The Seoul I see on a day to day basis is modern. Elementary school students have smartphones, touchscreen maps are in subway stations and bright lights are on everything. Here and there I do see older houses with more traditional Korean architecture, called Hanok, but they are often delapidated and likely to be torn down soon.
A few dacades ago with South Korea's rapid industrialization, the people of Seoul started to move out of their traditional styled homes and into more modern apartment high-rises. These Hanok villages started to be demolished to make way for the demand of high-rises. Bukchon, a small neighborhood just north of the city center, was one of the few remaining Hanok villages when people realized that they were something that should be preserved.
Bukchon is one of the few places within the city limits where you can see still so many of these Hanok preserved in beautiful condition. It's nice and quiet compared to other parts of Seoul. Signs are posted here and there reminding you that this is primarily a residential area and to keep quiet.
Bukchon is actually somewhat of a rich neighborhood and not all of the houses in it are Hanok. Those that aren't tend to be very new and very interesting looking.
Being such a beautiful neighborhood, it is a big draw for tourists, but surprisingly most of the shops and peddling of wares sticks to one road outside of the actualy neighborhood. There are a few folk museums within Bukchon, but they are often run out of private residences and don't intrude on the overall look of the place.
It's pretty easy to forget that Seoul is surrounded by mountains.
Seoul Tower, one of the few true city landmarks, is visible in most places in this part of town.
Street performers? They didn't move at all, weren't accepting money and there was no sign of what it was they were actually doing.
President Obama and numerous other world leaders were in Seoul this past weekend for the Nuclear Security Summit taking place. It became pretty obvious that I was near where the summit was taking place as there were literally thousands of police officers on patrol. Before then, I had never once seen any sort police officer on foot patrol, and only very rarely do I see a police car.
But I'm am thankful for there presence, if only for presenting me with this amazingly dressed motorcycle officer.
I believe that is the flag of Kuwait on the car, so I can only assume the country's head of state is inside.
It's very fitting that the edge of Bukchon is marked by this pavillion, across the street from which is this beautiful glass skyscraper.