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Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Spotlight In -

eoul’s re­cent his­tory has been marked by rapid mod­erni­sa­tion, an ea­ger ac­cep­tance of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances and ur­ban growth on an im­pres­sive scale. Many of its most high-pro­file devel­op­ments can be found south of the Han­gang (Han River). The 123-storey Lotte World Tower is close to com­ple­tion – at 555 me­tres, it is the tallest build­ing in South Korea. There are also ex­pan­sion plans for the COEX district, where Hyundai has pur­chased a huge plot of land op­po­site the con­ven­tion and shop­ping cen­tre, with plans to build ho­tels, as well as more event and re­tail space.

In the CBD, lo­cated within the his­toric city walls north of the Han, plenty of growth is hap­pen­ing, too, al­beit in a less grandiose fash­ion. By us­ing a rel­a­tively re­cent ad­di­tion to the city’s im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of parks, it’s pos­si­ble to bi­sect the busy, sky­scraper-filled down­town area and get a sense of Seoul’s broad ap­peal. In South Korea’s pre-in­dus­trial era, when Seoul was a frac­tion of its cur­rent size, a stream me­an­dered through its cen­tre, used by wives to wash clothes. Its name was Cheong­gyecheon – to­day, it is re­ferred to sim­ply as “the Stream”. Af­ter the Korean War, which ended in 1953, things changed – the Stream be­came lined with shanty towns and in­creas­ingly pol­luted and dirty. In 1958 a road was built over it, fol­lowed by an el­e­vated free­way in 1976. The Stream was for­got­ten in the rush to­wards an in­dus­tri­alised fu­ture, and the whole area be­came some­thing of an eye­sore. Left: Sun­set along Cheong­gyecheon stream

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