One of the better photo points along the Hangang River is Yongbongjeong Park in Heukseok-dong.
Heukseok-dong is an older neiborhood built on a hillside on the south bank of the Hangang River, and if you’ve got time, it’s worth walking about. At the top of the hill is a small park with a wood observation deck providing good views of the Hangang River, Nodeul Island and Yeouido.
The sun sets over Yeouido.
The 63 Building and the Hangang Railway Bridge… or Bridges, to be more precise, as there are actually four of ‘em, the oldest dating from 1900.
Linking the Yongsan neighborhood north of the Hangang River with Dongjak south of the river, the Hangang Bridge has served as Seoul’s gateway for nearly a century.
The Japanese began work on the bridge in 1916, completing construction in October of the following year. It is the oldest pedestrian and automobile bridge over the Hangang River (private cars did not appear in Korea until 1912).
Originally, the bridge consisted of two bridges: a larger span beginning from the south and a shorter span from the north. The two met at a sandbar in the middle of the river, which the Japanese created as an artificial island. Immediately, it became a Seoul landmark and popular tourist destination. In the summer, it was lit up with decorative lights, providing Seoul residents with a grand spot for summer evening walks. More importantly, the opening of traffic over the Hangang River encouraged the urbanization of areas south of the Hangang River, especially the industrial zone of Yeongdeungpo.
In 1925, a massive flood battered the bridge, causing heavy damage. By this time, it had grown obsolete and too small for the rapidly growing needs of the city. Construction of a new bridge began in 1934 at a cost of 2,518,000 won. The improved tied-arch bridge was completed in October 1937. This is the very bridge you see today. For decades, it was the only road into Seoul from the south.
Soon after the outbreak of the Korean War, the Hangang Bridge was demolished in a panic to stop the North Koreans from crossing the river. The demolition was a human and military disaster—the bridge may have had as many as 4,000 people on it when it was blown, many of whom were civilian refugees. It also led to the disintegration of much of the South Korean army, which was still fighting north of the river with the bulk of the army’s heavy weaponry.
In 1979, work got underway on a twin bridge next to the old one, and the new bridge opened in 1981.
The park is not far from either Noryang or Heukseok stations, Line 9.
View Yongbongjeon Park in a larger map