Seongbuk-dong is a dong, neighbourhood of Seongbuk-gu in Seoul, South Korea.[1][2]

Korean transcription(s)
 • Hangul성북동
 • Hanja城北洞
 • Revised RomanizationSeongbuk-dong
 • McCune–ReischauerSongbuk-tong
Coordinates: 37°35′49″N 126°59′37″E / 37.59694°N 126.99361°E / 37.59694; 126.99361Coordinates: 37°35′49″N 126°59′37″E / 37.59694°N 126.99361°E / 37.59694; 126.99361
CountrySouth Korea
 • Total2.68 km2 (1.03 sq mi)
 • Total16,444
 • Density6,100/km2 (16,000/sq mi)

Seongbuk-dong is a village located in the north of Seoul, nestled in the hills overlooking the city. A large proportion of the residences are owned by wealthy households. It is also where many ambassadorial residences are located (among them, the residences of the Chinese, Australian and Canadian ambassadors).


When Yi Seong-gye, Taejo of Joseon, announced the capital of Joseon as Seoul, and naturally began to call the northern rampart connecting Sukjeongmun (a.k.a. Namdaemun) and Dongsomun (a.k.a. Hyehwamun), Seongbuk.


Joseon DynastyEdit

The town was originally called Nogumetgol. Nogume is a bowl of rice cooked in a brass or copper kettle prepared to offer the spirits of mountains and lakes during religious ceremonies. Ancient legends say that after a woman prayed every day with nogume, her husband came back after leaving the house. The village was also called Dodukgol, having steep mountains with many thieves. In mid-Joseon, Bukdun of Eoyeoungcheong was established to protect the city. The first settlers were sent then to farm the area, but because of the harsh environment, it was impossible to farm crops, and people began to leave the town. To solve the problem, King Yeongjo gave the citizens of Seongbuk-dong a privilege to whitewash clothes and ferment soybeans needed in the palace. These privileged jobs became the origin of the names of certain parts (e.g. Bballaegol, Bukjeokgol) of the city.

Although life in Seongbuk-dong was harsh for commoners, the noble class visited the village often because of its beautiful nature.

Also, Seongbuk-dong was the place where seongamrae was held. At 1400, Seongamdan was built at Seongbuk area and performed ancestral rites for Seoreung whom known as the first one to teach the method for breeding silkworms for the people. The unique point of this ceremony was the thing that women took the main role of management. Seongamrae was led by the queen of Joseon and managed by the women who worked at the palace. 1908, Shinwi had moved to Sagikdan and only the trace is left at the Seongbuk-dong, and seongamdan is the sageok 83th.

Japanese colonial eraEdit

In 1930~40, the town was such an underdeveloped rural area that pheasants and wolves were found in backyards. During the Japanese colonial period, the Japanese imperial family moved into the town to enjoy rural life in secluded mountains and brought in convenient facilities along with them. However, most of the original civilians were too poor that they have been unable to help themselves.

Also, the Japanese used the local administrative organization for the exploitation of the people. But the seongbukgeongheo (the local administrative organization at Seongbuk-dong) also had an identity of autonomy group of citizens. Seongbukgeongheo tried to solve problems of the region by the understanding of the citizens who belong to Seongbuk-dong.

Post-colonial eraEdit

Development of pondok villagesEdit

After the Korean War, as the economy got stabler, more people moved into the area. Especially refugees from Hamcheong of Hamgyeong-do moved in and developed a pondok village. Most of the pondoks then are now torn down for redevelopment.


Since 1968, the opening of Bukaksan Road and completion of Samcheong Tunnel have facilitated traffic after Samcheong-dong-gil and Seongbuk-dong-gil met. This development allowed many embassies to move into the city.

Today, Seongbuk-dong developed into a very modern city, represented by the well-maintained Seongbukcheon, the remains of the castle, and highly raised apartments. The city is now a unique area where the refugees and wealthy residents live together. There are also large income gaps in this city. people who were wealthy from the 1960s has been settled in this area and still are. Multi-million dollar houses were built across the hill and it is quite fun to drive around there. However, Seongbuk-dong has a small area where low-income elders have settled from 1960s also. This city gives you this weird irony look because of this huge gap between rich and poor people.



Seongbuk-dong totals 2.85 square kilometers in area. The city has Bukhan Mountain to the north and is surrounded by the old ramparts of Seoul in a fan shape.


2008 CensusEdit

According to the 2008 Census, Seoungbuk-dong's population was 19,308.

2016 CensusEdit

According to the 2016 Census, Seongbuk-dong's population was 18,397.

2017 CensusEdit

According to the 2017 Census, Seoungbuk-dong's population was 17,664.


Seoul Subway Line 4 01,02,03 Seongbuk town bus

Community diversityEdit


During the Joseon Dynasty, many writers and painters set up their hometowns in Seongbuk-dong because the valley of the Seongbuk was the closest hunting grounds and shelter to the city.

Seongbuk-dong is also a birthplace of a lot of great literary, such as Choi Sung-woo, Yeom Sang-seob, Lee Tae-jun, Han Yong-woon, Kim Kwang-seop.

Ambassador residenceEdit

Due to the good accessibility to the blue house (or Cheong Wa Dae), Seongbuk-dong became home to many foreign embassies. Because of this, the city has many ambassador's residences, allowing the community to be rather diverse in race, nationality, and culture compared to other parts of Korea.

Government and politicsEdit


Seongbuk-dong is located in the west of Seongbuk-gu, Seoul. It has control over four dongs designated by customary law: Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-dong 1-ga, Dongso-mun 1-ga, and Dongso-mun-dong 4-ga.

Income gapEdit

After the war, the people of Hamgyeong Province started to evacuate and set up this valley as a slum. In the 1960s, when the economic development took place, the mountain villages were broken into one new residential area.

Then, since the late 1970s, Seongbuk-dong became popular for good prospects and environments, and luxury houses have begun to enter. In particular, this rumor has spread to the diplomatic community, so the embassy has begun to slowly enter the area, and now residences of 30 countries are established.

Now, Seongbuk-dong is home to a lot of rich people, but also has the last slum of Seoul, Bukjeong town. Therefore, Seongbuk-dong is known for the large gap in economic power between the rich and the poor.



Pigeon of Seongbuk-dongEdit

 성북동 산에 번지가 새로 생기면서
 본래 살던 성북동 비둘기만이 번지가 없어졌다.
 As Seongbuk-dong Mountain is newly developed
 Only the Seongbuk-dong pigeon which originally lived lost their address
 새벽부터 돌 깨는 산울림에 떨다가
 가슴에 금이 갔다.
 그래도 성북동 비둘기는 
 하느님의 광장 같은 새파란 아침 하늘에
 성북동 주민에게 축복의 메시지나 전하듯
 성북동 하늘을 한 바퀴 휘 돈다.
 Trembling from the noise of breaking rocks since dawn,
 their hearts cracked.
 Still, the Seongbuk-dong pigeons,
 in the morning sky, like the square of God,
 seems to deliver a message of blessing to the people,
 as they fly around the Seongbuk-dong sky.
 성북동 메마른 골짜기에는
 조용히 앉아 콩알 하나 찍어 먹을
 널찍한 마당은커녕 가는 데마다
 채석장 포성이 메아리쳐서
 피난하듯 지붕에 올라앉아
 아침 구공탄 굴뚝 연기에서 향수를 느끼다가
 산 1번지 채석장에 도로 가서
 금방 따낸 돌 온기(溫氣)에 입을 닦는다.
 In the barren valley of Seongbuk-dong,
 there is even no yard
 to sit down quietly to eat beans.
 Everywhere they go the sound of firing from a quarry echoes
 so they sit on a roof as if to evacuate,
 feeling the homesickness in the smoke of the morning chimney stove
 then goes back to the mountain quarry
 wiping their mouth with the warmth of a stone
 예전에는 사람을 성자(聖者)처럼 보고
 사람 가까이
 사람과 같이 사랑하고
 사람과 같이 평화를 즐기던
 사랑과 평화의 새 비둘기는
 이제 산도 잃고 사람도 잃고
 사랑과 평화의 사상까지
 낳지 못하고 쫓기는 새가 되었다.
 In the past, they looked at people as saints.
 The bird pigeon of love and peace which
 were close to people,
 loved with people,
 enjoyed peace with people,
 now lost the mountains and the people
 and became a chased bird that cannot even bear
 the thought of love and peace.

This poem is written by Kim Kwang-seop, who wrote ritual of loneliness and anxiety at his young ages, and in his old ages, he wrote a poem containing humanity with materials that could be found in daily life. The form of poetry is a three-verse modern lyrical poem, showing a satirical tendency. The theme of nostalgia destroys the nature of modern civilization. The internal rhythm is based on the external rhythm. It is a poem that depicts a soft, mellow description, such as "Trembling from the noise of breaking rocks since dawn, their hearts got cracked. ," or "the morning sky like the square of God," or "wiping their mouth with the warmth from a stone"

In the first verse, the mountain is being destroyed. The truth of nature destruction is revealed naked in a simple sentence of "the pigeon is cracked in the chest". There is nowhere to rest in the Seongbuk-dong valley as described in the second verse. In the third verse, the pigeons that was recognized as the symbol of peace were gone, and there was no place for love and peace that was full of human hearts. Humanity is destroyed. Now humans have become "a bird that is chased" by the civilization they have set up, "going to the heart" and "losing the mountains and losing people". It is the part where the theme is concentrated.

Moonlit nightEdit

The novel ≪Moonlit night≫ is a short novel based on Seongbuk-dong written by Lee tae-joon. In this work, though the compassion of first-person narrator perspective who views the main character forms the cast, the narrator reduces the information related to the misfortune of the main character 'Hwang soo-gun' to a minimum and proceed to the narrative of other events and to prevent the reader from becoming immersed in the hero's misfortune. Because of this, the feelings of the reader who reads this work merely remain in the compassion that they see from afar. In this novel, the writer shows the personality of the person named "Hwang soo-gun" and the perception of the world in which such a person can not live. In other words, since this world is a place where only the lucky ones who are fast and competitive can live, it is said that those who make only the newspaper delivery as the 'Hwang soo-gun' are to be excluded from the urban competition. The artist shows through the main character that there is no way for these people to live even though they have the right to live as a person.

Cultural diversityEdit

The embassies in Seoul often hold cultural exchange festivals for foreigners and local residents.

European Christmas marketEdit

The European Christmas market is held every winter to let people experience and celebrate Christmas. During the two-day festival, booths are held to offer dishes enjoyed during Christmas holidays from each country.

Seongbuk Global Village CenterEdit

Reason for foundationEdit

The Seongbuk Global Village Center was established in 2009 for residents in the local area. The center is a place where Korean and foreign residents can share their cultures. This center will help overcome cultural differences and be ready to a multicultural society.


There are several programs by Seongbuk Global Village Center.

-Daily Living Support Services

 -counseling service provided in different languages (Korean, English, Chinese)
 -providing offline, online and telephone counseling
 -providing daily living information and consultations in case of inconveniences
 -providing professionalized counseling by establishing a hot-line connection with -other  professional counseling offices

-Educational and Cultural Programs

 -Korean Classes
 -English Speaking Class
 -Cultural Experience Classes
   Offered for : Foreign Residents & Multicultural Family Members
   Where : Seminar Room in Seongbuk Global Village Center
   Fee : Free of charge (textbooks must be purchased by attendants)
   Schedule is subject to change according to the conditions.

-Arts and Crafts Classes

 -Traditional Korean Boudoir Crafts and Korean Paper Art among other programs
 -Ceramic art class
 -Tea Ceremony class
 Offered for: foreign residents
 Course Fee: Free (A small fee for material will be charged separately.)

-Cultural Programs

 -Cultural experience programs
 -Cultural tour programs
 -Cultural Festivals

-Information Center & Cafeteria

 -Access to free newspapers, magazines, books and periodicals
 -Free Internet Service
 -Free access to both Korean and foreign users
 -Utilized for hosting small group discussions and meetings

-Volunteer Programs

 -assist the Center in its operation of educations and cultural programs
 -both Korean and foreign resident
 -know more about Korea and exchange language and culture with Korean residents.

Parks and other attractionsEdit

Hanok villageEdit

Angdoo villageEdit

Angdoo Village is named after angdoo, a Korean fruit which is similar to cherry. The village was named after it for there are many angdoo trees. It is located at Seongbuk-dong 1-ga 105-11, right outside the Hyehwa-mun. The Angdoo Village is one of the first designated hanok areas outside of the Seoul's Sadaemun. The village totals 31,245 m2 in area and consists of 22.5% of hanok (38 dongs of hanok, 131 dongs of regular houses). Each hanok dong can be classified into 3 classes – Ga, Na, and Da, in order of quality. The village contains 10 of Ga class, 6 of Na class, 22 of Da class.

Seonjam DanjiEdit

Seonjam danji is an altar installed in the 1400s, where people prayed for the well of sericulture. It is located at Seongbuk-dong 62. Seonjam Danji totals 5,868 m2 in area, and consists of 45.4% of hanok(20 dongs of hanok, 24 dongs of regular houses). The hanoks can be classified to 2 of Ga class, 2 of Na class, and 16 of Da class.

Korea furniture museumEdit

The Korea Furniture Museum houses more than 2,000 traditional furniture pieces, plus 10 hanoks (traditional Korean houses). The museum itself is known as one of the most important and beautiful pieces of architecture in Seoul, and one of the first places global curators and designers visit when they visit Seongbuk. To visit, reservations are necessary.

Gilsangsa TempleEdit

Gilsangsa Temple is a temple located in the center of the city. It was priorly a restaurant owned by Kim Yeong-Han. Kim donated the area to Venerable Beopjeong, a Buddhist priest, who later changed the place to a temple. The temple includes the Hall of Paradise, Jijangjoeon Hall, and the Lecture Hall. The temple also features a library to read books about Buddhism.


Simwoojang is a house built by Manhae Han Yong-un during the Japanese colonial era. Its name is derived from 'Simwoo', meaning 'to find a cow of its instinct'. The house is faced north to avoid seeing the Japanese Government-General of Korea but made the house dark and humid. There are many beautiful trees such as pine and juniper in the front yard. Han Yong-un died in the house while resisting against the Japanese Many writings, research papers, and records of trial prison are preserved in Han Yong-un's room.

Gansong Art and Culture FoundationEdit

The Gansong Art and Culture Foundation is Korea's first private art museum, founded by Gansong Jeon Hyeong-Pil. Gansong's collection includes the Cheongja Sanggam Unhangmun Maebyeong and Hunminjeongeum. Despite the suppression of Japan towards Korea's cultural development, Gansong collected national cultural assets and established Bohwagak to protect and preserve the relics. The Bohwagak later became the Gansong Art and Culture Foundation. Gansong also put the effort in education and scholarship for Korean Culture and Arts, by taking over Bosung School to raise the younger generation in the area. The Gansong Art and Culture Foundation is not only an art museum pursuing beauty, but it is also a result of a pioneer's effort to protect the Koreans' spirit and soul.

Korean Stone Art MuseumEdit

The Korean Stone Art Museum is Korea's first museum for stone relics only, containing about 1,250 stone artifacts, 280 pieces of embroidery, and 100 pieces of modern and contemporary paintings. The museum has six exhibitions: Returned Artifacts Exhibition, Dongja Exhibition, Beoksu Exhibition, Embroidery Exhibition, Modern/Contemporary Exhibition, and the Outdoor Exhibition. It was established to pray for long life, happiness, and luck, allowing the visitors to feel the philosophy and the wisdom of ancestors.

Notable people from Seongbuk-dongEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "성북동 (Seongbuk-dong 城北洞)" (in Korean). Doosan Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22 April 2008.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Introduction about Seongbuk-dong" (in Korean). Seongbuk-gu official site. Archived from the original on 2 March 2004. Retrieved 22 April 2008.
  3. ^ Rachel Sang-hee Han; Frances Cha (17 December 2012). "13 things you've got to do in Seoul". CNN Travel. Retrieved 26 February 2013.

External linksEdit