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Sunday, 3 July 2016

Seoul Nowon-gu: 'No One' resides in this district? NAH... Everyone lives in the district of 'No One' because it is the highest population density in Seoul and Education Hub in Northern Seoul.


Nowon-gu, or known as Rowon-ku in North Korean Dialect (노원구 or 로원구/蘆原區) is a district located in Northeastern Seoul Special City, Republic of Korea. The district is bordered with Seoul Dobong-gu and Seoul Seongbuk-gu on West, Seoul Jongno-gu on Southwest, Seoul Jungnang-gu on South, Guri City, Gyeonggi Province on Southeast, Namyangju City on East and Uijeongbu City on North. Its name means "Reed Field", derived from the Hanja characters for reed (蘆 Standard South Korean Dialect: No/North Korean Dialect: Ro) and field (原 won). According to 2014 Korean Republic Census which is provided by Statistics Korea (KOSTAT), Nowon-gu has the highest population density in Seoul, with 582,552 people living in the area of 35.44 km².

The district is bordered by Mount Surak and Mount Buram, on the northeast. The Jungnang and Danghyeon Streams flows through the western part of Nowon, from Gongneung-dong to Wolgye-dong. The Joseonese Royal Tomb Cluster of Taegangneung, the place where Queen Munjeong of Papyeong Yoon Clan with her son, King Myeongjong Yi Hwan - 13th King of Joseon Dynasty and her daughter-in-law, Queen Insun of Cheongsong Shim Clan were laid to rest in this district. The postal codes of Nowon-gu start from 01601 [11 Nuwon 2nd Street/Nuwon 2(i)-gil] to 01914 [3~38 Hwarang Avenue 47th Street/Hwarangno 47(sasipchil)-gil]. The passenger vehicle registration plate code for this district is 01~16 버(BEO) 1000~9999.

In ancient times, Nowon was a vast field of reeds. According to historical documents and records, the name ‘Nowon’ has been used since the time of the Goryeo Dynasty, but it was usually written as ‘Nowon Station’ rather than just 'Nowon' because of its important role as a major line of communication. It is often called 'Madeul'. Ever since the station was positioned in the vast field of reeds and was officially referred to as 'Nowon', people who weren’t familiar with the name 'Nowon', which was a geographical name written with Hanja characters, came up with a different name. They put together the word ‘Ma’ which was derived from the scene of Horses (‘Ma’) running around the field and ‘Deul’ which was derived from the word field (‘deul’) and came up with the archaic Korean name ‘Madeul’. Both names of 'Nowon' and 'Madeul' well depict the characteristics of the area at the time. 

Nowon was previously belonged to Baekje during the early period of the Samguk Period until it was invaded by Goguryeo under the reign of King Jangsu in 475 (63rd Reigning Year of King Jangsu) and belonged to Maeseong County. Later, its ownership returned to Baekje again due to the Baekje's liberation efforts of the coalition forces of Baekje and Silla in 551. Later in 553 (14th Reigning Year of King Jinheung), Nowon was placed under Silla rule and during the reign of King Gyeongdeok of unified Silla Kingdom (757), and it belonged to Raeso County. The name Raeso County changed to the State of Gyeonju during Goryeo Dynasty and was transferred to Yangju County during the 9th reigning year of King Hyeonjong Wang Soon (1018) and the status remained intact until the end of the Joseon Dynasty. 

During Goryeo-Joseon Dynasties Period, stations were positioned in important places along traffic routes to accommodate travelers. Nowon was an important traffic route that connected the north and south regions. Especially during the Joseon Dynasty, it was close to Seoul-Hanyang, which was the capital, and was in important place that led to Gangwon and Hamgyeong Provinces. For this reason the station was built and the area was known as ‘Nowon Station’. According to Yeojidoseo (여지도서/與地圖書), which is a compilation of each state of government during the Joseon dynasty under the reign of King Yeongjo, there were 34 ‘Myeons (subdivision of a county) in Yangju-mok of Gyeonggi Province. Among which were Nowon-myeon and Haedeungchon-myeon and the present Nowon-gu area was included in the area. 

The name 'Nowon' was in use is from early Goryeo to almost the end of the Joseon Dynasty. The name disappeared on the 1st of April in 1914 when it was unified with Haedeungchon-myeon and became ‘Nohae-myeon’ due to the change of administrative district during the Japanese Colonization. The name Nohae-myeon also disappeared when it was transferred to Seongbuk-gu of Seoul in 1963 and to Dobong-gu in 1973 during the process of full-scale urbanization. Nowon-gu, after having gone through various transitions, was divided from Dobong-gu on January 1st 1988 by readjustment of the administrative districts and became reborn as the present day Nowon-gu. After it became an autonomous district, the name ‘Nowon’, which best describes the characteristics of the area, was selected as the permanent name and known until today. 

The district is home to numerous educational institutes such as Kwangwoon University, Sahmyook University, the Korea Military Academy, Sejong Science High School, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Induk University and Seoul Women's University. The large number of schools, universities, and hagwon have given the "gu" the reputation of being the so-called "educational district" of northern Seoul, just like Gangnam and Seocho Districts of southern Seoul.

The District Office is located at 437 Nohae Avenue/Nohae-ro, Sanggye 6.7(yuk-chil)-dong 701-1 beonji with its postal code: 01689. The mayor of this district is Andrew Kim Sung-hwan (Minjoo Party). In the other hand, Augustine Koh Yong-jin (Minjoo Party), Woo Won-sik (Minjoo Party) and Founder of AhnLab Incorporated, Charles Ahn Cheol-soo (People's Party) served as the district assemblymen for 20th Session of Gukhoe (2016-2020). Augustine Koh represents Seoul Nowon-gap (1st Electoral District that covers Wolgye 1~3-dong and Gongneung 1~2-dong), Woo Won-sik represents Seoul Nowon-eul (2nd Electoral District that covers Hagye 1~2-dong, Junggyebon-dong, Junggye 1~4-dong and Sanggye 6.7-dong), while Charles Ahn represents Seoul Nowon-byeong (3rd Electoral District that consists all Sanggye-dong Precincts EXCEPT Sanggye 6.7-dong)Nowon-gu consists 19 administrative precincts (행정동) on five legal precincts (법정동) as shown on the map below (in Hangul and Hanja).