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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello y'all, I hope you're doing fine. Apart from my German thread, here I want to share some photo impressions I took in one of my favourite countries, South Korea.
I took all these pictures on a trip in 2018, so hopefully I can provide you with an escape to a pre-corona world here.

Index:

Incheon


Daegu


Gyeongju
 

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Arrival in Incheon

I arrived at the fabulous Incheon Airport, as will most international visitors. Incheon regularly comes in at the top in "best airport" rankings across the world, and certainly gives you a modern welcome to the country.


I'm sure fans of contempuary architecture or airports could make an entire picture thread of just this airport, but that's all I have for now:
 

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Aftwerwards, I had the pleasure to drive across one of the longest bridges in the world, the over 21km long Incheon bridge.


The bridge leads from the pininsula where the airport is located to the huge new development of the Songdo district of Incheon.
 

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I was there in the humid heat of summer, so jetlagged me only started to explore my Songdo when it was already dark.
I want to excuse the poor picture quality, I should really invest in a better camera.

Songdo is an extremely modern developement, meant to show Korea's advancement as a country. It is so modern that they even have underground pneumatic waste disposal, making trash pickup trucks unecessary. The cityscape is dominated by the supertall Northeast Asian Trade Center with 305m height.


The center of Songdo is taken up by a central park, which offers many freetime activities, such as boating.
 

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While Korean urban planning favors "tower in a park" stiyle developments, the towers also include midrise podiums, so that streets are often lined with buildings, creating a better urban feel than what you're used to from tower in a park developements elsewhere.



In the center of Songdo is a new complex built in traditional Korean style. It contains among others an hotel and restaurants. I think it's a very nice touch to anchor the super modern Songdo to Korean traditions this way.


It makes some interesting contrasts as well:
 

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Daegu

Unlike what might seem obvious, I skipped going to Seoul at first and headed to Deagu, Korea's third largest city with 2.5 million inhabitants. Don't worry though, we'll visit Seoul later.

Daegu, like all Korean cities has experienced an enormous growth spurt in the least decades. Just a little more than a hundred years ago, it was a small settlement without much of an urban structure, consitsting of simple straw-roofed Hanuks. You can already see that Korea has been a focus of christian missionaries for a long time.


Daegu was heavily destroyed in the Korean war, however some of those brick buildings built by missionaries fared better than most of the rest. This is the church which is already visible in the 1907 picture:
 

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Here is another example; this time in neo-gothic:


Interestingly, what I assume to be the former residences were built in a much more eclectic style, mixing western and Korean architecture:


Another very positive observation: Korea has beautiful and very well kept green spaces:
 

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Christianity was gaining popularity here until recently, so they built this architecturally very interesting post modern/ neo gothic Cathedral:




Judging by my portrayal of Deagu so far, you migh think that I was there in some capacity for the church. However, that's not true, I just explored the city randomly and these buildings are still prominent in the cityscape, even with many modern highrises around.
 

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Of course, Buddhism is also popular here, so you can find some new-built temples (as well as many historic ones, which we'll see later)


If you're interested in the city's history, there are "heritage tours" through Daegu with several historic buildings and exhibitions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I found Daegu to be a city full of contrasts and it has plenty to offer to lovers of urban jungles.

The urban landscape can look anywhere from this:


To this:


I'm sure many Koreans aren't proud to see neighbourhoods such as the last picture, but experience has shown that these have the potential to become thriving districts if you put some energy into it. I'm a fan of narrow alleys in any case.
 

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Daegu has a public transit network which consists of two heavy rail metro lines and one monorail. It creates great urban scenes:


The monorail is above grade all the way and is a great way to see some of the city.


Notice the very diverse structures here:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you want to escape the density for a moment, then you can just go to one of the citie's very nice parks, like Dalseong park here.
The main entrance is a gate in traditional Korean style:


Everything is very well kept, it's a true urban oasis.
 

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One of my favourite things to do here was to try and catch glimpses of the surrounding city out of the park.

Sometimes you see the skyline in the background:




And sometimes you get nice views into the wonderfully chaotic urban structure here.


 

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Before we head to the city center, let's explore around a little bit more.

Korean cities are very interesting in ther urban fabric. The are loosely organized by a grid of wide artery road, however in the middle of those "super block" pretty much anything goes.
It can result in interesting urban photography situations like this:


Here we can see another example of modern Korean developent; tall residential towers with commercial podiums at the street level. While I am a staunch hater of commieblocks, I think they manage to combine the advantages of traditional urban environments and commieblock style developements as well as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Similar situation here. Might be not everyone's taste but I like the feel of a big city. Also notice the PC cafe, something very common here and sorely missing in Germany.


As a German, I'm always happy to find a piece of home abroad every now and again, even when it's a pretty stereotypical association 😅


But then again, I guess Germans move up on the "romantic scale"?
 

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One of Daegu's modern landmarks is the "ARC cultural center" which is a free-formed edifice located at the confluence of two rivers. At night, it is illuminated by LEDs and the surrounding area is a popular meeting spot.




The colorful illumination could be a nod towards Daegu's slogan:

In the background you can see the Daegu TV tower.
 
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