of other shops vending exquisite interior objects, furniture and personal fashion items.

Garosu-gil of Sinsa-dong (up). A street busy with fashionminded young shoppers. Itaewon (bottom). The Korean hub of international cultures

Garosu-gil of Sinsa-dong (up). A street busy with fashionminded young shoppers. Itaewon (bottom). The Korean hub of international cultures



Itaewon

Itaewon, located south of Namsan Mountain in the heart of Seoul, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, particularly among foreign tourists seeking shopping, fun and thrills in more comfortable surroundings. The development of the district and the growth of its reputation among international travelers visiting Korea are largely related with the presence, since the Korean War (1950-1953), of the Eighth United States Army Base in nearby Yongsan. Today the district, encompassing Itaewon and nearby Hannam-dong, contains a number of foreign embassies including those of Germany, Denmark, Argentina, Rumania, Uruguay, Lebanon, Hungary, Brunei and Qatar, as well as the Seoul Central Mosque and diverse foreign communities.

Itaewon’s streets are packed with shops selling fashionable clothes and fashion items, nightclubs, bars and restaurants, many of them providing exotic, at least to Korean visitors, foods from Mexico, India, Vietnam and Turkey among other countries, and a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere. The district was designated by the Korean government as a Special Tourist Zone in 1997, and has since then held the Global Village Festival every October. Furthermore, street performances are held for foreign tourists on a daily basis.

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