Seonyudo Park

Late afternoon at Seonyudo Park in Seoul
Late afternoon at Seonyudo Park

Seonyudo Park is a popular park and open space located on an island on the Hangang River that was formerly used as an industrial water treatment plant. The small island, located west of Yeouido, was opened in 2009 after city officials realized that the island could be better used as an urban park instead of an idle industrial plant.

Seonyudo was originally a scenic island. Many centuries ago, Confucian scholars would visit this beautiful location to reflect, write poetry, and paint. In 1925, much of the island was destroyed by floods. In the 1970s, the area was connected to Yeouido by bridge and transformed from a public use area to a water filtration plant. A water plant was essential at the population of Seoul skyrocketed which caused an increase in the need for drinking water.

After twenty years, the plant closed and became an eyesore. The government of Seoul decided it would be best to return the land to the public and convert the plant into an urban park.

Architect Sung-Yong Joh designed the park in a way that highlighted the past industrial destruction of the island. He hoped that future generations that visited the area would better understand and realize the dangers of an industrial society on nature. He found a way to beautifully mix nature back into the island while not forgetting its brutal concrete past.

The unique geography of the land and the original plant facilities played an important role in the creating of the park that now features an aquatic botanical garden, a museum, and a pavilion.

The park has exceptional 360 degree views of the surrounding area, the Han River, and Seoul making it a great place for a picnic or a leisurely walk at sunset. Residents of Seoul flock here in the hundreds each weekend to relax, walk, or ride their bike or rollerblades around the island.

Many of those who visit the park stay until sunset to view the colorfully lit up and arched Seonyudo Bridge which links the park to the Yangwha Area on the southern side of the Han River.