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Friday, 18 July 2014

Seoul World Cup Park, Seoul Mapo-gu: A former landfill transformed into World-Class Park

Seoul World Cup Park at Sangam-dong 390-1 beonji, Seoul Mapo-gu is an ecological park built to commemorate the 2002 Korea Japan World Cup and the new millennium. World Cup Park was once one of Seoul's landfills. Located opposite to the Seoul-Sangam World Cup Stadium; home pitch for K-League soccer team - FC Seoul and Korean Republic Soccer Team, the park was built to symbolize the World Cup as well as environmental conservation and the co-existence of humanity with nature. World Cup Park is divided into Pyeonghwa Park, Haneul Park, Noeul Park, and Nanjicheon Park etc. World Cup Park is a popular place of interest as a class ecological energy themed park. It attracts many visitors from overseas.

The World Cup Park was built to commemorate the 17th FIFA World Cup. Opened in May 1st, 2002, the park was once a 15-year-old landfill that held over 92 million tons of garbage. It took 6 years to stabilize the waste (measures were taken to prevent the garbage run-off from contaminating the environment) and an additional year to build the actual park itself. The park is located near the Seoul World Cup stadium, and is made up of five smaller parks including the Pyeonghwa 'Peace' Park, Haneul 'Sky' Park, and Noeul 'Sunset' Park. The park takes up a 1.05 million-pyeong area and is usually crowded with in-line skaters. 

In late 1970s, a small islet in the northwest part of Seoul, called Nanjido, was made into a landfill due to the waste disposal problem that arose, due to the rapid development of Seoul into a metropolitan city. The park was once a 15-year-old landfill that consisted with 92 million tons of garbage, and it took 6 years to stabilize, and an extra year to build the park. The 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup Games led to the rebirth of Nanjido as an eco-friendly area.

Nanjido was developed by Nanji which is a branch of Hangang parting from the main river around Mangwonjeong and then rejoins the river near Haengjusansung(Hill Fortress). This place was used a dock for boating till the late Joseon period. Before 1978 when the place was used as a landfill, peanuts and millet were cultivated on this land.

World Cup Park is an excellent ecological park and it is hard to believe that the park was once a landfill and a major nuisance to Seoul Metropolitan Government. The park site used to be filled with mountains of garbage and it created dust, odors and attracted flies. Furthermore harmful gases from piles of garbage caused frequent fires. It has now been turned into a beautiful park and given to Seoul's citizens.

World Cup Park was developed as an environmentally-friendly ecological park. The large number of trees in the park along with Nanji pond and Nanjicheon (Stream) provide beautiful scenery. The exhibition hall in World Cup Park documents the history of the transformation of Nanjido, the former name of the landfill site. The park offers various spectacles and facilities, such as Haneul stairs leading to Haneul Park which has become a popular tourist attraction, playgrounds, and fountains.

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