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South Korea: Seoullo 7017

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Seoullo 7017 | South Korea | Asia

[Visited: May 2017]

Just after reading an article about Seoullo 7017, I happen to be on my way to the Korean capital. The weather is nice, and I am curious, so I take the subway to Seoul Station, pleased to see signs for the new attraction of this metropole. They are not really necessary though, as the overpass is clearly visible once you get out of the bowels of Seoul's subway system. Seoullo 7017 is a walkway made out of the old overpass: cars no longer run over the train tracks, and instead, a narrow park has been developed here, allowing people to walk over roads and the tracks just north of Seoul Station in a specially developed area. Work is still in progress: the stairs are not finished, and I need to squeeze myself into a cramped elevator to get to the walkway. Fortunately, there is enough space to explore, and I decide to first walk to the eastern side, then work my way towards the west.

Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Looking west over Seoullo 7017: people walking the former overpass

The overpass has been almost completely converted into something new, after it turned out that traffic was too much of a burden on the old structure. One of the first things I see, is a circular hole in the pavement, through which I can see cars driving right below me. There are many other attractions on this park-like structure. Peepholes at various heights in concrete towers, topped by vegetation, offer surrealistic views of Seoul traffic. There are flowers, plants and trees, there are benches, there are fountains, cooling stations triggered by high temperatures, theatres, shops, cafes, ice cream parlours, and more: plenty to keep you busy for a while. I ask for a map at the visitor centre, and to my surprise, get one of the staff to walk with me searching for a place to take shots of Seoullo 7017 from above. She talks us up on the roof of one hotel, and near windows in restaurants in one of the buildings that have direct access to the walkway. She also tells me the origin of the name: the overpass was constructed in 1970, and reopened as a walkway in 2017.

Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Yunseul consists of concrete formations topped by lines of mirrors

She turns out to be great company, walks me to the other aide of the walkway, where she shows me Yunseul, a pit with concrete, uneven surface, covered with lines of mirrors. The combination plays tricks on the eyes, especially as the sun casts linear shadows on the bottom, and the sky is reflected in the mirrors above. I stay a while to enjoy the views, then walk back up the walkway. I climb all the circular towers that can be climbed, which afford nice views of the city and the people walking the walkway below. I stand at railings where flowers are the foreground of the Seoul skyline. I wonder what the walkway will look like in a couple of years, when the plants and trees have grown and when the brand-new look has worn a little. The way it is set up, it looks promising enough to warrant a second visit in the future. I cannot resist but buy myself an ice cream when I am back at the eastern side of the walkway, sit down, and just watch people discovering this latest addition to the attractions of Seoul.

Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Seoul skyline seen from behind one of the many flower pots
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): One of the western arms of the walkway seen from above
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Seoul traffic running under the walkway
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Looking through one of the peepholes on the Seoullo 7017 walkway
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Kid looking through one of the peepholes on the walkway
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): City of Seoul seen from one of the many flower pots
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Reflection of clouds in the mirrors over Yunseul art installation
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Looking at an orange cab driving below the overpass
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Lines formed by mirrors, their shadow, and an uneven surface of Yunseul
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): View of circular ring with buildings in the background
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): The art installation of Yunseul is covered with rows of mirrors
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Mirrors covering Yunseul at the west side of the walkway
Picture of Seoullo 7017 (South Korea): Looking down on traffic below with flowers in the foreground

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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