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With a justifiable claim to being the most popular shopping area in the country, Myeongdong (명동) is a dense lattice of streets that runs from the east–west thoroughfare of Euljiro to the northern slopes of Namsan peak. Though visitors to the area are primarily concerned with shopping or eating, there are a couple of sights in the area that are worth a glance while you’re here. Most central is the large Myeongdong Cathedral (명동 성당); completed in 1898, it was Korea’s first large Christian place of worship, and remains the symbol of the country’s ever-growing Catholic community. It wouldn’t win any prizes for design in Europe, but in Seoul the towering spire and red brick walls are appealingly incongruous. Nearby is the Bank of Korea Museum (한국 은행 화폐금융 박물관), though the notes and coins on display are less interesting than the building itself, which was designed and built by the Japanese in the first years of their occupation.

East of central Myeongdong is Namsangol (남산골), a small display village filled with traditional hanok buildings; though a much more interesting and entertaining folk village can be found just south of Seoul, this is a more than acceptable solution for those with little time.