Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Saturday in Spring in Seoul

The weather today being what it was, I couldn't resist the opportunity to join my fellow Seoulites at their version of the National Mall--Yeouido Park. (If you click on 'Yeouido Park' in the Label Cloud to the right, you can see my other posts about the island.)

Yeouido was built on a sandbar in a turn of the Han River, which for centuries was an uninhabited pasture until used as an airstrip during the Japanese Occupation beginning in 1924. Military leader Park Chung-hee constructed a six-lane highway to the island in 1970 as part of a Han River beautification project, and development blossomed. Today, the island is home to headquarters of many of Korea's most powerful banks and chaebol, as well as the National Assembly and Yoido Full Gospel Church, the largest congregation in Asia with 700,000 worshippers.

The Cherry Blossom Festival has just concluded, but cherry, azalea and others are still in full bloom.

In additon to the flowers, Yeouido Park also has several other features being enjoyed by Seoulites on a lovely spring weekend, like bicycle rentals ...

... pick-up basketball games ...

... and the carp pond.

Venturing north from the park, I snapped this great view of the opposing bank of the Hangang:

Wandering further, I followed some folks up a path to a hilltop immediately behind the National Assembly building, to find this delightful little park and sculpture garden:

A close-up look of the Assembly, on the path leading down the other side of the hilltop copse:

Looking the other direction, a view of the Hangang:

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