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South Korea capital Seoul: Asian charm capital

Located in the northwest part of the country, Seoul is bordered by eight mountains and the level plains of the Han River, which bisects the city. The climate is similar to the rest of the peninsula, with generally hot and humid summers, cold and dry winters and beautiful springs and summers.

Seoul has been the capital of Korea for over 600 years, when King Daejo moved the capital from Gaegyong to Hanseong (one of Seoul's many former names) at the end of the 14th Century. Like a phoenix, Seoul rose from the destruction of the Korean war in just four decades to become the international powerhouse it is now. The city occupies an area about 605 sq km (376 sq mi), about one third the size of Jeju island, but is the second most densely populated city in the world (just behind Tokyo).

The city itself has a population of over 10 million, one quarter of the country's population. The greater metropolitan area is home to almost 23 million residents, roughly half of South Korea's population. Its rapid growth was not only due to a population boom, but a huge migration from rural areas as the economy of the country shifted from farming to industrial.

Despite increased deterioration of traditional customs and lifestyles, Seoul continues to be a balance of the old and the new. Modern skyscrapers hover over the noisy traffic of the city, while traditional palaces and gardens provide peaceful escapes from urban life. (CCNPIC Ella)

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