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Seoul's Historic Walks in Sketches
Price per Unit (piece): KRW 28,000
USD 20.49
Author: Janghee Lee
Publisher: Seoul Selection
Pub. Date: June 2018
Pages: 344
Cover: Softcover
Dimensions (in inches): 7 x 9.2 x 0.8
ISBN: 9781624121111
Language: English
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Like a photographer who waits to catch perfect light, Janghee Lee takes long looks at

interesting places in Seoul and captures the details with honesty and passion.

Robert J. Fouser, writer of Hanok: The Korean House


Janghee Lee renders this perpetually changing, seemingly incomprehensible metropolis

legible through realistically detailed, imaginative sketches.

Colin Marshall, essayist for Guardian Cities, Los Angeles Review of Books



Seoul is a rapidly changing city, the epitome of the latest trends and technology. But looking closely in between the skyscrapers, there lie hints that reveal an alternate story, a story of a 600-year-old capital city. Seoul’s Historic Walks in Sketches discovers and brings to life these stories. From the Joseon era’s palaces and fortresses to modern skyscrapers of glass and steel built on historic sites, the author’s pencil sketches bring forth a new dimension of Seoul. Accompanying the illustrations are his insightful, witty commentaries on local history that go a long way in presenting readers with a captivating view of the unknown city, a city almost exotic in its mystery.


A city, its architecture and its history: 15 must-see attractions in old town Seoul

Through the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), Japanese colonial rule, the Korean War, industrialization, and democratization movements, countless stories of the changing times have been engraved in the nooks and crannies of Seoul. This book is a retrospect of the forgotten city of Hanyang (old Seoul), reviving the history once lived within the four ancient great gates.

Many of the places covered in this book are among Seoul’s most famous landmarks and popular tourist attractions, yet the sagas unraveled at each destination impart an unconventional perspective. The author’s remarkably discerning eye notices and depicts the minute details most would miss around the city. In the district of Jongno, the author weaves tales from the past and present as he guides readers from Bosingak Bell, which served as an official clock during the Joseon period, through Tapgol Park, Seoul’s first public park and the epicenter of the March 1 Independence Movement, to the commercial centers where large-scale booksellers engage in never-ending battle and the city’s best jewelers congregate.

The author’s remarkably discerning eye notices and depicts the minute details most would miss around the city, capturing the charms of even the smallest stone animal figures on the roof of Gyeongbokgung Palace. For those unmoved by the textbook photographs and dry histories of existing guides to Seoul, this book’s intimate charm is sure to please.


The ever-changing city of Seoul: Sites and stories unfamiliar even to locals

It would be an understatement to say that this book is only dedicated to tracking down the historical traces of Seoul. As the author says, “Seoul isn’t an antique—it’s an ever-changing organism.” He discusses the recent changes that have proven significant to the city: Gwanghwamun Square, the new Seoul City Hall, the Statue of Peace facing the Japanese embassy, and contemporary installations at Cheonggye Plaza. Introducing hidden attractions around the city, from an ecological park on a skyscraper rooftop to evidence of historical figures cleverly hidden in amongst the buildings, Seoul Historic Walks in Sketches contains extraordinary and unmatched insight into the city.



About the Author


Janghee Lee majored in urban planning and studied illustration. He contributes illustrations and columns for several local newspapers and magazines. His books in Korean include Tour of New York: Sketching the Landscape, America: Meeting a Thousand Freedoms, and Tree Tales.

After living in Seoul for decades, Lee decided to tour the city with a sketchpad in hopes to “understand the city better.” He has wandered the city’s maze of streets and alleyways, capturing in his sketchpad the stories and scenes discovered within. By collecting decades of sketches and commentary, his book represents, in a way, a life’s work. He says, “It seems I’ve been writing this since the time I was born.”

Lee organizes sketch tours with drawing aficionados, and he continues to use his drawings to preserve landscapes that are on the verge of disappearing.



Table of contents

Chapter 01 Gyeongbokgung Palace

Chapter 02 Myeong-dong

Chapter 03 Susong-dong

Chapter 04 Hyoja-dong

Chapter 05 Gwanghwamun Plaza

Chapter 06 Jongno

Chapter 07 Cheonggyecheon Stream

Chapter 08 Jeong-dong

Chapter 09 Hyehwa-dong

Chapter 10 Gyeonggyojang House

Chapter 11 Dilkusha

Chapter 12 Insa-dong

Chapter 13 Sungnyemun Gate

Chapter 14 Hwangudan Altar & Seoul City Hall

Chapter 15 Seoul City Wall


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