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Monday, 18 July 2016

Seoul Dobong-gu: Northernmost District in Seoul and Home of Mount Dobong and Dobong Seowon

Dobong-gu (Hangul/Hanja: 도봉구/道峰區) is a district located in Northern Seoul Special City, Republic of Korea. The district is bordered with Uijeongbu City, Gyeonggi Province on North, Seoul Nowon-gu on East, Seoul Gangbuk-gu on South and West and Jangheung-myeon, Yangju City, Gyeonggi Province on Northwest. The geography on this area is dominated by Mount Dobong (740m above sea level at Jaun Peak), which is the namesake of the district. Dobong Seowon Confucian Academy is located on the foot of Mount Dobong in this district. The postal codes of Seoul Dobong-gu start from 01300 [88-13~88-17 Dobong Avenue 191st Street/Dobongno 191-gil] to 01489 [325~339-23 Madeul Avenue/Madeullo]. The passenger vehicle registration plate code for this district is 01~16 머(MEO) 1000~9999.

It is assumed that humans have lived in Dobong-gu since the prehistoric age, but the assets or traces from that period have not yet been discovered. Considering this area is part of the Han River Valley of Seoul, this area may be included to the Han River Valley prehistoric cultural area.

Seoul, which is located in the lower stream of Han River has been the arena of competition among forces of three nations in Samguk Period, and it was first recorded in the history in the reign of King Goi (Reigned: 234 to 286), the 8th king of Baekje, when Baekje was expanding its territory from Han River to the south and the north, after completing its national structure as an ancient nation. As Dobong-gu has been a strategically important spot in terms of national defense since the ancient times, and it has an ideal condition for agricultural activities where water flows in front of the town backed by mountains, various nations have fiercely competed to preoccupy this area. 

After Baekje ruled this area under the name of Hanseong, the area became the territory of Goguryeo under the policy of southward movement of King Jangsu. In accordance with Gunhyeonje (군현제/郡縣制), the administrative system of Goguryeo, Maeseong County (Changhwa) was established in the present Dobong-gu and Yangju County sites. After ruled by Baekje again, the area became the territory of Silla. Yangju County (present-day Yangju City, Gyeonggi Province) including the present Dobong-gu.

King Taejo Wang Geon of Goryeo renamed Naeso County as Gyeonju, and also renamed Hanyang County as Yangju. The governor of Yangju had jurisdiction over Gyeonju. In 1081 (9th Reigning Year of King Hyeonjong Wang Soon), Gyeonju was incorporated into Yangju. In 1394 (3rd Reigning Year of King Taejo Yi Seong-gye of Joseon Dynasty), the capital (Hanseong Governorate) was set up in Yangju, and the rest of Yangju area including the present Dobong-gu remained as Yangju. Two years later, names of five districts of Hanseong-bu were designated and boundary stones were established. Some parts of Dobong-gu were incorporated to Sungshinbang of Dongbu. It means that Dobong-gu was partially included to the outer district of Hanseong Governorate in the Joseon period. On Yeojidoseo (여지도서/輿地圖書), a compilation of the maps of the overall capital area published in times of King Yeongjo, two communes which are Nowon-myeon and Haedeungchon-myeon, belong to Dobong-gu.

In 1895 (32nd Reigning Year of Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu Yi Myeong-bok), Yangju County was placed under jurisdiction of Hanseong County became the 3rd County of Gyeonggi Province under the royal order on the 13 Provinces Administration System. In 1912, when Korea was colonized by Japanese Imperialists, Nowon-myeon and Haedeungchon-myeon still belonged to Yangju County. Two years later, Nowon-myeon and Haedeungchon-myeon were incorporated into Nowon-myeon, and then the current geographical names such as Chang-dong, Dobong-dong, Banghak-dong, and Ssangmun-dong were designated. 

On August 13th, 1949, when four years had passed since the liberation, the districts of Seoul were expanded. The areas newly incorporated from Sungin-myeon, Goyang County to Seoul, and some parts of Dongdaemun-gu were all incorporated into Seongbuk-gu, and Sungin District Office had jurisdiction over Dobong-gu.  On January 1st, 1963, some area of Nohae-myeon, Yangju County was incorporated into Seongbuk-gu, and newly built Nohae District Office of Seongbuk-gu had jurisdiction over Dobong-dong, Banghak-dong, Ssangmun-dong, and Chang-dong.

On July 1, 1973, Dobong-gu was newly designated with jurisdiction over 22 administrative dongs by incorporating areas managed by Sungin District Office and Nohae District Office. The number of precincts in Dobong-gu increased to 35 in 1979 and Nowon-gu was separated from Dobong-gu on January 1st 1988. On March 1st 1995, 18 precincts including Mia-dong, Suyu-dong, and Beon-dong were separated from Dobong-gu to be designated as Gangbuk-gu, and 15 dongs including the legal precincts of Ssangmun-dong, Banghak-dong, Chang-dong, and Dobong-dong formed in the present day.

The District Office is located at 656 Madeul Avenue/Madeullo, Banghak 1-dong 720-beonji with its postal code: 01331. The mayor of this district is Stephen Lee Dong-jin (Minjoo Party). In the other hand, Elisabeth Yin Jae-keun (Minjoo Party) and Kim Seon-dong (Saenuri) served as the district assemblymen for 20th Session of Gukhoe (2016-2020). Elisabeth Yin represents Seoul Dobong-gap (1st Electoral District that covers Ssangmun 1-dong, Ssangmun 3-dong and Chang 1~5-dong), while Kim Seon-dong represents Seoul Dobong-eul (2nd Electoral District that covers Ssangmun 2-dong, Ssangmun 4-dong, Banghak 1~3-dong and Dobong 1~2-dong). Seoul Dobong-gu consists 14 administrative precincts as shown on the map below (in Hangul and Hanja):