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Seoul (English pronunciation: /soʊl/; Korean: [sʰʌ.ul] ( listen)) — officially the Seoul Special City — is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea, forming the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, the world's second largest metropolitan area with over 25.6 million people.[5] It is home to over half of South Koreans along with 632,000 international residents.[6] With a population of over 10 million, the megacity is the largest city proper in the OECD.

Situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back more than 2,000 years when it was founded in 18 BCE by Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It continued as the capital of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty. The Seoul Capital Area contains five UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeok Palace, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine, Namhansanseong and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.[7] Seoul is surrounded by mountains, the tallest being Mt. Bukhan, the world's most visited national park per square foot.[8] Modern landmarks include the iconic N Seoul Tower, the gold-clad 63 Building, the neofuturistic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Lotte World, the world's second largest indoor theme park,[9] Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, the world's longest bridge fountain[10] and the Sevit Floating Islands. The birthplace of K-pop and the Korean Wave, Seoul was voted the world's most wanted travel destination by Chinese, Japanese and Thai tourists for three consecutive years in 2009–2011[11] with over 12 million international visitors in 2013,[12] making it the world's 10th most visited city and 6th largest earner in tourism.[13]



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