Dongdaemun History & Culture Park

Ancient relics accompany striking examples of contemporary architecture and design in this special complex, created to showcase centuries of South Korean culture. 

Investigate hundreds of years of South Korean history at Dongdaemun History and Culture Park in Seoul. The vast space, located on a spot with a long and rich history, is scattered with hyper-modern architectural masterpieces and ancient relics. The park was a significant project for the multi-award-winning Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid in the years before her 2016 death. One of her most distinctive buildings, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, is the star attraction of the park and is among South Korea’s most Instagrammed places.

The site was once a Joseon Dynasty military center. The Seoul Fortress wall was located here as well. As with many of Seoul’s historic sites, the walls were destroyed during the Japanese invasion of the early 20th century. Arrive today, however, and see how carefully parts of the original structures have been restored.

Visit the Dongdaemun Stadium Memorial to see exhibits that explore the cultural importance of the stadium that once stood on this spot. The stadium was built by the Japanese occupying forces, but as it stood until 2007, it held an important place in the hearts of many Seoul locals.

In the Dongdaemun History Museum 1398, learn about the secrets unearthed during the building of the park. View some of the 1,000 artifacts, many of them hundreds of years old, which were discovered beneath the ground while the park was being constructed.

Check the schedule for the Event Hall before you visit, as different events and exhibitions are held here throughout the year. These change each month and cover all aspects of South Korean culture, from fashion and art to architecture and history.

The most popular building in the park is also the one that is impossible to miss. Look for the giant, spaceship-like silver structure that is the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. This massive center hosts various events and permanent and rotating exhibitions about culture and design.

The Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station offers excellent connections to the rest of the city by bus and subway. Prepare to spend several hours here, as the site is huge and has a lot to see.