Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chonggyecheon Stream- Seoul Lantern Festival

I forgot to write about this before, but is definitely worth mentioning. On the Monday before Sarah left, we decided to head down to Chonggyecheon Stream in the heart of downtown Seoul to check out the Seoul Lantern Festival.

Scores of artists from around the world contributed and displayed their works along the stream. It coincided with Seoul hosting the G20 so I think it was meant to also be a proud display of all Seoul has to offer, and a major tourist draw for the week.

Luckily, we went late after work on a Monday when it wasn't busy, and so could avoid the large crowds that had been flocking to see the event.

The lanterns were great, but what is more interesting to me is the story behind Chonggyecheon Stream. Before its opening in 2005, this downtown core area only contained an elevated highway and dilapidated machine shops. In 2003 the mayor of Seoul commissioned the massive urban renewal project on the site of an old stream that flowed before rapid post-war economic development required it to be covered by the highway. It cost $900 million to make, but has since become a popular location for both Koreans and tourists to see the reintroduction of nature to the city, and beautiful design.

Chongyyecheon before and after

Sarah and Laura in front of the Brazilian"Christ the Redeemer" lantern 

Lantern Festival at night taking forms such as traditional dancers, exotic animals, and iconic landmarks
Sarah on the stream

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