Situated in the heart of downtown Seoul, South Korea is one of the city’s most ambitious and successful engineering projects: the Cheonggyecheon Stream.
For a 20-year period after the Korean War, the Cheonggyecheon was the site of a major slum in downtown Seoul as many Koreans immigrated to the big city to find work. Then, in 1976 a highway was completed, covering the stream, in an attempt to modernize the city.
For 30 years, cars passed through the city while the stream continued to exist in the pipes below the road. However, in 2003 a massive project was undertaken to uncover the stream and to provide more a more natural feel to the city.
Completed in 2005, the 8.4 km stream is now a huge draw for city residents and visitors alike. It is the site of frequent festivals, including the very popular Seoul Lantern Festival held every November. It has even reduced traffic congestion in the city and lowered downtown Seoul’s average temperature by 3.6 degrees Celsius.
The entire length of the stream is walk able, including an additional 4km stretch to the mighty Han River. They have even decorated various points with light-shows, artwork, and themed bridges.
About a year ago I took the opportunity to walk the stream. As the sun set, and the lights of the buildings started to turn on, the scene was quite magical.
This photo is one of my favorites that I’ve taken during my time in Korea. I hope you enjoy it.