Friday, July 9, 2010

The mighty Han River (한강)

Running through the center of Seoul the Han River is a major river in South Korea and the fourth longest river on the Korean peninsula .Rising in the western slopes of the Taebaek-sanmaek (mountains) and flowing generally westward across the peninsula through the provinces of Kangwon, Kyonggi, and North Chungchong to the Yellow Sea. Of its 514 kms length, 320 kms are navigable, and it has been a valuable river transportation route since ancient times, particularly during the Yi dynasty (1392–1910). Various agricultural products are grown in its 10,000-square-mile drainage basin. There are several islands in the lower course of the river, such as Yoi-do, located within the city limits of Seoul. The Han supplies the cities along its course with water for industrial and general use. The river’s upper course, in the mountains, is used to generate hydroelectric power.

The Namhangang (Namhan meaning 'South Han' and gang meaning 'river') is sometimes, but not always, referred to as the "Han" in South Korea. The term "South ,Han" is understood irrespective of which side of the border one stands.

Construction of the Hangang Railway Bridge began in 1899, was completed in 1900 to be the first modernistic railway bridge in Korea. The 26-mile Gyeongin Railway between Seoul and Incheon was opened in 1990. The first footbridge over the Hangang was constructed in 1916, six years after the Japanese annexation of Korea. Construction of another new footbridge, 20m wide and 10,005m long, was begun in 1934 and then was completed in 1936. The Hangang was badly flooded three times in 1912, 1920 and 1925.Some of the bridges in the river were affected badly during the Korean War.Some of the bridges were intentionally blown up by the South Korean army inorder to prevent the advancing enemy troops from crossing over.Many people loss their lives trying to cross the blown up bridges.

At present there are a total of 27 bridges cross the Han River in Seoul National Capital Area (Seoul, Gyeonggi, Incheon).Gangnam district, one of the most affluent areas of Seoul is also located near the river.Han river is also infamous for being suicide spot although the Government is trying hard to prevent people from committing suicide.I wonder why people choose this beautiful place to take their lives.

Han river and its surrounding areas has lots of things to enjoy.It has swimming pool,cafes and restaurants,river cruise,bicycling track,walking track,fishing and camping sites,inline skating ring.It is a great place to hang out with friends or families.It is easily accessible by subway and bus.It feels great to take a walk(bicycling is also a good experience) beside the river in the evening with the cool breeze and the skyscrapers on the background.I just love the view of the mountains...

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