Theme Week South Korea

Monday, 25 March 2019 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks

Changdeokgung Injeongjeon in Seoul © flickr.com - eimoberg/cc-by-2.0

Changdeokgung Injeongjeon in Seoul © flickr.com – eimoberg/cc-by-2.0

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and lying to the east of the Asian mainland. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. South Korea lies in the north temperate zone and has a predominantly mountainous terrain. It comprises an estimated 51.4 million residents distributed over 100,363 km² (38,750 sq mi). The capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of 10 million.

Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period (2.6 Ma–300 Ka). The history of Korea begins with the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by the legendary king Dangun. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Unified Silla in AD 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U.S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea (ROK), while the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was established in the Soviet zone. The United Nations at the time passed a resolution declaring the ROK to be the only lawful government in Korea. The Korean War began in 1950 when forces from the North invaded the South. The war lasted three years and involved the U.S., China, the Soviet Union and several other nations. The border between the two nations remains the most heavily fortified in the world. Under long-time military leader Park Chung-hee, the South Korean economy grew significantly and the country was transformed into a G-20 major economy. Military rule ended in 1987, and the country is now a presidential republic consisting of 17 administrative divisions.

Anyang city from Suri mountain © flickr.com - Hyungyong Kim/cc-by-2.0 Changdeokgung Injeongjeon in Seoul © flickr.com - eimoberg/cc-by-2.0 Hwaseong Fortress and the skyline of Suwon © Jpbarrass Sangdangsangseong in Cheongju © Hutch1225 Seongnam-Hikaru arai/cc-by-sa-4.0 Waterfall on Jeju Island © flickr.com - Douglas Knisely/cc-by-sa-2.0 Port of Gungpyeong © flickr.com - socialwalker/cc-by-2.0 War Memorial of South Korea main building in Seoul © Adbar/cc-by-sa-3.0
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War Memorial of South Korea main building in Seoul © Adbar/cc-by-sa-3.0
In 2016, 17 million foreign tourists visited South Korea With rising tourist prospects, especially from foreign countries outside of Asia, the South Korean government has set a target of attracting 20 million foreign tourists a year by 2017. South Korean tourism is driven by many factors, including the popularity of South Korean pop music and television dramas, known as Korean Wave (Hallyu), throughout East Asia, traditional culture, cuisine and natural environment. The Hyundai Research Institute reported that the Korean Wave has a direct impact in encouraging direct foreign investment back into the country through demand for products, and the tourism industry. Among Asian countries, China was the most receptive, investing 1.4 billion in South Korea, with much of the investment within its service sector, a sevenfold increase from 2001.

Because of South Korea’s tumultuous history, construction and destruction has been repeated endlessly, resulting in an interesting melange of architectural styles and designs. Korean traditional architecture is characterized by its harmony with nature. Ancient architects adopted the bracket system characterized by thatched roofs and heated floors called ondol. People of the upper classes built bigger houses with elegantly curved tiled roofs with lifting eaves. Traditional architecture can be seen in the palaces and temples, preserved old houses called hanok, and special sites like Hahoe Folk Village, Yangdong Village of Gyeongju and Korean Folk Village. Traditional architecture may also be seen at the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Korea. Western architecture was first introduced to Korea at the end of the 19th century. Churches, offices for foreign legislation, schools and university buildings were built in new styles. With the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 the colonial regime intervened in Korea’s architectural heritage, and Japanese-style modern architecture was imposed. The anti-Japanese sentiment, and the Korean War, led to the destruction of most buildings constructed during that time. Korean architecture entered a new phase of development during the post-Korean War reconstruction, incorporating modern architectural trends and styles. Stimulated by the economic growth in the 1970s and 1980s, active redevelopment saw new horizons in architectural design. In the aftermath of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea has witnessed a wide variation of styles in its architectural landscape due, in large part, to the opening up of the market to foreign architects. Contemporary architectural efforts have been constantly trying to balance the traditional philosophy of “harmony with nature” and the fast-paced urbanization that the country has been going through in recent years (Architecture of South Korea and )Korean architecture).

Korean cuisine has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Ingredients and dishes vary by province. There are many significant regional dishes that have proliferated in different variations across the country in the present day. The Korean royal court cuisine once brought all of the unique regional specialties together for the royal family. Meals consumed both by the royal family and ordinary Korean citizens have been regulated by a unique culture of etiquette. Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables, fish and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes, banchan, which accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Every meal is accompanied by numerous banchan. Kimchi, a fermented, usually spicy vegetable dish is commonly served at every meal and is one of the best known Korean dishes. Korean cuisine usually involves heavy seasoning with sesame oil, doenjang), a type of fermented soybean paste, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, and gochujang, a hot pepper paste. Other well-known dishes are Bulgogi, grilled marinated beef, Gimbap, and Tteokbokki, a spicy snack consisting of rice cake seasoned with gochujang or a spicy chili paste. Soups are also a common part of a Korean meal and are served as part of the main course rather than at the beginning or the end of the meal. Soups known as guk are often made with meats, shellfish and vegetables. Similar to guk, tang, has less water, and is more often served in restaurants. Another type is jjigae, a stew that is typically heavily seasoned with chili pepper and served boiling hot. Popular Korean alcoholic beverages include Soju, Makgeolli and Bokbunja ju. Korea is unique among Asian countries in its use of metal chopsticks. Metal chopsticks have been discovered in Goguryeo archaeological sites.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on South Korea Tourism, LonelyPlanet.com – South Korea, Korean cuisine, Tourism in South Korea, U.S. Department of State – South Korea, Wikitravel South Korea, Wikivoyage South Korea and Wikipedia South Korea. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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