See & Do
Whether it’s day or night, the embankments of the Hangang River beckon the urbanite for rest and relaxation. Spotted easily from subway train and car windows, it has once been touted as the site of miracles, and now may work miracles for those on the lookout for leisure, sports, and a lesson in history. Twelve Hangang Parks and numerous facilities and options for leisure await you by the Hangang River.
In prehistoric times the river provided a much-needed fertile area of settlement, as indicated by the numerous prehistoric sites and relics that support this claim. The Hangang River later played a vital role in the rise of an early, agrarian civilization on its banks. Great kingdoms have risen and fallen along this commanding body of water. Geumgul Cave in Danyang on the Namhangang River basin is a significant Paleolithic site inhabited 600,000 to 700,000 years ago.
During the Three Kingdoms Period, the area around the Hangang River was a much coveted area of the peninsula due to its strategic location as the gateway to the Asian mainland. Baekje (18 BC-660 CE) was the first to win the area and establish an organized system of government. Silla’s succeeding occupation of the Hangang River enabled secure access to China. During the Goryeo period, Hanyang (now the Seoul area) became one of the three sub-capitals.
The importance of the Hangang River became greater than ever when the the Joseon Kingdom established its capital in the central part of the Korean Peninsula. The 500-kilometer river served as a natural defense for the capital and provided transportation, playing a vital role in the cultural development of the 500-year history of Joseon.
Today the Hangang River is a symbol of Korea’s rapid emergence as one of the world’s leading economies and continues to be a very important source of agricultural, residential and industrial water. The river is also a valuable natural museum for modern people who want to understand the past through various historical sites and the ecology of wildlife along the river.