Yongsan District (Korean: 용산구, romanized: Yongsan-gu) is one of the 25 districts of Seoul, South Korea.
Yongsan has a population of 313,814 (2010) and has a geographic area of 17.6 km2 (8.4 sq mi), and is divided into 19 dong (administrative neighborhoods). Yongsan is located in central Seoul on the northern bank of the Han River, bordering the city districts of Jung to the north, Mapo to the west, Yeongdeungpo and Dongjak to the southwest, Seocho and Gangnam District to the southeast, and Seongdong to the east.
Yongsan is part of the Seongjeosimni (Outer old Seoul) area immediately south of Seoul's historic center in Jung on the southern side of Namsan. Yongsan is home to notable locations such as the National Museum of Korea, the War Memorial of Korea, Itaewon district, the Yongsan Electronics Market, and Haebangchon, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Seoul.
The History of Yongsan-gu
The Origin of Yongsan-gu
The administrative district of Yongsan-gu started on April 17, 1896 under the name of Yongsanbang. The old name of Yongsanguyeokso was changed to Yongsan-gu in October 1945, just after Liberation from imperialist Japan, and the name was again changed to Yongsan-gu, Seoul Special Municipality on October 18, 1946 and maintained until the present. The system of 'dong' as the lowest administrative unit has been kept until the present as previously enacted by the ordinance of the Seoul municipal government in April 1955.
The History of Yongsan-gu
Located in the central part of Seoul, Yongsan borders Namsan on the northeast and Hangang on the southwest. Yongsan is a region with a historic background, treasuring traditions handed down from ancient times. The oldest record of Yongsan as the name of a place could be found in a story where two dragons appeared over Hangang in the 21st year of Kichal of Baekje, and the name of Yongsan (dragon mountain) was taken as the surrounding mountains looked like a dragon.
Traces of Yongsan
The Heart of Seoul Preparing for a Dragon's Flight in the 21st Century
The dragon is an imaginary creature that has been regarded as the most ideal, with its brightness and strength, since ancient times. The dragon was seen as an animal with two horns on its head, a body armored with needles and sharp claws that allow no attacks by anything. It was also believed that dragons could fly over clouds as well as creep and leap on the surface. It was also believed that the dragon could change itself as it is pleased. As dragons have been considered as the most auspicious creature, the king's position was referred to as a dragon's position, the king's face as a dragon's face, his dress as a dragon's dress. The very name of Yongsan was named after the dragon, the symbol of auspiciousness and strength.
Some say that Yongsan was named after the surrounding mountains that look like a dragon, and some say that the name originated from the legend that two dragons appeared over Hangang at the time of Baekjea, which says that Yongsan is an auspicious region. On a map of Seoul, Yongsan is found in the center of the map. In terms of urban transport structure, Yongsan is at the intersection of the roads connecting Youngdeungpo, Youngdong and Sinchon. In terms of forestation, Yongsan is the place where Hangang, flowing from the east to the west, and the Bukhansan, Namsan and Gwanaksan mountains, intersect. In terms of geomancy, Yongsan could be the most auspicious land with the Namsan mountain in front and the Hangang river at the back.
The First Satellite City in Korea
Yongsan could be referred to as a blessed land that has made achievements worthy of the name. During the Chosun Dynasty, there was a wharf crowded with cargo ships and merchants from all over the country. In Korea's modern history, Yongsan has developed as the starting point of capitalist economic activities and the first satellite city in Korea.
Yongsan at the time of Korea's Opening to Foreigners
On October 6, 1884, Yongsan was designated as an open region where foreigners were allowed to reside and do commerce. In 1887, when missionary work was freely allowed, the French, Chinese and Japanese came to start their religious and business activities around Wonhyoro. In August 1888, a steamship started to sail along the Hangang, and in 1891, the Yongsan Theological School was built, which was the first seminary and western-style building in Korea. On January 9, 1900, a streetcar running from Seogye-dong through Cheonpa-dong to Wonhyoro 4-ga started operation. Through these developments, Yongsan entered a period of modernization.
Yongsan, the Land of Last Hope
Despite its various geographical advantages, Yongsan has been neglected in the process of modernization owing to the disadvantages of having foreign forces stationed there for more than 100 years and the railroad site occupying the central part of Yongsan-gu. Most Seoul residents, nevertheless, do not object to the claim that Yongsan could be the only lucrative land left in Seoul, and so is the land of hope. The central government, as well as the Seoul municipal government, expects much from Yongsan as evidenced by the inclusion of Yongsan in every important project in the nation.
Yongsangu Office: https://www.yongsan.go.kr/site/eng/index.jsp