Skyscrapers and ancient temples shining in the sun, cutting-edge technologies and pearl divers, huge plantations of mandarins and exotic insect dishes – all of it is South Korea. It can be called one of the most exotic, contrasting and unpredictable countries in the world. Here you will have time for exciting excursions, and for visiting colorful entertainment centers, and for participating in original national holidays, and for gastronomic discoveries.
The settlement history of the territory of the modern state dates back to the 4th - 3th centuries BC. At that time, the state of Ancient Joseon was located here. It existed for only a few hundred years and disintegrated into tribal unions. In the first century, three separate states were formed - Baekje, Silla and Goguryeo. The state of Silla is considered as the forerunner of the modern South Korea, it existed until the 10th century, and underwent a series of serious changes and military conflicts.
In the middle of the 9th century, these states united under the new name of Kore; for more than 500 years, the rulers of the Joseon dynasty stood at as the leaders. The era of their power ended only in 1910. After the end of the Second World War, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two parts, which were under the control of the United States and the USSR. Nowadays, South Korea is one of the youngest states in the world, which was officially formed only in 1948, at the same time as the North Korea. Several decades of hard dictatorship in the 80s were replaced by a milder democratic regime, which contributed to a more active development of the country and its tourism sector in particular.
The most recognizable landmark of the state is Gyeongbokgung Palace, located in Seoul. This luxurious palace was built in the 14th century for the Joseon royal family, today it is an open-air museum. The architectural complex is attractive not only for its unique appearance, but also for the variety of valuable exhibits stored in its walls. In the spacious halls of the palace, there are collections of antique furniture, beautiful tapestries and sculptures, as well as precious jewelry that once belonged to the royal family.
Among the modern attractions, we can highlight the bridge across the Hang River, which possesses the romantic name "Rainbow Fountain." Come and admire the bridge at nightfall, and you will understand what is the main beauty of it. On the side parts of the bridge there are small fountains that form very beautiful arches of water. Enjoying this spectacle is also possible in the daytime, but in the evening the jets of fountains is painted in all the colors of the rainbow with a spectacular lighting.
Do you like unusual excursions? Then look at the Seoul TV Tower, which has acquired the status of the most popular sightseeing object. This tower is located on the top of Mountain Namsam and is the tallest building in the capital. An interesting shopping and entertainment center is built within its walls. Here you can visit the observatory, buy gifts in souvenir shops and relax in restaurants overlooking the city. Most importantly, you will able to visit the highest panoramic observation platforms in the country.
The majestic Hwaseong Fortress is the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in the second half of the 18th century and survived many battles. As a result, it was almost completely destroyed. Not long time ago, the fortress reconstruction began, where several of its towers, gates and walls were fully restored.
In the vicinity of the town of Busan, there is a Beomeosa temple, which is considered one of the greatest Buddhist shrines in the world. It was built on the slope of Mount Geumjeongsan more than a thousand years ago, this temple impresses with its scale. Its total area is about 8 square kilometres, in this territory there are more than 160 buildings of different periods. The construction of this temple began on the orders of the Joseon dynasty, for more than a thousand years the temple continues to be one of the largest in the world.
In the vicinity of Seoul there is a large international airport Incheon, which receives flights from various European and Eastern countries. In addition, you can get to South Korea from a number of countries by sea. It is connected by ferry communication with Russia (Vladivostok), Japan and China. In most of the year periods, ferries are operating at least five times a week. The modern high-speed train network is conveniently connecting major cities within South Korea peninsula.
Read further: Cities and sights of South Korea