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Korean transcription(s)
 • Hangul
 • Hanja
 • Revised RomanizationMyeong-dong
 • McCune–ReischauerMyŏng-dong
Myeongdong filled with neon signs at night
Myeongdong filled with neon signs at night
Myeongdong junggu.png
CountrySouth Korea
 • Total0.99 km2 (0.38 sq mi)
 • Total3,320
 • Density3,400/km2 (8,700/sq mi)

Myeongdong (Korean명동; Hanja明洞; lit. 'bright cave' or 'bright tunnel') is a dong in Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea between Chungmu-ro, Eulji-ro, and Namdaemun-ro. It covers 0.99km² with a population of 3,409 and is mostly a commercial area, being one of Seoul's main shopping, parade route and tourism districts.[1] In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Myeong-dong was listed as the ninth most expensive shopping street in the world.[2][3][4] The area is known for its two historically significant sites, namely the Myeongdong Cathedral and the Myeongdong Nanta Theatre.[5]


Myeongdong dates back to the Joseon Dynasty when it was called Myeongryebang (Korean명례방; Hanja明禮坊) and mostly a residential area.[6] During the Japanese era the name was changed to Myeongchijeong (Korean명치정; Hanja明治町, Meijicho in Japanese pronunciation) and became more of a commercial district, being influenced by the rising commerce in the neighboring Chungmuro area.[1] It became the official district of Myeongdong in 1946, after independence.[7]

After the Korean War and into the 1960s, the economy blossomed and the financial sector from Namdaemun-ro and Euljiro gradually expanded into Myeongdong. The area flourished as city renovations took place and highrise buildings were built. Many department stores, shopping centers, restaurants, upscale shops and boutiques set up their businesses in Myeongdong and it became popular with the young and trendy in the 1970s.[1]

Besides being a major commercial and financial district, Myeongdong has been a popular location for political demonstrations and protests, especially during the turbulent years of the 1980s and 1990s. Myeongdong Cathedral has been a frequent spot for many of these demonstrations and still is to this day.[7]

As of March 2000, Myeongdong's has been designated as a special Tourism Promotion Area and is one of the stops on the official Seoul City Bus tour's main route.[8]


Hawkers around Myeongdong during evening

Seoul's financial hub is divided between here and Yeouido where the Korea Stock Exchange is located. Major insurance, securities, financial services companies, and investment firms with headquarters in Myeongdong include Citibank, SK Corporation, Kookmin Bank, Korea Exchange Bank, Lone Star Funds, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, AIG Korea Insurance, Hana Bank, and HSBC. The Bank of Korea is also in the vicinity.

Other notable landmarks in Myeongdong include the Chinese Embassy, which was first opened on January 4, 1949.[9] YWCA headquarters, UNESCO Hall, Myeongdong Theater, and the oldest Catholic cathedral in Korea, Myeongdong Cathedral.[10]

Except for early morning and late night delivery hours, the main street and most of the alleys are blocked off for pedestrians to roam freely without being hindered by traffic.[11]

Luxury shopping[edit]

Myeongdong is one of Seoul's main shopping districts featuring mid-to-high priced retail stores and international brand outlets, including Lacoste, Polo Ralph Lauren, H&M, Zara, Forever 21, Bulgari and Louis Vuitton, as well as Korean cosmetics brands such as Nature Republic, Missha, The Face Shop and Skin Food.[12] It is a particularly popular area for young people and tourists as a center for fashion and sight-seeing.[1] Several large shopping centers and department stores are in the district including Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Migliore, M Plaza, and Noon Square.[13]

In August 2012, as part of Lotte Department Store's expansion programme into China, a replica of the street of Myeongdong is featured in its new store in Tianjin, with outlets of Missha, The Face Shop and Skin Food.[14]

The floating population of Myeongdong is estimated to be around 2 million a day[15] and in terms of floorspace rents, Myeongdong is one of the most expensive shopping districts in the world.[16] Many hotels, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, and historical sites complete the diverse mixture of the area. In a poll of nearly 2,000 foreign visitors, conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in November 2011, stated that 13.4 percent named shopping in Myeongdong as their favorite activity in Seoul.[17]

Tourist attractions[edit]

The Myeongdong Cathedral, a popular tourist attraction towards the end of the shopping district.

Myeongdong Festival has been hosted since 1982 to vitalize the commercial area and encourage tourism.[18] It is usually held twice a year: from the end of March to the middle of April in spring, and the month of September in autumn. Parades, music and dance performances, fashion shows and other spectacles are part of the festivities. Many shops and stores offer product sales and discounts during this time as well.

In 2012, the area hosted the street parade of the Cheonan World Dance Festival in October.[19]

Local transportation[edit]

The southern part of Myeongdong is served by Station #424, Myeong-dong on Seoul Metro Line 4.svg Line 4 of the Seoul Subway, while the northern area is closer to Seoul Metro Line 2.svgStation #202, Euljiro 1-ga on Line 2.


International schools include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2010-05-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)Jung-gu Office, Retrieved 2010-05-26 (Korean)
  2. ^ "Myeong-dong Is World's 9th Most Expensive Shopping Street". Chosun Ilbo. 2 September 2011. Archived from the original on 21 October 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Myeong-dong Store Rent 9th Highest in the World". Chosun Ilbo. 16 November 2012. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Myeong-dong, world's 9th highest commercial rental prices". The Korea Herald. 14 November 2013. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  5. ^ "Myeongdong Catholic Cathedral Archdiocese of Seoul". Myeongdong Catholic Cathedral Archdiocese of Seoul. Archived from the original on 2019-06-29. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  6. ^ "1898 Myeongdong Cathedral". Archived from the original on 2019-05-25. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  7. ^ a b Myeongdong Archived 2019-12-15 at the Wayback Machine from Doosan Encyclopedia (Korean)
  8. ^ Tourism Promotion Area Archived 2011-08-31 at the Wayback Machine Jung-gu Office (Korean)
  9. ^ "South Korea-Taiwan relations 'in a rut'". Yonhap News. 2002-08-21. Archived from the original on 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  10. ^ "Myeongdong Cathedral". Archived from the original on 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  11. ^ "Myeongdong streets to become pedestrian friendly" Archived 2011-10-01 at the Wayback Machine, Munhwa Ilbo 2008-03-03 (Korean)
  12. ^ "Travel Highlights: What To Buy When Shopping in Korea". Korea Tourism Organization. Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  13. ^ "Myeongdong". Archived from the original on 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  14. ^ Kim, Jung-yoon (31 August 2012). "New dawn rising for Lotte in China". Joongang Daily. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  15. ^ C.K. Jang "Myeongdong commercial district" Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine MK Business News 2010-05-12 (Korean)
  16. ^ The world’s most expensive streets 2006 Archived 2008-02-13 at the Wayback Machine finfacts Retrieved 2008-02-23
  17. ^ "Mt. Nam Tops List of Foreign Tourists' Favorites". Chosun Ilbo. 28 November 2011. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  18. ^ Myeongdong Festival Archived 2011-08-31 at the Wayback Machine, Jung-gu Office
  19. ^ "Myeongdong to Host Dance Street Parade". Korea Tourism Organization. 20 September 2012. Archived from the original on 24 December 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  20. ^ "Seoul's 'China Street' Begins to Revive". Chosun Ilbo. 8 January 2008. Archived from the original on 30 June 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  21. ^ "SEOUL CHINESE PRIMARY SCHOOL Archived 2016-03-30 at the Wayback Machine." International School Information, Government of South Korea. Retrieved on March 30, 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°33′49″N 126°59′02″E / 37.5637°N 126.9840°E / 37.5637; 126.9840