Hangang parks were first built between 1982 and 1987, stretching from Hail-dong, Gangdong-gu, in the east to Gaehwa-dong, Gangseo-gu, in western Seoul. In 1992, the park was divided into nine smaller parks: Mangwon, Yanghwa, Yeouido, Ichon, Banpo, Jamwon, Ttukseom, Jamsil and Gwangnaru. Though the last two were combined into a single park in 2003, they were once again separated a few years later to accomodate larger crowds. The Hangang River Business Headquarters manages each of the parks, and six of the 12 are equipped with swimming pools.
Originally, most of the parks were fenced in by stern, concrete walls, with the waterside parks taking on a plain appearance. However, the facade of the river began to undergo a drastic change with the implementation of the Hangang River Renaissance Project in 2006, a 30-year plan to improve the aesthetic, functional and environmental aspects of the landscape. Under the project, the parks were divided into four specialized districts (Banpo, Ttukseom, Yeouido and Nanji) that reach across the city, connected by the water and new bike lanes. As each of the parks was renovated into urban oases, a public yacht facility was established and a new era of swimming, water sports and outdoor culture bloomed.
The number of people who visited the outdoor pools was more than 600,000 last year, and the nearby Hangang River Love Reports Festival, an annual summer concert, sold out in two days. The citizen satisfaction survey conducted last year at the parks showed that 35.5% of Seoulites come for the water-related facilities. “We’re seeing more and more people visit the parks to enjoy the swimming pool. The pools and tanning beds are full of visitors even on weekdays,” says Park Ae-kyung, a spokesman for Seoul Tourism Marketing.
This summer, brand new outdoor pools at the six Hangang parks, including Yeouido and Ttukseom, are attracting more visitors than ever. These two are at the forefront of the swimming movement while the Jamwon and Jamsil pools were also recently renovated and reopened in July. Gwangnaru’s pool has become well known for its laidback and tranquil vibe, while Nanji, which opened its swim season late due to heavy rain, is also gearing up for the months ahead.
Ttukseom boasts an all-encompassing theme park, Supia, that houses some of the best swim facilities along the river. Opened just last summer, the new facility is opened year-round for seasonal activities, and amenities include tanning spots that look over the water and a thrilling air bounce for children. Slides, fountains, mazes and a variety of themed pools can be found in this resort-level park with an affordable ticket price.
The swimming pool in Yeouido, which is a part of the Supia theme park project, has a sleek design to target an older crowd, such as office workers and couples. Kids are not to be left out, however, as fun pools shaped like animals and plants also dot the park, designed by a local resident who won an open design contest. Pristine sun beds sit on a wooden deck and white parasols look idyllic against the bright blue hue of the swimming pools.
The Nanji swimming pool, located near the Sangam World Cup Stadium, is known for its Mirror Fountain, which stands at the front of the bridge that connects to Pyeonghwa (Peace) Park. Jet streams erupt from the broad, 12,300sqm fountain, but create a perfect mirror image of the sky when still. A kiddie pool that levels off at 80cm is perfect for families with children, and a musical fountain that sings four times a day (nine times on weekends), adds to the festive atmosphere.
[Source : Korea.net]