중앙데일리

And a stream runs through it

Government plans to bring downtown waterway

June 15,2003
The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Mr. Roberts, who wrote to us from Gyeonggi province:

Q. Mr. Roberts:
A few expats have told me Cheonggyecheon, one of the major avenues in downtown Seoul, used to be a river. Is that true?

A. IHT-JAD:
Cheonggyecheon, which literally means “clean stream,” was a symbolic river that divided political and geographical districts in the ancient capital of Seoul. The stream stretched about 11 kilometers (7 miles) from west to east in central Seoul. But for centuries, the stream also brought destructive floods.

In an attempt to strengthen the city’s infrastructure during the postwar era of the 1950s and ‘60s, the Korean government built a road and overpasses to improve the transportation system around the commercial center. Over the years, though, the area suffered from toxic gases from contaminated sewage, becoming an environmental threat. Although controversial, the revival of Cheonggyecheon will begin July 1, and by December 2005 the people of Seoul will be able to enjoy the return of a genuine clean stream.


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