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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Walk the Ancient City Walls of Seoul and Embrace Its 600 Year History

In recent years Seoul has been focused on the total restoration of the Seoul City Wall that surrounds the historic heart of the city. Korean history is engraved in the walls of Seoul city and nowadays tourists to Seoul can enjoy many scenic places to walk along its 18 kilometre length. It's a great way to escape the city streets and enjoy some fresh air in the mountains that surround Seoul.

Namsan Seonggwakgil Fortress Trail
Copyright: Korea Tourism Organization

A new publication titled 'Seoul City Wall' provides an excellent tour guide to various sections of the famous city wall. As of 2014, some 70 percent (12.8km) of the entire Seoul City wall has been preserved or restored and it's easy to take the subway to various points along the wall to start the various walks.

The wall which follows the ridges of Mt. Baegak, Mt. Naksan, Mt. Namsan and Mt. Inwang the four main mountains surrounding the centre of Seoul has been rebuilt several times since its initial construction in 1396. The wall measures between 5-8 metres in height and is over 18metres long. It served as a city wall for the longest time among the existing walls of the world.

Seoul City Wall was registered on UNESCO's World Heritage tentative list on 23 November, 2012. Efforts are being made to have the Seoul City Wall listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site which is seen as an expression of the Korean people's desire to preserve the natural and historical landscape of Seoul to be passed to future generations.

Korea presently has ten cultural heritage sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list as well as one UNESCO natural world heritage site on Jeju Island. Visiting some of these sites on a tour of Korea is like walking through Korea's history. Sites like Gyeongju in the south east corner of Korea have stunning UNESCO World Heritage sites - the spectacular Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto Buddha as well as its royal burial tombs.

To see more of the Seoul City Wall highlights and to prepare to walk a section of the wall go to seoulcitywall.go.kr or request a free Seoul City Wall guidebook from Korea Tourism Organization Sydney office Email: visitkorea@knto.org.au
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