Friday, September 21, 2012


Until it was restored in 2005, Cheonggyecheon Stream existed only as a neglected watercourse hidden by an overpass. Today, it has been transformed into a haven of natural beauty amidst the bustle of city life. 
Narae Bridge, expressing a butterfly in flight, and Gwanggyo Bridge, symbolizing the harmony of the past and future, are just two of the more than twenty beautiful bridges that cross the stream. The ‘Rhythmic Wall Stream’, lined with fine marble, sculptures, and Korea’s 8th stone building, Palseokdam, adorn the Cheonggyecheon Stream. 
Cheonggyecheon Stream passes close to Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Plaza, the Sejong Center, Insa-dong Street, Changdeokgung Palace, and Changgyeonggung Palace, allowing visitors to easily visit major tourist sites after a leisurely stroll along the stream.
Cheonggye Plaza in Sejong-ro is situated at the fountainhead of Cheonggyecheon Stream. From Dong-A Ilbo Building, the starting point of Cheonggyecheon Stream, Cheonggye Plaza stretches all the way to Sindapcheolgyo Bridge. The Plaza is roughly 160m long and 50m wide and has a beautiful fountain, an artificial waterfall, and a miniature replica of Cheonggyecheon Stream, as well as a walking path. The area commemorates the Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project, and also symbolizes gathering, harmony, peace, and unity. Cheonggye Plaza is roughly 2,500 square meters and is located at the starting point of Cheonggyecheon Stream. The square, created based on the design of Korean traditional bojagi (a colorful wrapping cloth), features the elegant beauty of traditional stonework that is colorful, yet tasteful. The Plaza also includes a model of Cheonggyecheon that provides visitors with a bird's-eye view of the formerly restored Cheonggyecheon Stream. At the Plaza, there are plaques that provide detailed commentaries on the 22 bridges that span the stream as well as a number of graceful fountains that add to the ambience of the area. After completing Cheonggye Plaza, Seoul Metropolitan Government designated the area as a vehicle-free zone on holidays, providing more leisure space for pedestrians. Since then, the waterfront areas of Cheonggyecheon Stream, and the surrounding streets have become popular places for those seeking refreshment and a variety of cultural experiences. A favorite of many is Candle Fountain, which features the magnificent synchronicity of three different lighting fixtures and a 4 meter-high, two-tiered waterfall. Along the two sides of the waterfall are 'Palseokdam'(wishing wells) made of 8 different stones from each of the nation's 8 provinces. Cheonggye Plaza never goes to sleep: visitors can enjoy the fantastic display of light and water even at night.

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