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Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower

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Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower play a very important role in the daily
life of Seoulites and visitors, alike. Thats because in a city as huge as Seoul,
finding your bearings can be a challenge. Thanks to these two Seoul icons
one natural, the other human-made city folk can feel just a bit more secure
when it comes to their sense of place.
When Yi Seong-gye () moved Koreas capital to present-day Seoul in 1394, he
protected it with 18 kilometers of fortress walls that connected four
mountaintops. Namsan (), which means south mountain, formed the
citys southern border. Of course, long ago Seoul spilled beyond those
original walls. So what was the citys southern limit is now its heart. And from
various points throughout the city,N Seoul Tower can be seen rising atop
Namsan.

From Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower


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It wasnt until 1984, however, that Namsan Park () was formally
established. At nearly three million square meters, the park is one of Seoul
Citys largest green spaces. And despite being smack dab in the center of
one of the worlds biggest cities, the much-loved park is reportedly home to
over 600 plant and animal species.

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Each year, 8.4 million people visit Namsan Park and N Seoul Tower,
which translates to some 30,000 a day in the high season. In addition to
enjoying well-maintained jogging paths, the park includes a library, a
botanical garden and a swimming pool. At the parks northeast side theres
the Namsangol Hanok Village () . Built to resemble a Korean
folk village, free traditional wedding ceremonies and cultural performances
can be enjoyed there in the summer and fall.
No doubt, the parks most popular attraction is N Seoul Tower. Built in 1969
and opened to the public 11 years later, the communication tower is approx.
237 meters tall, topping off at a half-kilometer above sea level. To reach the
tower, zero-emissions buses drive there while South Koreas first cable car
whisks people from the outskirts of the Myeong-dong Shopping
District to the mountaintop.

From Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower


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Once there, visitors can enjoy a spacious plaza and platforms affording
panoramic views of Seoul. Take a closer look, however, and youll see a
safety fence thats covered in thousands of padlocks. These curious objects
are symbols of love fastened by young couples. Inside N Seoul Tower is a
caf and three restaurants, including the revolving n.Grill. For some, the
Teddy Bear Museum shouldnt be missed but personally, the highlight is
the fantastic Sky Restrooms on the observation level.

From Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower


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Of course, Namsan Park and N Seoul Towers four observation platforms
are the big draw. Helpful window displays indicate Seoul landmarks and
world capitals. Overall, the platforms can hold 1,100 people, and at 350
meters above sea level, they afford outstanding views of the city, day or
night. Speaking of nightfall, should you be there to see it, the tower will be
transformed into a piece of digital art. Until midnight, colorful flames and
other images are projected on the towers torso every hour.

From Namsan Park and N. Seoul Tower


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Finally, since the 1990s, Seoul city officials have worked to restore Namsan
Park and N Seoul Tower. In March 2009, the previous mayor unveiled a
Namsan Renaissance master plan. The project consisted of removing
buildings, restoring the ancient Seoul Fortress () walls and extend
jogging paths to 7.5 kilometers. At a cost of 232 billion won ($183 million),
the project is scheduled to be completed in 2015..

- See more at: http://discoveringkorea.com/090518/namsan-park-and-n-seoultower/#sthash.wCtu6Bh4.dpuf

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