Cheonggyecheon is a public park in the middle of Seoul that is marked by a free-flowing river that runs from one end of downtown Seoul to the other. It was first envisaged in the early 2000’s as a green space in the middle of the concrete landscape surrounding it.
The river itself has existed prior to the eventual construction of a park around it, but if you didn’t know it was there, you probably would’ve remained unaware of it.
Why? Because this is what it looked like:
Yep, there’s a river in there somewhere! Instead of a park, there was an elevated highway above it, blocking light and fresh air from giving the river what it desperately needed in order to survive. Cheonggyecheon lay forgotten, buried underneath mounds of rubble, trash, and detritus.
Until in 2003, the governement of Seoul began a massive redevelopment project. The highway was taken down, the streets on either side became narrower, and enough space was created for a narrow park that extends itself on either side of the newly free-flowing river.
Yesterday, I went to check this place out for myself:
It’s an especially beautiful place at dusk, and a perfect place to wind down after a hard day.
Incidentally, the park also made a small cameo in SNSD (Girls Generation)’s “Seoul” music video: