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A megalopolis of over 10 million people, Seoul feels like a city on a mission – even if no-one is entirely sure what that mission might be beyond the day-to-day business of making money and chasing the Next New Thing. In-your-face modernity is undoubtedly the capital’s keynote, but recent years have seen efforts to reconnect with its underlying natural landscape and history: the Cheong-gye stream bisecting the skyscraper zone downtown has been uncovered to create a delightful green artery, while numerous medieval monuments have seen a well deserved facelift, among them the building designated as National Treasure Number One: the Namdaemun Gate, a grandiose vestige of the 14th-century Joseon dynasty. The same kings were also responsible for Seoul’s other must-see, the Changeokgung palace, whose graceful pavilions with upswept eaves rise from their own secret garden against a picture-book mountain backdrop.