USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences > Blog

July 9, 2013

Central Seoul: Seoul Tower, National Museum, and the Han River

Filed under: Field Trip,Seoul — geakorea @ 6:03 pm

By Abigail Becker and Hyunji Lee

We went to Seoul N Tower for the first part of our trip on Wednesday. Although it was supposed to rain, the day was amazingly clear, which made a perfect condition for viewing Seoul from the top of Namsan, where the tower is located. Just like the other trips we went on, we got in taxis in several groups and left for the entrance of the tower. After all of us arrived, we took a bus to the mid point and walked up the rest of the way. After having lunch at a food court below the tower, we dropped by Cold Stone and grabbed some yummy ice cream. Each of us looked happy with sweet dessert in our hands. We looked around the plaza, where there were hundreds of millions of love-lockers hanging on trees and handrails. We also enjoyed the view of Seoul from the plaza, though an even better view was waiting for us at the top of the tower.

The view of Seoul from the tower

The view of Seoul from the tower

Some of the thousands of locks surrounding the tower

Some of the thousands of locks surrounding the tower

After ice-cream time, we finally boarded an elevator to go up to the tower. There, we could see whole of Seoul from every angle. We found the Blue House, Kyeongbok Palace, Yeoido in the middle of Han River, Sangam World Cup Stadium, Myeongdong, Itaewon, Hannam-dong, and so on. It was a great opportunity to see Seoul’s landscape thoroughly. We also had time to write and send postcards at the top of the tower, which would be an unforgettable memory for USC students. If there was a sad thing, it was that we could not find our school, Ewha, which is located on the other side of mountains.

After visiting Seoul Tower, our class visited the largest museum in Korea, the National Museum of Korea. Although the museum is home to artifacts and treasures from many different time periods, our lovely tour guide showed us the most important features of the permanent collection.

Among these highlights were the golden artifacts from the Silla Kingdom (one of the three original kingdoms in the Korean Peninsula). The items included various pieces of jewelry and royal accessories that were gorgeous and impressive with intricate detailing like jade stonework and engraving. Many of the pieces on display will be sent to New York in the fall to be put on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in an exhibit specifically honoring Silla gold work.

Our class in front of the Buddhist stupa

Our class in front of the Buddhist stupa

The collection also included artifacts from the Buddhism, one of the most influential religions in Korea. We saw many statues of Buddha and an ancient stupa that had thirteen layers. Personally, however, my favorite part of the museum was the ceramics collection. Korea is known for its beautiful pottery, but what interested me the most was how the history of Korean ceramics actually paralleled what we studied in class. Foreign invaders (specifically the Japanese) persecuted Korean potters time and time again, and with each attack the Koreans showed their resilience by creating a new type of pottery that was practical and beautiful.

The obligatory jumping photo at the Han River Park

The obligatory jumping photo at the Han River Park

The Han River Park

The Han River Park

We ended our day at Han River Park, one of the most beautiful spots in the city. Unlike most Korean summer days, it was not raining! We could not have asked for a more beautiful day to enjoy the river. Our dinner was delivered to us at the river (Korean delivery services can deliver anywhere, even without an address) and we spent a few hours there eating and learning crazy Korean games. Spending time at the river was a perfect way to bond and relax after a full day around Seoul.

Learning some new Korean games

Learning some new Korean games

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