Cheonggyecheon (Cheonggye Stream)

cheonggyecheon

Cheonggyecheon was a natural stream that was polluted, covered up, and restored too quickly to go back to its natural process. Today, it’s a man-made stream and a lovely place to go for a walk.

We took a walking tour provided by VisitSeoul.net, a great resource to anyone who is planing their trip to Seoul.

The stream itself is beautiful, the seasonal decorations are cute, but the history of the stream was the most interesting part of the day.

20161219_092645

The stream started out as a center for people to do things like gather water, do laundry, and the like. Eventually, as the city and surrounding areas urbanized, it got so polluted that the government decided to cover it up with an elevated highway. Eventually, as the highway got older it became unsafe to travel across.

In 2003, the mayor of Seoul, Lee Myung-bak undertook a giant restoration project that was initially met with public criticism. Many said he was doing it too quickly, and the stream would go from a natural stream to a man-made one. Even today, the maintenance fees of the stream are high–the water must be pumped from the bottom of the stream back to the top to start the flow again. There’s also a section of the stream that must be restored after every flood season.

Waterfall in Cheonggyecheon

There are generators under this waterfall

Today, the stream is much-loved, and a popular place for tourists and locals alike. It’s also a popular date place, so beware of this area in the evenings if you’re PDA-averse.

A little further down from the bridge that we stopped at (with the market nearby) is a museum and palace you can explore.

20161219_104103

Fun fact: there are rocks along the stream, which serve three purposes. 1) to slow down the water current; 2) to serve as stepping stones if you must get across; and 3) to increase oxygen levels in the water.

20161219_101637

Our tour guide mentioned that there are plans for a series of small projects aimed at turning the stream into a natural, self-sustaining stream once again.

 

Advertisements

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s